Klement Ford

Missing dog leaves a hole in many local hearts

LOST DOG - Cowboy, Andrea and Rick Duwe's blue heeler mix, has been missing since last Friday. The couple is offering a reward for the return of the dog known by hundreds of local children, especially special-needs children, and their families for his therapeutic demeanor.

Andrea Duwe of Greenwood has scoured the pastures near her property and the town of Greenwood in search of her dog known by hundreds of local children and their families for his therapeutic demeanor.

Cowboy, a 4-year-old blue heeler mix, has been missing since last Friday.

The canine was last seen around 7 a.m. March 9 running through the Duwes’ pasture with a stray dog.

“I didn’t think much of it because he doesn’t run away,” Duwe said. “But it’s been (eight) whole days (as of Friday).”

Cowboy has a black coat with gray on his underside and a tip on the end of his tail. There is a white mark on his face between his eyes.

Although he is not certified, Duwe contends he is a great therapy dog, especially for the special-needs children that frequent her property.

“Cowboy has always had a special relationship with children and has a special intuition with children with disabilities,” she said. “He always made sure the kids had a good time and was always where the children were.”

Jeri Kay Kao, the mother of a special-needs child, agrees.

“We’ve been out to the Duwes’ place several times, and every time, Cowboy would greet us at the gate,” she said. “When I would open the door to the van to let the kids out, he would play with them all the way to the cabin. It was really sweet. He’s a famous little dog. He’s been a special dog to a lot of people.”

That includes her 8-year-old son, Malachi.

“He always listens to me,” he said. “He’s playful, and he likes to play fetch.”

Jeri Kay said her 13-year-old, Zachary, who is deaf and autistic, would agree.

“(Cowboy) is his good friend,” she said. “He’s on his own a lot, but Cowboy hangs around him. Unlike most humans, Cowboy doesn’t expect anything from him. Dogs have a patience that no human does, but that dog was especially sweet.”

For that reason, Duwe is fervent in her efforts to find him, posting signs all over Greenwood and in Decatur.

“We saw the dog he ran away with (Wednesday), so we have hope that we’ll be able to find our Cowboy,” Duwe said. “We’re just waiting with bated breath. He’s everybody’s favorite dog. He’s irreplaceable.”

Duwe is offering a reward for the dog’s return. Call her at (940) 466-3622.

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Ila Mae Mote

Ila Mae Mote

Funeral for Ila Mae Mote, 70, of Greenwood is 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at Greenwood Baptist Church with Tracy Epting officiating. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.

Mote died Thursday, March 8, 2012, in Decatur.

Born May 25, 1941, in San Francisco to George Dink and Iva Mae (Arterberry) Florida, she married Nim Rodney Mote March 18, 1960, at Greenwood Baptist Church. She retired as a secretary from the Decatur Mini Warehouse Storage Building and was a lifelong member of the Greenwood Baptist Church.

Mote is survived by her husband; daughter Elaine Jackson and husband, Dave, of Greenwood; grandchildren Andrew Taylor and wife, Kim, of Paradise, Barry Taylor and fiance , Meghan, of Greenwood, and Stephanie Jackson and Amy Fogle and husband, Michael, all of Decatur; five great-grandchildren; sister Melba Jane Weber and husband, Ronnie, of Bowie; and nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers are Blake Sanford, Eric Fletcher, Morris Berend, Russell McClure, Eddie Ray Griffith, Hal Reese, Scott Weber and Keith Weber.

Honorary pallbearers are Neal Fortenberry, A.C. Griffin, Brian Moore and Joe Bert Roberts.

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Ila Mae Mote

FUNERAL for Ila Mae Mote, 70, of Greenwood is 11 a.m. Saturday at Greenwood Baptist Church with burial at Greenwood Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

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Ila Mae Mote

SERVICE for Ila Mae Mote, 70, of Greenwood is pending at Coker-Hawkins.

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Sally Jean Williams and Jack Dylan Sandford

Sally Jean Williams and Jack Dylan Sandford

Jack Dylan Sandford, son of Blake and Carole Sandford, all of Greenwood, will marry Sally Jean Williams, daughter of Art and Jean Williams, all of Friendswood, on Jan. 7, 2012, at Greenwood Baptist Church.

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Main course won’t include these turkeys

Main course won’t include these turkeys

TURKEY TROT - Palamia Davis, 12, of Irving is followed by one of the turkeys she helped save last year after it got ran over by a lawnmower on her family's farmland in northern Wise County. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 248 million turkeys are projected to be raised in the United States in 2011.

