2018-11-02 / Letters

Writers weigh in on upcoming vote

To the editor,

Chris Caiazzo gets my vote for House District 28 because he has his priorities in order. Chris is a practical, fiscally conservative man, but as an engineer and a man of science, he understands the urgency of addressing climate change at every level of government.

He has made the clean energy economy in Maine a cornerstone of his legislative agenda. Clean energy is the fastest growing economic sector in the world, yet our current representative and governor have deliberately hobbled its growth in Maine for years. Surrounding states have booming clean energy job growth, but Maine has resisted it.

This irresponsible leadership can come to an end on Nov. 6. We need leaders who will encourage this new economy. Solar and wind power have enormous immediate upsides for Maine. They offer jobs that will stay in Maine for many decades. Tidal and wave power are about to emerge.

Mainers can make and install the components of Maine’s 21st century energy system. Also this clean energy sector will stop Maine’s massive cash drain to out of state fossil fuel companies. All this while we do our part to put the brakes on runaway climate change.

Chris Caiazzo understands the problem, the stakes, and the solutions. Our children deserve better. Elect Chris Caiazzo.

Charles Spanger

To the editor,

I support Shawn Babine for Legislature in District 29, Scarborough. Shawn has served on the school board for two terms and on city council for five terms. I am a former legislator from central Maine and know that Shawn will be a great addition to the legislature.

His experience with economics and local government will serve our community well. With his experience he could be appointed to the important appropriations committee.

Shawn strongly supports access to healthcare and expanding Medicaid. Our current legislator voted with Gov. LePage against expanding Medicaid that hurts 70,000 eligible people and those suffering from the opioid crisis.

Please send Shawn Babine to the Maine Legislature this November.

Patricia Jones

To the editor,

I am a supporter of Scarborough schools. I had better be. I teach at Scarborough High School. My three children are students in Scarborough schools. Nick Gill and Paul Johnson are both former students of mine from years past. Both excelled in the upper level math classes in which I taught them, Geometry through probability and statistics.

Fast-forward a few years. Paul and Nick both have been and are still highly involved in educating students: Paul spent nine years as an adjunct mathematics instructor at Southern Maine Community College and is now currently teaching sciences full time at Cheverus High School.

He has been the owner of The Study Hall tutoring agency for 15 years. Nick continues to teach at SMCC and has served as a senior-level college administrator for over a decade. Nick hold a master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine in adult education, which he completed in 2012, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of New England, which he completed in 2017.

Paul and Nick are both products of our fine schools here in Scarborough and have continued to flourish in this community. As their former teacher and a current parent, I am excited to see their interest in their hometown’s government.

Please join me Tuesday, Nov. 6 and vote for Paul Johnson for town council and Nick Gill for board of education.

Chris Hayward

To the editor,

I am writing in support of Leroy Crockett’s candidacy for Scarborough School Board. I met Leroy about 10 years ago at a Portland Chamber of Commerce event and he has been a trusted colleague, friend, and insurance agent over the past decade. I have always known him to be a good listener and collaborator who has personal integrity and a genuine passion for helping people and participating actively in all things that support the community.

As a lifelong Scarborough resident with two children in the Scarborough school system, Leroy has unique insight into the needs of the community and our students and a strong desire to ensure the best education and brightest future for all of them.

Leroy has long been involved in many civic activities, often taking on leadership roles on committees and boards. I believe his experience considering multiple perspectives and points of view along with his proven ability to bring people together to accomplish a common goal position Leroy well to be a strong advocate for all students, parents, and teachers alike.

Kevin Kingdon

To the editor,

Vote for April Sither for Scarborough Board of Education. She speaks with conviction, diplomacy, intelligence, and kindness.

She demonstrates her belief that our board can become a body that oversees our superintendent and school system in ways that best serve both our students and our community. Every time she speaks, her caring is evident.

For several years, I’ve watched the board and town council meetings. April’s behavior and speeches at these meetings reveals her sincerity and honesty. She establishes her points with calm professionalism, in sharp contrast to the attitudes of arrogance, derision, condescension and dismissiveness routinely conveyed by members of both bodies.

Our board of education needs what April will bring to the decision-making processes with which it is charged.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for a renewal: of purpose, of caring, of collaboration, of transparency, and, most importantly, of accountability. Vote for April. She won’t disappoint.

