The Wire

  • Effort underway to have Alabama inmates vote this election cycle

    Excerpt:

    As reported first by the Troy Messenger, an effort is underway by the Pike County NAACP to have eligible inmates vote in Alabama’s upcoming November 6 general election.

    Only inmates convicted of “crimes of moral turpitude” are disqualified from voting, however being in prison obviously bars inmates from heading to the polls on Election Day. This is where absentee voting comes in; yet, incarceration is not currently available as an option on the state’s absentee ballot request forms.

    “There’s nowhere on the absentee ballot application that lists being incarcerated as a reason you can vote absentee,” Jamie Scarbrough, Pike County absentee election manager, explained. “You have to be out of the county, have a physical impairment, a work conflict, a member of the armed forces or a student in another county.”

  • Governor Ivey criticizes ‘Lying Liberal Walt Maddox’

    Excerpt:

    After Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox on Thursday held a press conference to spread unsubstantiated allegations about Governor Kay Ivey’s health and accuse her of a coverup 19 days before Election Day, the governor’s campaign responded by giving the Democrat a new moniker – “Lying Liberal Walt Maddox.”

    “Apparently Walt Maddox isn’t just a liberal. He’s a lying liberal,” Ivey’s campaign said in a statement. “The people of Alabama will see this for what it is – a desperate false attack from a shameless politician who will say or do anything to get elected.”

    Ivey has repeatedly denied the allegations about her health since last year, and her doctor even refuted them this week, providing a detailed letter to back up the conclusion that Ivey is in good health.

    Besides the allegations regarding the governor’s health, the Maddox camp is alleging that then-Lieutenant Governor Ivey had a member of her protective detail demoted and transferred over her 2015 hospitalization in Colorado.

    Ivey’s campaign said, “As it relates to the officer, that’s another Maddox whopper. News outlets reported last year that the officer actually received a promotion and raise in late 2015.”

  • Byrne: Odds better than 50/50 GOP keeps House — ‘There is truly a Kavanaugh effect going on here’

    Excerpt:

    FAIRHOPE – What a difference a month can make for Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

    Heading into the summer, most political watchers anticipated that the GOP was set to lose at least the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterms. By mid-August, some Republicans thought losing the Senate was even a possibility.

    However, the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared to have been a game-changer for Republicans, and according to Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), the public’s reaction to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings could be enough for Republicans to hold on to both the House and the Senate.

19 hours ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pexels)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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22 hours ago

TVA begins Browns Ferry outage for Unit 1 modifications

(TVA/Twitter)

Tennessee Valley Authority has begun a scheduled outage at its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 1 in Alabama to prepare it to generate additional electricity.

The utility said in a news release it will install 332 new nuclear fuel assemblies and perform a final round of modifications.

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Unit 1 will be the second of three Browns Ferry units to generate an additional 155 megawatts of electricity.

Unit 3 began operating at its new power rating in July. Final modifications will be installed on Unit 2 next spring.

The utility said the additional 465 megawatts of electricity is enough to power an additional 280,000 homes.

The release said TVA plans to invest $475 million on the project.

TVA powers 9 million customers in parts of seven Southern states.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

1 person hurt in small plane crash in Opelika

(Pixabay)

One person has been hurt when a single-engine plane crashed into some woods in Alabama.

News outlets reported three people were on the plane when it came down near Interstate 85 near Opelika around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

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Opelika Fire Chief Byron Prather said there were no serious injuries.

One person was taken to the East Alabama Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

The other two people on the plane were not hurt. Their names have not been released.

The plane had taken off from the Auburn University Regional Airport and was headed to Athens, Georgia.

Opelika police said the aircraft would be removed Wednesday morning.

Capt. Shane Healey said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

Inspectors to revisit north Alabama dam after leak repair

(TVA)

Inspectors will revisit a north Alabama dam that sprang a leak in 2017.

The Times Daily reports the Tennessee Valley Authority will inspect the dam at Little Bear Creek Reservoir in Lawrence County later this month.

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TVA dam safety manager Kristen Smith says inspections typically take place every five years.

But TVA moved up the next look, not due until 2020.

That’s because a leak appeared near the spillway in April 2017.

Earlier this year, TVA inspectors discovered the source of the seepage.

They injected a grout mixture into cracks at the dam’s bedrock foundation, and continued monitoring it.

Bear Creek Development Authority Director Shannon McKinney says experts will look at every aspect of the dam, ways it could fail, the probability of each potential failure, and worst case scenarios.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

SEC office in Birmingham fines LSU $100,000 for fans on field after win

(LSU Tiger TV/YouTube)

The Southeastern Conference has fined fifth-ranked LSU $100,000 for fans rushing the field after the Tigers topped then-No. 2 Georgia 36-16 over the weekend.