Many of these will meet their end due to Thanksgiving. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten just for the holiday. That’s one-sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. per year.

But at least two turkeys living in Wise County this year will be spared the oven and the deep fryer.

Stubs and Fuzzy will be celebrating their one-year birthdays right about the time Thanksgiving gets here.

TALKING TURKEY - More than 46 million turkeys will meet the oven or fryer this Thanksgiving, but not this lucky bird. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The birds live on a rural patch of property between Decatur and Greenwood. The land features sloping hills bristling with post oaks. They share the space with goats and chickens and a cadre of five guinea fowl that scour ticks and scorpions from the land.

The two turkeys are lucky to be alive.

“We found the eggs after they got crushed somewhat by a lawnmower,” said 11-year-old Michael Davis. “We were able to save two eggs. We took care of them, and they hatched.”

Today, they follow his 12-year-old sister Palamia around like dogs, strutting and cooing, hoping for some corn kernels or oats or apple.

“They are just like pets,” said mother Elizabeth Davis.

The family lives in Irving, but they raise an assortment of farm animals on the rural property. Taking care of them brings them to Wise County every day. A winding country road, arched over in places by gold and red and orange autumn trees shedding their foliage like thousands of flowers, leads to the small farm.

And as cooks in 116 million households get set to prepare turkeys for Thanksgiving feasts, Stubs and Fuzzy are probably thankful just to be alive.

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Study suggests post office closings

At about 3:45 p.m. on a damp, cool Thursday, a white cargo truck pulled up to the post office in Slidell to pick up the day’s outgoing letters and boxes.

It’s a scene that seems destined to disappear. A study released Tuesday by the U.S. Postal Service has recommended that the Greenwood and Slidell post offices be permanently closed. The study cited a decline in office workload and revenue for the recommendation.

”We held a community meeting Sept. 8 in Slidell and one in Greenwood on Sept. 9,” said Sam Bolin, a spokesperson with USPS. “On Oct. 25, we posted a 60-day proposal which will stay up until the day after Christmas. That’s the public comment period.”

Customers have a 60-day window, through Dec. 26, to submit comments. On Dec. 26, another decision will be posted, and customers will have another 30 days to appeal the decision to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The commission must then render a decision within 120 days. After the final decision is made public, the post offices will remain open for at least 60 days before shutting down.

Comments can be hand delivered to either post office.

USPS has targeted 3,700 post offices across the nation for closing.

“I’m not surprised at anything the government does,” said Slidell resident Sharon McFarlane. “They live in a bubble.”

McFarlane said she and other residents plan to organize another community meeting to find out what they can do to save their local post office.

At the Sept. 8 meeting held in the Slidell High School cafeteria, dozens of residents voiced their concerns to USPS representative Janice Godlewski.

“The post office is what identifies us,” said Martha McCasland. “Our post office box is what gives us a Slidell address. Our (street) addresses are Decatur or Krum. I don’t live in Decatur.”

Residents also referenced security issues as a reason to have a post office box nearby.

“If you live in a rural area, gas or oil people will run over your mailbox or kids will mess it up,” said Kim Hornbuckle. “It’s not secure. I don’t use it.”

“The risk of identity theft is so high now,” said Ann Bartts. “If we have our mail delivered to a box someone can wait until mail is put in it and hit them.”

If the offices close, Slidell customers are told to use the Krum or Decatur office, while Greenwood customers were pointed toward Forestburg and Decatur.

Residents argued that is too far away for some of the elderly citizens.

“We have a lot of elderly residents who can get to the local post office, but they can’t make a 30 mile round trip to Decatur or Krum,” said Kim Dunlap. “I have to work. I don’t have time once I get off to make it all the way to Decatur or Krum in time. And they don’t offer services on Saturday.”

Dunlap added that only dial-up Internet access is available in Slidell, which makes online bill pay difficult.

Godlewski said the Slidell post office didn’t bring in enough revenue to justify its continued operation, which is why it was under review. She said it generated approximately $20,000 in revenue in 2010 and cost $78,000 to operate. The post office rents 130 P.O. boxes.

She said the USPS could offer a cluster box if the offices close to help keep mail secure. Cluster boxes are free-standing locked units typically seen in apartment complexes.

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Jobs Bill holds promise

Many Americans today are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, some even day to day. With no new job growth in August, unemployment at 9.1 percent and it being as likely to rise as it is to fall right now, it makes no sense not to pass President Barack Obama’s Jobs Act.