Cynthia Nilsen

To the editor,

The town of Scarborough has been divided on educational issues for several years, with the last few being particularly contentious.

Managing a school system is complex. This is why we need people with a unique combination of business acumen and public service experience. We also need those who can be impartial and make difficult decisions with community input. Elected candidates need to be engaged community members. April Sither is this person.

While there are many reasons April is qualified to be a Scarborough School Board member, to me, her most valuable attribute is her commitment to hearing all sides of an issue. She actively attends meetings and proactively talks to community members. As a fourth generation resident, April understands the diversity of Scarborough residents.

As a former middle school teacher and mom to kids currently in the school system, April has a pulse on what’s best for all impacted.

Cheryl Herbert

To the editor,

I am writing today on behalf of Linwood Higgins’ effort to become Scarborough’s next Representative in Augusta. A lifelong resident of Scarborough, Lin Higgins is has everything it takes to be an effective member of the Maine State Legislature.

Lin is a parent, a businessman and a former legislator. He understands what it takes to raise a family, meet a payroll and to work with his fellow legislators to do what is right for Maine.

My husband, Charlie, and I have known Lin Higgins for more that two decades and we are certain that, if given the opportunity, he will do what he has always done – work tirelessly to ensure that we have a responsive state government that we can afford and, in so doing, serve the citizens of Scarborough with honor and distinction.

Please join us in working for and voting for Linwood M. Higgins, State Representative District 28.

Ruth Summers

To the editor,

I’m pleased to support Annalee Rosenblatt’s candidacy for board of education; a voice with unique and relevant Board experience along with a needed change from the status quo. Unique and relevant experiences include: Eight years Scarborough board member, board chair and English teacher and a founding member of Scarborough’s Special Education Parent Association.

Annalee has been self employed for over 30 years using her skills as a mediator in public and private sector environments. No other candidate has this level of board of education knowledge and experience, critical to successfully managing our high performance school system.

Vote for Annalee Rosenblatt. We deserve both a change from business as usual and a proven track record in education.

Larry Hartwell

To the editor,

We are writing this letter to speak to the character of Amy Glidden who is running for a Scarborough school board position. We have known Amy for the past 15 years in many different capacities. Our children have grown up together and we have worked side by side on numerous boards with Amy, supporting the students of Scarborough Schools.

Amy is consistently caring and supportive of the students and teachers of Scarborough. Always looking for innovative ways to better the school environment.

Not only do we wish to speak to her strong character but also her work ethic. When Amy becomes involved in an activity, she not only brings good ideas to the situation but also puts forth the time and energy needed to complete the task at hand.

She takes the time to speak directly to all interested parties to hear all sides of a situation and does the research to find creative solutions. Amy is one of those rare individuals that not only talks the talk, but takes action and walks the walk.

Please join us in voting for our friend Amy Glidden.

Ruth and John Hughes

To the editor,

This November we have the opportunity to replenish our board of education with experienced community members who have a passion for education and a desire to help heal our town.

It is my opinion that Dr. Nick Gill is one such person. I have come to know Nick over the past several months and I find him to be a capable, articulate, and level headed man who has a great deal to offer as a member of our board of education.

Nick has worked in the Maine community college system for over 12 years and he has witnessed the challenges some of Maine’s high school graduates encounter when they transition to the college setting. We in Scarborough know the frustrations of how proficiency-based education has been forced on our schools with little to no input from our teachers, parents, and student. Nick believes that together we can work as a community to customize an approach to PBE that could both enhance our students’ post-graduation performance, while preserving our services to both high achieving and scholastically challenged students.

Nick prides himself on being a consensus builder, someone who can listen to and really hear all side of an issue and then collaboratively develop solutions and compromises that fit the real world situations.

Divisiveness has stood in Scarborough’s way for far too long and I think it is time that we elect people, Dr. Gill, to help bridge the gaps and make Scarborough an even stronger community.

Nevena Djuranovic

To the editor,

Turnover is expensive. At the candidates forum last week, we met and heard each candidate running for open seats on the board of education. It was an impressive evening and we are fortunate to have so many qualified candidates stepping up to run for office. But one statement from that evening echoes with me still, a week after the event. “Turnover is expensive.”