The league announced the fine Monday.

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It cited Saturday’s incident as a second violation of the SEC’s policy against fans on the field.

The same thing occurred against Mississippi in 2014.

The SEC said fines collected against school for violating the competition-area policy are deposited in the league’s post-graduate scholarship fund.

The league said a third violation could lead to a fine of up to $250,000.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

US Steel announces 4-year pact covering workers in Alabama and other states

(CBS 42/YouTube)

Negotiators for US Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers have announced an agreement on four-year contracts covering thousands of employees around the country.

Details weren’t announced Monday pending ratification meetings, which the union said would take place in coming weeks.

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US Steel said the contracts cover about 14,000 union-represented employees.

The union said its figure of 16,000 workers covered includes members laid off, on sick leave or on disability.

Company officials said the contracts cover workers at its domestic flat-rolled and iron ore mining facilities as well as tubular operations in Fairfield, Alabama; Lorain, Ohio; and Lone Star, Texas.

The union says some workers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota are also covered.

The contracts expired Sept. 1 but both sides agreed to extend talks that began in July.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 days ago

City of Selma hands out layoff notices to 68 employees

(City of Selma Mayor's Office/Facebook)

A central Alabama city says it will lay off 68 employees because it lacks money.

Local news outlets report Mayor Darrio Melton met with employees Monday to notify them of layoffs, which take effect Nov. 5.

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Melton and Selma City Council dispute whether the city’s budget passed in September was balanced.

Melton claims the council didn’t account for $1.2 million in debt payments.

Melton says the city may not be able to make payroll this week.

He says services will be cut back and some public buildings may close.

Council President Corey Bowie says the council will call a meeting to discuss the layoffs.

Melton and the council are also in a dispute over the mayor’s powers. Melton says the council is illegally encroaching on his power to appoint employees.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Selma mayor files lawsuit against city council

(ADECAgov/YouTube)

The mayor of Selma has filed a lawsuit against the city council over an effort to take away his appointment powers.

The Selma Times-Journal reports that Selma City Council Attorney Jimmy Nunn and Council President Corey Bowie said the lawsuit stems from a dispute over appointment powers.

The newspaper said council members on Sept. 25 voted to remove Mayor Darrio Melton’s ability to appoint the city’s police chief, fire chief and tax collector.

The newspaper reports that the lawsuit contends the council’s actions violated state law.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

1
1 week ago

FEMA deploys thousands to Alabama and Georgia ahead of Hurricane Michael

(Wikicommons)

FEMA Director Brock Long says his agency has nearly 3,000 people in the field ready to assist with Hurricane Michael.

He says teams and aircraft are ready to support any search and rescue missions in Florida or elsewhere, and that staging areas with commodities needed after storms have been set up in Atlanta and at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

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He also says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working “hand-in-hand” with Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

He praised Florida’s use on Tuesday evening of the wireless emergency alert system to let residents know that the storm was getting stronger.

As for the many people who ignored orders to evacuate, Long said Wednesday that people “who stick around and experience storm surge unfortunately don’t usually live to tell about it.”

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham is warning that a Category 4 hurricane will bring catastrophic damage to Florida’s Panhandle.

Graham says Michael’s top winds of 145 mph (230 kph) are powerful enough to peel off roofs and cause the “complete destruction of houses.”

Stretches of the coast could see storm surge of at least 6 feet (2 meters), with waters rising in some places up to 14 feet (4 meters) above the ground.

Graham wants people to think about how tall they are, and just how high that water can be.

Michael is powerful enough to remain a hurricane well inland as it travels over Georgia on Thursday.

Graham says falling trees will pull down utility lines, leaving some areas without power for weeks, and hazardous conditions will persist long after the storm blows through.

He says the aftermath of a hurricane is “not the time to start learning to use that chain saw.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the impact of Hurricane Michael will be “horrible,” the worst storm to hit the Panhandle in a century.

Scott said Wednesday he’s “scared to death” that people in places such as St. George Island along the state’s coast had ignored evacuation orders.

He said he hopes that no one kept children with them as they chose to ride it out, but the time to evacuate from coastal areas has “come and gone.”

The governor said state authorities are now focusing on the recovery effort once the fast-moving storm blows through.

He has activated up 3,500 members of the Florida National Guard and says thousands of utility workers are on stand-by.

Huge waves are pounding the shore at Panama City Beach, where officials have announced they are now unable to respond to any calls for service.

Just inland in Panama City, the fire department says it will respond to only life-threatening emergencies and only within the city limits.