Most optimistic economists say it could create up to 2 million jobs and boost economic growth by 2 percent. The Jobs Act consists almost entirely of proposals made or endorsed in the past by Republicans as well as Democrats. This bill will take steps like lowering the payroll tax for both workers and small businesses, spending to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, and give aid to states that will help retain or rehire teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees that will surely benefit all of us and our children.

I feel this will be as beneficial for long-term recovery as well as short-term gains. It’s a win-win and with both past and some recent support by Republicans, the partisan political game that is played right now is becoming too obvious for our U.S. Congressional leaders like John Cornyn, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kay Granger’s constituency to ignore.

The Republican plan of more tax cuts and deregulation is not the answer, my fellow Americans. That has been tried and failed. It’s the reason we are in such a mess right now. Truthfully, if our United States Congressional leaders from Texas can’t figure how to invest money at a rate that will bring far bigger returns down the road, it’s time for a new Congress.

The measures in the Jobs Bill, including additional stimulus spending and tax cuts for business, deserve bipartisan support. The national debt is a problem, but the surest way to make that debt bigger is to allow the nation to slip back into recession.

Tracy Smith
Greenwood

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Thanks for participating

Dear Wise County Community, we want to thank everyone who participated in any way with Sonflower Camp for Kids with Disabilities.

One hundred disabled people from all over Wise, Parker and Montague counties had the time of their lives. There were more than 100 volunteers who made it all happen. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

God bless you all.

Rick and Andrea Duwe
Greenwood

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Lela Truitt Howard

Funeral for Lela Truitt Howard, 87, formerly of Greenwood, was June 13 at Birdville Baptist Church. Burial followed at Greenwood Cemetery.

Howard died Thursday, June 9, 2011, in North Richland Hills.

Born Dec. 20, 1923, in Greenwood to Joe and Anna Truitt, she was a homemaker.

She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Warren Howard; son Paul Howard and wife, Sharon; grandchildren Russell Howard and Nicole Irvin; great-grandchildren Kayla, Clayton and Carly; brother A.B. Truitt; and sisters Hazel Howard and Mary Jo Leake.

Memorials may be made to Season Hospice, 5237 N. Riverside Drive, Suite 220, Fort Worth, TX 76137.

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Lela Truitt Howard

Funeral for Lela Truitt Howard, 87, formerly of Greenwood, was June 13 at Birdville Baptist Church. Burial followed at Greenwood Cemetery.

Howard died Thursday, June 9, 2011.

Born Dec. 20, 1923, in North Richland Hills to Joe and Anna Truitt, she was a homemaker.

She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Warren Howard; son Paul Howard and wife, Sharon; grandchildren Russell Howard and Nicole Irvin; great-grandchildren Kayla, Clayton and Carly; brother A.B. Truitt; and sisters Hazel Howard and Mary Jo Leake.

Memorials may be made to Season Hospice, 5237 N. Riverside Drive, Suite 220, Fort Worth, TX 76137.

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Supreme Court won’t rehear well case

The Texas Supreme Court has refused to rehear a case involving a commercial injection well opposed by a group of citizens in Greenwood.

Jim Popp, chairman of the group Texas Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water, said he received confirmation from his attorney Wednesday that the Texas Supreme Court had denied a request to rehear the case that involved the Texas Railroad Commission and the citizens’ group.

The court ruled in March in favor of the Railroad Commission, allowing Pioneer Exploration to move forward with plans to build a saltwater injection well near the intersection of County Roads 2625 and 2735.

The ruling essentially means the end of a six-year crusade by the citizen’s group to keep the well out of their neighborhood.

Although disappointed, Popp said he hopes that the group’s efforts have inspired people to stand up against the Railroad Commission and the oil and gas industry.

“When the ‘powers to be’ in Texas finally wake up to the fact that this is about the future health and well-being of all Texas citizens and not just the financial gain of the oil and gas industry, and that both of those goals can be successfully accomplished at the same time, with just a few changes in the system as it is today, we will all be much safer and better off,” Popp said. “Our fight will have been a major part of getting the end fight off the ground and accomplishing that ultimate goal, when it is finally reached.

“As I’ve said before many times, all of us want a very prosperous oil and gas industry in our area, but we also want it to be safe for all Texas citizens, too, and not just mean financial gain for that industry at the expense of the health and well being of present and future generations of Texans.”

Pioneer filed an application for a permit to build a commercial saltwater injection well in the spring of 2005. The citizen’s group was formed to protest the application.