These are the words of candidate Nick Gill. It made me think of the annual battle this town has over the school budget.

I am a parent of two in Scarborough High School and I have voted yes on the school budget the first time, every time since we moved to Scarborough in 2000. I strongly support our schools. I think a solid, well-funded, well-respected school system is good for our community, our future and our property values. But I also have elderly parents who live here and who worry every year about their rising tax bill. I live on both sides of this issue. I guess that’s why Nick Gill’s words stuck with me. Maybe it’s not the budget that’s the problem, maybe it’s the perceived waste.

Turnover is expensive and the recent turmoil in our schools has resulted in so much of it. We have been through more principals in the past two years than I can ever recall.

Why are we losing so many seasoned, quality leaders in our schools? Some to retirement, like Mrs. Hathorne. Some unknown to me, like Mr. Thurlow. And, of course, Principal Creech at the high school. How can we possibly calculate the waste and financial impact resulting from these losses?

For me, it’s time for change and a practical approach to school governance. I will vote for candidates I can trust with the budget. This year, for board of education, I will be voting for Nick Gill, Amy Glidden, Alicia Giftos, April Sither and Betsy Gleysteen Lisa Day, Scarborough

With all the signs piling up on the sides of Scarborough’s roads, it can be hard to know how to differentiate between them, and how to know what values the different candidates represent. John Cloutier stands out. Like his signs, with their messages of inclusion, respect, connection and engagement, John is a unique candidate who is ready to bring these values to the board of education.

John is a business owner with a degree in actuarial mathematics making him particularly qualified to help Scarborough schools move forward thoughtfully while managing risk. He will bring all stakeholders to the table and work toward consensus before implementing major change.

As the owner of the Beachwood Resort and the president of the Portland Porpoise swim club, John understands customer service and he knows that Scarborough public schools are answerable to many customers. From students, to parents, to the larger community that invests in the schools, John is ready to engage all constituencies to achieve customer satisfaction.

John seeks out and values different opinions and believes a diverse board will benefit our schools. John Cloutier has my vote on Nov. 6. I hope you will help Scarborough move forward by giving him your vote, too.

Cindy Parenteau

To the editor,

I moved to Scarborough 10 years ago after my oldest child was born. I knew the good reputation of Scarborough schools and that was one of the many reasons I chose this community.

Admittedly, I never paid much attention in those early years but as my children aged and entered the school system I became more aware. I don’t pretend to know all the facts but try to keep myself as informed as possible.

As a single-income household, I am very concerned about expenses and property taxes but to that end I also want to assure that the school system my children have grown to love, as have I, continues to hold the strong reputation that it has built.

I will not support any candidate that has accepted the endorsement of the Concerned Tax Payers of Scarborough. We need candidates that will continue to lead our school system; a school system that is considered one of the top five districts in the state. We should be proud of that and want to build on that. We need to support our teachers. We don’t need a board of education that is aligned so tightly with a group that has actively campaigned against our schools and against our school budgets with misleading facts. The group always votes no regardless of our budget because they believe our teachers are over paid and that programs need to be cut.

We need a board that will stand up to this and stand up for our students and teachers. The board has always been at the center of conflict. I feel they have been dividing our town before the elections last spring. They are closed off to anyone with a difference of opinion.

We see it every budget season and now more than ever we need candidates that will fight for our students. Number 1 on the operating protocol for board members is children’s interests come first. We need to ensure this pledge.

This is why I am proud to support John Cloutier, Sarah Leighton, Lori Lavoie, Stacey Neumann and Emily Read. They will be strong advocates for our children and our teachers.

Meghan Powers

To the editor,

I support John Cloutier and Emily Read in their runs for the Scarborough Board of Education.

John Cloutier is a self-employed business owner with previous leadership experience within a Fortune 100 company. With three children currently attending our schools, he is personally vested in the education we offer our students. With deep business experience, John understands maximizing value within available resources. Having personally had conversations with John, I’m confident he will be a great partner to the community, improve outcomes for Scarborough students, as well as develop the culture and safety of our town’s most important investment.

Emily Read works for the Children’s Dyslexia Center, committing her professional life to education and literacy. Like John, Emily has three children in Scarborough schools, and is personally vested in our town’s education system. Serving on the Scarborough Public Library Board of Trustees, Emily has demonstrated her commitment to our community, while gaining experience with municipal budgets and a respect for our municipal departments and community partnerships.