The biggest waves are shooting frothy green water between homes and up to the base of wooden stairs over the dunes and the skies appear menacing as tropical-storm-force winds lash the coast. Landfall is expected about midday Wednesday.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 week ago

Charges dismissed after Confederate monument protests in Montgomery

(Pixabay)

Charges have been dropped against protesters who police said splashed ketchup and colored powder on statues honoring Confederate figures at the Alabama Capitol.

Jon Broadway was arrested in April after smearing ketchup at the base of the statue honoring a 19th century doctor who did surgery without anesthesia on enslaved African-American women.

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Broadway used ketchup to symbolize blood while performing a skit about the doctor.

State Sen. Hank Sanders said that charges were also dismissed against 13 activists, including his wife Faya Rose Toure.

Police arrested Toure and others in June, saying they threw a colored powder at a Confederate monument.

Sanders said the Confederate symbols honor people who committed treason “in order to preserve slavery.”

Court records show criminal trespassing and tampering charges were dismissed.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

District attorney says Alabama parole rate ‘alarming’

(Gov. Bentley/Flickr)

Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey is criticizing Alabama’s parole board, saying violent offenders are being released at an “alarming rate.”

WSFA -TV reports that Bailey sent a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey urging her to investigate the parole board’s actions.

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Bailey wrote that the board has “repeatedly and consistently released violent offenders after they have served only a minute portion of lengthy sentences.”

The district attorney asked Ivey to replace members of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles as well as the board’s executive director.

The parole board told the station that there has been no change in procedure and they have no data “showing a dramatic increase in violent inmates being considered for parole prior to their original set date.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

City waives bus fares for a week as it unveils new route

(Tuscaloosa Transit Authority)

The bus will be free this week in one west Alabama city.

The Tuscaloosa News reports the city’s transit authority is offering free rides across the city as it unveils an entirely new bus route.

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Executive Director Russell Lawrence says the authority changed some stops on other routes, leading to the decision to waive the $1 for bus fare or 20 cents to transfer citywide.

It is the system’s first new route since 2011.

Tuscaloosa officials project the new route and a paratransit van will cost the transit system an additional $115,000 a year to operate.

A $300,000 federal grant is paying for the 30-passenger bus and the paratransit van.

City Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry sought the new route, saying constituents were walking to work and shop along a dangerous road.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Madison County to spend $3.3 million on land for new service center

(WZDX News/YouTube)

North Alabama’s largest county is spending $3 million to buy land where a former supermarket stood with plans to build a county service center.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong tells WHNT-TV the decision was sparked by a lack of parking spaces around the current Madison County Courthouse in downtown Huntsville.

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Official plan for the 7.7-acre (3.1-hectare) site on the main Huntsville thoroughfare of Memorial Parkway to host the county tax assessor, tax collector, license commissioner, probate judge and possibly other departments.

Strong says the new center is centrally located and will offer easy parking “without having to circle the courthouse 50,000 times.”

The new service center is expected to open sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

1
2 weeks ago

Homewood police rescue dogs abandoned by home owner

(Homewood PD)

Police in Alabama say around a dozen dogs that had been abandoned when their owner moved out of state have been rescued.

News outlets report officers carried out a search Wednesday after receiving a complaint about several dogs being abandoned at a home in Homewood.

Sgt. John Carr says six dogs were found in the backyard.

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Carr says the dogs were in extremely poor health and their drinking water was contaminated.

Four dogs in poor health were found inside of the home.

Police say the dogs could’ve been abandoned up to a month ago.

They are being treated at Vulcan Park Animal Clinic and will remain there until the case is resolved.

Investigators are now working to find the owner and will pursue animal cruelty charges.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Alabama police chief charged with lewd act at Florida beach

(Dale County Sheriff)

An Alabama police chief has been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for actions at a Florida beach.

News outlets reported 44-year-old Billy Maurice Driggers was arrested Thursday at his office in Level Plains, Alabama.

Panama City Beach, Florida, police said Driggers is accused of fondling himself while watching women at a condominium.

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Police said Driggers was not a registered guest at the condo and had no valid reason to be there.

Driggers is being held in the Dale County Sheriff’s Office, awaiting extradition to Bay County, Florida.

It was not known if he has an attorney yet.

Level Plains Mayor Bruce Grantham said Driggers has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the Florida investigation.

Driggers has been police chief in Level Plains since 2016.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

SEC extends Commissioner Greg Sankey’s contract through 2023

(Saturday Down South/YouTube)

The Southeastern Conference has extended Commissioner Greg Sankey’s contract through 2023.

The league announced the agreement Thursday for Sankey, who took over on June 1, 2015.

South Carolina President Harris Pastides says Sankey “has led the SEC through an important period of growth and change.”

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Pastides is the current president of the SEC.