After the Railroad Commission approved Pioneer’s permit in February of 2006, the group filed a lawsuit, claiming Pioneer had made errors in the original application, was given extra time by the Railroad Commission to correct those errors and had not considered the traffic dangers as part of the public interest.

In December of 2006, 126th District Judge Gisela Triana affirmed the Railroad Commission’s decision to issue the injection well permit.

In 2007, an appeals court reversed Triana’s decision, and the Railroad Commission appealed that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

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Middleton joins honor society

Dawna Middleton of Springfield, Mo., was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Ozark Technology College March 13.

The daughter of Garland and Francene Middleton of Greenwood, she is studying graphic design.

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Carving artist: Charlie Cole’s whittling art to be featured at Greenwood show

WHITTLING AWAY - Charlie Cole prepares to show his work at the Greenwood Art Festival April 9 at the pavilion. Cole will show pieces along with his sons who make arrowheads. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Pulling a simple pocket knife out of a belt holster, Charlie Cole whittles animal faces from knots he sees in polished wood canes. Cole’s work, along with several others, will be displayed at the Greenwood Art Show April 9.

”Several years ago, my daughter wanted to give her teacher a stick,” Cole said. “At that time, I was whittling, but I was making fishing lures out of cypress.”

When Cole asked what kind of designs his daughter wanted on the stick, she said anything. For inspiration, Cole uses the natural design of the wood to make characters such as snakes, owls and monkeys.

“All my children have one, several of my grandchildren and a lot of my friends, and I have a few,” he said.

Cole works on his art for as long as necessary with a particularly intricate one taking him nine months. However, he does go through dry spells.

“Sometimes I’ll go for a long time without opening my knife,” Cole said.

Cole has been a part of the art show for almost a decade and now his sons join him making arrowheads.

Art show organizer Dale Burks, said the show begins at 9 a.m., and it will also feature the works of Clark and Mark Cole, Bill Laster, Jodie and AnnMarie Wells, Archie Fairies, Wyatt Smithers and others. The Masonic Lodge will serve free lunch at noon and have been doing so for the 12 years the exhibit has taken place.

Art pieces are only available for viewing, and they will be set up at the pavillion. If the weather is bad, everything will be moved to the fire hall.

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Department to receive grant

Greenwood/Slidell Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $47,367 grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

The funding can be used for training and support operations and to purchase safety and rescue equipment.

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Bomb threat leads to grand jury indictment

A grand jury indicted a woman who called in a bomb threat last month to the Wise County Courthouse.

On the morning of Feb. 14, Shauna Lee Teague, 41, of Greenwood, allegedly called in the threat.

Shauna Teague

She was indicted with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony that carries a two to 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.

Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said a 911 call was received from a pay phone at Walmart around 9:30 a.m.

“A woman said her boyfriend was upset and had put a bomb in the Wise County Courthouse,” Hoskins said. “She refused to give his name or her name.”

The courthouse was evacuated and investigators searched for a bomb. The building was deemed safe later that morning.

Teague was identified using surveillance video from Walmart and arrested the same afternoon.

She was scheduled to appear in court that day for probation violations. The state and her attorney had reached an agreement. Those charges are still pending.

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Citizens fought good fight

I just wanted to openly tell my neighbors in the Greenwood area, who were members of Texas Citizens For a Safe Future and Clean Water, how much I truly appreciated their support these past six years, during our long fight against The Railroad Commission of Texas and Pioneer Exploration, Ltd, and their permitting of a commercial salt water injection well in our immediate area. You all know who you are, and I’m proud to know, and be associated with, each and every one of you.

When we started our fight six years ago, we stood completely alone. We received no support from anyone, including the Wise County Messenger, our state representative, Phil King, or our state senator, Craig Estes. In fact, not only were we not supported, but in certain cases just mentioned, they worked against us for quite some time. We were called names by our fellow citizens, and in some cases ridiculed, until they too finally realized what we were stating was the truth.

Still, through it all, we stuck together as a small group of citizens and neighbors against overwhelming and incredible odds, and we finally won our case in the Appeals Court in Austin. After winning our case and handing The Railroad Commission their worst defeat in decades, the RRC could not allow that defeat to stand, and they took our case to the Supreme Court of Texas where a decision was finally handed down March 11 siding with the RRC’s position and reversing our winning appeals court decision.

Basically, the Supreme Court of Texas decided that “public interest” means, at this time, whatever is good for the oil and gas industry is good for the public interest of Texas citizens, and no other circumstances or safety concerns can or do really matter. I guess that wasn’t a great surprise to any of us since approximately 60 to 70 percent of the re-election campaign funds for most of our judges and legislators comes from the oil and gas industry.