Having personally had conversations with Emily, I am confident she will listen to the needs of Scarborough and prioritize our children.

I’m excited for the opportunity to vote for John Cloutier and Emily Read on Nov. 6.

Dan Quinn

To the editor,

A few weeks ago, I was pleased to see John “David” Dittmer gathering signatures to become a candidate for Scarborough town council. I offered my signature and I plan to vote for Dave in November.

I first met Dave and his family 10 years ago, when our daughters were playing Scarborough Community Services soccer. Since then, we have spent a great deal of time together supporting the Gym Dandies Children’s Circus and the Scarborough volleyball program.

As chair of the board of directors of the Gym Dandies, and as a volleyball parent, I have seen Dave and his wife, Marie, contribute countless hours of support to these and other community organizations.

Beyond his contributions to the community, I appreciate Dave’s support of strong schools and his thoughtful assessment of the issues facing our town, including the Scarborough Downs TIF/CEA project.

The town council will benefit from Dave’s pragmatic approach, and his perspective as a parent and business owner in our community. Dave has the right skills and temperament to bring people together to build a stronger Scarborough for the future.

Please join me in supporting John “David” Dittmer for town council in November.

Frank Winslow

To the editor,

I am sending this letter to let the community know why I support Paul Johnson for the Scarborough Town Council.

I have had the fortune to know Paul since his days in the Scarborough school system as a student, watched him grow into a fine young person, develop a business in Scarborough serving local students (The Study Hall), then becoming a husband and an outstanding father.

I am very pleased that Paul is making a dedicated commitment to help Scarborough and is running for a town council seat.

I could not recommend anyone better to work for the people of Scarborough. As a teacher, both of my children had the fortune of having Paul in their corner to prepare them for college.

As a homeowner in Scarborough I want Paul in our corner. Paul’s approach to listen first, build consensus, then execute an agreed upon plan is what Scarborough needs desperately in a town councilor today. Paul Johnson’s integrity and honesty will serve Scarborough well.

Gary Garrison

To the editor,

This year, with 15 candidates running for the board of education, we have a unique opportunity to choose people who represent the direction we want our schools to move in rather than voting for an unopposed candidate.

As I have become more informed about our choices by watching the candidate forum on TV, reading the various profiles and researching candidates’ histories in our community, something has become more and more apparent; some candidates are passionate about progressive, long-term improvements in our educational system, and others are more interested in budget battles or rehashing the divisiveness of last spring.

All the candidates understand that there are improvements to be made in how the board operates, especially around transparency and communication with both the community and staff.

However, only some of them seem to be primarily concerned with service to our schools, and interested in moving forward with thoughtful educational initiatives. This is why I will be supporting Stacey Neumann, Emily Read, Lori Lavoie, John Cloutier, and Sarah Leighton.

Stacey is interested in foreign languages in the younger grades and she has been advocating for that issue as she has fought for school funding over the past several years.

Emily is passionate about literacy and making literacy accessible to all learners, as she has demonstrated through her years on the library board.

Lori wants our students to benefit from more physical activity and wellness programs. John understands the value of technology, but wants to make sure that our students balance screen time with face-to-face interaction, the arts, and real-world experiences.

Sarah is a 2005 graduate of Scarborough High School who is inspired and motivated to improve her community through public service. She wants to reflect on and learn from the past while moving forward with the mission of Scarborough schools.

Hot-button issues come and go. I want my board members to be passionate about improving education in the long-term, not just when something hits a nerve. Let’s get back to what really matters, the education of Scarborough’s students, and the continuous improvement of our schools.

Kristin Allen

To the editor,

I am writing to express my support of Paul Johnson for Scarborough town council. I have known Paul, as a business partner and friend, for 15-plus years.

I have personally witnessed Paul help hundreds of Scarborough families with his problem solving skills. He is known to be quite candid, but his candor comes from a place of genuine care and concern for the residents of Scarborough.

Instead of writing more about Paul Johnson, I’ll simply encourage the readers to ask their friends and/or family members about Paul – there is a good chance they will have crossed paths with him and enthusiastically support Paul as I do.

Please consider a vote for Paul Johnson for town council.