The 54-year-old Sankey joined the SEC staff in 2002 as an associate commissioner and was elevated to chief operating officer 10 years later.

He is currently part of the NCAA’s Enforcement/Infractions Working Group created to address recommendations from the independent Commission on College Basketball.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

FDA: 38 sick from tainted eggs from Alabama

(Pixabay)

The government says 38 people in seven states have gotten sick from eggs produced by an Alabama poultry farm.

The Food and Drug Administration says the illnesses are linked to salmonella-tainted eggs from Gravel Ridge Farms, which is north of Birmingham in Cullman.

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The agency issued a recall notice last month, and it provided an update Tuesday.

The FDA says 10 people were hospitalized after coming in contact with cage-free eggs from the farm, but no one has died.

The government says recalled eggs were sold to several grocery stores in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.

Most of the illnesses are in Tennessee, where 23 people have been affected.

Alabama has had seven cases and Ohio has four. Single cases have occurred in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky and Montana.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

NASCAR to remove restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega

(Maxwell AF Base)

NASCAR will use two primary rules packages next season and race at Daytona and Talladega without restrictor plates for the first time since 1987.

The rules packages revealed Tuesday will be tailored to specific tracks and designed to slow Cup Series cars to create more passing for the lead.

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At Daytona and Talladega, the two fastest tracks in NASCAR were horsepower-sapping plates are used on the engines, NASCAR will now use a thicker tapered spacer with tapered holes aimed to restrict air flow.

NASCAR next year wants to lower the horsepower in Cup cars at 21 races, all on ovals larger than 1.2 miles, from 750hp to 550hp.

The 14 races on tracks shorter than 1.2 miles in length will use the same sized spacers from this season.

The season-opening Daytona 500 next year will be run under current configurations that combine the restrictor plate with a tapered spacer.

NASCAR will go to just a spacer at Daytona and Talladega after the 500.

NASCAR believes the adjustments will create more passing, more drafting and afford a better throttle response for the drivers.

NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell insisted the idea is not to create pack racing at every track, but instead tighter competition.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Commercial king mackerel season closing noon Friday in Gulf

(NOAA)

Federal authorities say the commercial king mackerel season in the Gulf of Mexico will end at noon local time Friday.

The National Marine Fisheries Service says landings data indicate that commercial boats will have reached their 1.1 million-pound (0.5 million kilogram) quota by then.

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Its news release Tuesday said the recreational season remains open.

The daily recreational limit is three king mackerel per person. The recreational quota is about 5.9 million (2.68 million kilograms) pounds.

The commercial harvest will reopen next July 1 at 12:01 a.m. local time.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Amazon breaking ground on Birmingham-area facility

(Amazon)

Amazon is marking the start of work on a distribution center that will employ about 1,500 people near Birmingham.

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Tuesday afternoon at the site of Amazon’s new facility in Bessemer.

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Workers at the $325 million center will use robots to fulfill Amazon orders for smaller consumer items.

Employees of the online retailer will receive full benefits and an average hourly wage of $14.65, and Jefferson County Commission David Carrington says the project could help convince young people to stay in the area.

Gov. Kay Ivey is among the officials scheduled to attend the groundbreaking.

The fulfillment center will be Amazon’s second facility in Alabama. It already operates a sorting center in Mobile.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Birmingham-Southern College president resigns due to health concerns

(BSC)

The president of Birmingham-Southern College, Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, is stepping down from the post.

A statement issued by the small, liberal arts school says Flaherty-Goldsmith cited health reasons in resigning effective Monday.

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This was supposed to be her last academic year at Birmingham-Southern, but she is leaving earlier than expected.

The provost of Birmingham-Southern, Bradley J. Caskey, will take over as interim president.

Flaherty-Goldsmith was appointed president in June 2016 following a career that included administrative positions in the University of Alabama System and at the University of Connecticut.

Birmingham-Southern has about 1,300 students and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 weeks ago

Ex-Alabama coach Mike DuBose hospitalized after gun accident

(CBS 42/YouTube)

A former Alabama head football coach has been hospitalized after accidentally shooting himself.

Covington County Sheriff’s Lt. Alan Syler says Mike DuBose accidentally shot himself once in the abdomen Monday while working on his farm north of Opp.

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Syler says DuBose drove himself to Opp Mizell Memorial Hospital and was airlifted to another hospital in Dothan.

His condition was not immediately clear.

DuBose coached Alabama for four years from 1997-2000. He had also coached high school football in recent years.

DuBose played under Bear Bryant and was part of Alabama’s 1973 national championship team.

He was fired at Alabama after a 3-8 season in 2000 and later was head coach at Millsaps College and worked as a Memphis assistant.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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