We all can stand tall because in the six years since we started our fight we taught thousands of other Texas citizens the truth about these so-called salt water injection wells and the fact that they are, in actuality, liquid toxic waste injection dumps that contain over 27 different types of toxic waste, including benzene. We taught people that they do poison private water wells and stock tanks in the area, along with lowering property values around them by about 50 to 80 percent, along with possibly causing many other public health risks. We let “the cat out of the bag,” and the truth is now out there, thanks to our efforts in this long fight.

Hopefully, sometime in the near future, our Texas Legislature will do what is right to protect our state’s citizens from this liquid, toxic waste and change some of our present laws. All of us really do want them to “drill here, drill now”, but we just want the oil and gas industry to do it in a safe manner for all concerned and not just in the cheapest way possible for oil and gas with the overall public safety, for generations to come, be damned.

Jim Popp
Greenwood

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Tiffany McLain and James Crisp Jr.

Tiffany McLain and James Crisp Jr.

Tiffany McLain, daughter of Roger and Rachel McLain, all of Krum, will marry James Crisp Jr. of Greenwood, son of James and Pam Crisp Sr. of Rhome, June 11, 2011, at Greenwood Baptist Church.

The bride-elect is a graduate of Krum High School and is a senior at Midwestern State University where she is studying special education and early childhood through sixth grade education.

The prospective groom is a graduate of Aubrey High School and is a volunteer firefighter with the Greenwood/Slidell department.

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Court rules against group fighting injection well

It appears a group of Greenwood residents have lost their six-year battle to keep a commercial injection well out of their neighborhood.

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Texas Railroad Commission, essentially paving the way for Pioneer Exploration to build a saltwater injection well near the intersection of County Roads 2625 and 2735.

The case of the Railroad Commission vs. Texas Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water and James G. Popp centered around the Railroad Commission’s interpretation of “in the public interest” when considering the application of an injection well. The citizen group argued that the commission had not considered the traffic dangers that the increased tank truck traffic on county roads would pose to the area.

The supreme court ruled that the commission, in this context, does not have to consider traffic safety factors in its decision. The action reversed a 2007 appeals court decision that had ruled in favor of the citizen group.

Popp, whose home is located next door to the injection well site and is chairman of the citizen group, said he was surprised by the ruling.

“It’s good for oil and gas – that’s what the public interest is,” he said.

In the opinion published by Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, the court points out that the Railroad Commission is charged with permitting injection wells for the disposal of oil and gas waste and must consider what is “in the public interest.”

“The [Railroad] Commission is directed to consider a number of other factors, all of which has to do with the protection of natural resources and the regulation of the oil and gas industry,” Jefferson wrote.

Popp said he plans to speak with the group’s attorneys this week to consider what to do next.

“It seems like it is out of our hands,” Popp said. “The supreme court has ruled, and we’re law-abiding citizens.”

He said it was likely the group would seek a rehearing before the Texas Supreme Court, but he acknowledged that those are rarely granted.

Pioneer filed an application for a permit to build a commercial saltwater injection well in the spring of 2005. The citizen group was formed to protest the application.

After the Railroad Commission approved Pioneer’s permit in February of 2006, the group filed a lawsuit, claiming Pioneer had made errors in the original application, was given extra time by the Railroad Commission to correct those errors and had not considered the traffic dangers as part of the public interest.

In December of 2006, 126th District Judge Gisela Triana affirmed the Railroad Commission’s decision to issue the injection well permit. In 2007, an appeals court reversed Triana’s decision, and the Railroad Commission appealed that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

Popp said that since the case has been in court, no work has been done at the well site.

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Thursday fire destroys home

Thursday fire destroys home

THE SPARK - A fire that is believed to have started in the carport of a home off County Road 2644 spread and destroyed the entire structure just after 11 Thursday night. The home's two occupants and their two dogs and two horses escaped without injury. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Before the slew of fires that plagued the county Friday, two Greenwood men lost their home in a blaze the night before.

Just after 11 p.m. Thursday, Greenwood-Slidell, Decatur and Alvord fire departments responded to a single-story brick house fire on County Road 2644.

One of the home’s occupants awoke to the sound of smoke alarms. He ran down a smoke-filled hallway and saw flames shooting from under the back door by the carport.

He asked to not be named.

The home’s second occupant was not at home at the time.

The fire rekindled shortly after 7 Friday morning, and Greenwood-Slidell, Decatur and Alvord departments responded again.

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