Jennifer Allen

To the editor,

Since knowing Paul Johnson I have witnessed his leadership in action. I have seen him unite, coordinate and lead groups of people for the better of the town of Scarborough.

I have watched as Paul put his reputation and livelihood on the line as he stood up for the principles of many residents in Scarborough that have felt disenfranchised for years.

Paul has an uncanny ability to bring people together whether they are on the same political wavelength or not. I believe he can bring Scarborough together and help make it better. If you want to move forward together, please vote for Paul Johnson this November.

Racquel Undlin

To the editor,

First, I want to thank the people of Scarborough for their support over the last 40 years. It has been a great run and an honor to serve.

Although we have not always agreed, we have discussed issues, debated pros and cons, been civil with each other, and remained friends.

I want to remind folks that I have not done anything alone. It takes the board, the administration, staff. Students and parents to have serious and successful education in our town.

Thanks to all of you who have stepped up to the plate to run for office. Being a member of a public body is not easy and is very time consuming. When you run for the board of education in Maine, you are running to be on a agent of the state board, elected locally. Board meetings are meetings in public and, unlike a town council, are not public meetings.

Though we listen, we do not always agree. We must always put our students first – not always popular. Being on a school board is a huge responsibility and, if elected, you will find that there is often much that cannot be shared with the public.

It is not my place to suggest for whom you should vote. But I do ask that you vote for candidates who are talking about educational issues, improving our school, and advocating for a budget that will move our system forward. For example, we have more than 20 children in some kindergarten classes and upwards of 22 students in grades 1 and 2. The numbers go up from there.

We need serious, thoughtful and open-minded people on our school board. Put on your listening ears you Scarborough voters.

Select candidates who, like me, love students and education, can admit when they are wrong, will listen to all sides before voting and who will serve our town and school district with honor.

Thank you Scarborough and all the board members, administrator, teachers, staff and students whom I have served all this years

Jackie Perry

To the editor,

Scarborough needs competent, committed, even-hand- ed school board members with common sense. They should be people eager to engage the community, not only in discussion, but also in constructive action and forward-thinking behavior.

Emily Read is such a person. She understands that every situation has multiple perspectives. She recently said to us: “I have approached academics, professional work, and volunteer service with that in mind – and I seek out different perspectives, in order to form my own opinions.”

Emily’s skill set includes leadership, advocacy, collaborative decision making and municipal budgeting experience (she was the chair of the Scarborough Library Board of Trustees); fundraising and successful management experience (she is the communications and fundraising manager for the Portland Dyslexia Center); plus, full understanding of K-12 educational issues (equally as a mother involved in school affairs and a trained teacher).

Emily is on the side of kids – all kids. She recognizes both the need for taxes and the need for sensible budgeting that ensures excellent instruction for children and equitable pay for teachers.

Tough decisions lie ahead, and she knows that, but she is also a person who believes in the use of reason and, in the end, the creation of solutions that are arrived at through rational comprise, knowing that decisions made today are also decisions with an impact on tomorrow.

We can’t think of any better person to represent us and the Scarborough community than Emily Read. If you, like us, care about the future of our community and the kids who live here, please vote for Emily Read.

Betty and Duncan Perry

To the editor,

I’d like to share my thoughts on choosing our next state senator. Many candidate endorsement letters have focused on something I would hope we can all agree on as basic criteria for any elected position: The individual is a caring decent human being, pleasant to neighbors and others, interested in their community and state.

Both Linda Sanborn and Amy Volk have these qualities. Certainly at a time when our country is led by an individual and an administration with no apparent moral compass, these basic qualities become even more essential.

However, beyond this fundamental criteria, I expect representation by individuals deeply interested in and well informed about the issues, concerns, policies impacting us at local, state and national levels. We are after all interconnected at all these levels.

The ability to think critically and balance this big picture with more detail-oriented focus is important. My representative should not be bound by partisan ideology, but rather be attuned to the realities of everyday peoples’ lives and committed to serving to make these lives better, not to serving a partisan agenda.

I share the following examples to contrast the candidates:

When serving as our Representative, Amy Volk received letters from constituents as part of an action to contact state representatives in Maine and nationally. We were expressing deep concern about the organization known as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).

This extremely partisan group is well known for its agenda to develop models of legislation, (in place of the will of the voters), and disseminate them to state Republican legislators across the country to implement as state policies and legislative priorities.

Her response to our letters was alarming on two fronts. First she did not appear to understand what this organization, an arm of the GOP, did. Second, she dismissed the notion that ALEC was involved in the Maine Legislature, when in fact ALEC has been very active with the GOP Legislature under the LePage administration. I encourage readers to view the ALEC website and its Maine connections.

More recently, Sen. Volk referred to and then doubled down on calling the Southern Poverty Law Center a hate group. I encourage readers to look at the long history of this renowned organization.

The SPLC does in fact have as its mission exposure and tracking of hate groups in our country and beyond. It promotes non-violence, tolerance, understanding and diversity. It educates about rights and responsibilities.

Candidate Dr. Linda Sanborn has demonstrated a firm grasp and understanding of the realities of peoples’ lives and the many challenges our local communities, state and nation face.

I encourage readers to view her voting record and issues she championed as a former state representative. She speaks with knowledge and a physician’s years of experience about the serious problems with our healthcare system and its failure to meet the needs of our people, especially seniors, those with medical conditions and those with lower incomes.

In canvassing for Linda, the financial, health and emotional distress caused by our current system was a primary concern for seniors, young people, families with members including children with pre-existing conditions.

She speaks with clarity and concern about the environmental crisis facing our state, nation and world. She addresses the educational and job challenges Maine faces and champions support for our public institutions at all levels and support for small businesses.

For each of these areas she brings her experience in the Legislature, her career as a family physician and her life long citizen advocacy to present practical, compassionate ideas and proposals to address these issues and more.

For these reasons and more, I am proud to support Linda Sanborn for our next state senator.

Cynthia Ambrogne-O’Toole

To the editor,

I am supporting Betsy Gleysteen for the Scarborough Board of Education, three-year term.

Betsy’s background and experience will be valuable assets for the board. She will work for creative solutions to problems and bring a unique perspective to many issues our school system faces. Most importantly, Betsy is committed to ensuring that everyone has a voice at the table in helping to make important decisions for our schools.

Please consider joining me in supporting Betsy Gleysteen for board of education.

• I am writing in support of Annalee Rosenblatt for a three-term seat on the school board. To me, Annalee is an obvious choice because of her lifelong commitment to Scarborough, with volunteering she has done and the commitment of seeing this town prosper.

As a professional mediator for labor and human resources she is used to dealing with opposing views and finding a compromise.

This is a trait that is defiantly needed on the school board to help this town heal and move forward. She has also a former member of the school board and knows what the job entails and in the current town climate she is willing to jump in and do what is needed to be done to for the schools.

She is also a former educator so she knows first hand what is needed to for a school to succeed.

Please join me and vote for Annalee Rosenblatt for school board.

Thea Nelson

To the editor,

Please join me in voting Emily Read to the Scarborough Board of Education. I have known Emily for quite some time and served with her on the Scarborough Library Board of Trustees, where she gained experience in the municipal budget process and how to function cohesively for the benefit of our community.

Our new school board will consist of individuals with limited board of education experience.

As such, and for the sake of our children, it is extremely important that we elect individuals that have the ability to take input from all the school’s stakeholders (parents, students, teachers and staff) and communicate respectively.

Emily will do this. She is an intelligent, thoughtful individual who is balanced in her decision-making and understands the responsibility of being on the board of education.

She will actively seek more dialogue with and listen to the community to ensure all voices are heard.

I encourage you to learn more about Emily and read her bio at Emily Read for Board of Education on Facebook. You will be impressed.

Bob Nadeau

To the editor,

As a parent with children in Scarborough schools, I’d like to thank the many candidates for school board for volunteering to serve our community.

While the field of candidates is crowded this year, the choice is clear. Amy Glidden, Alicia Giftos and April Sither are the best candidates for school board and I encourage Scarborough to vote for them this November.

Based on their resumes alone these women would be a great choice. What really sets them apart is what they did for our community last March.

Agree with the recall or not, I think we can all acknowledge that these women chose to take decisive action when they realized our schools were headed in the wrong direction.

They stood out in the cold (literally and figuratively), fighting for students and teachers.

These women are precisely the passionate advocates we need fighting for our kids. Vote for them this November.

Jason McGovern

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