FCC News Brief - December 19, 2018

Read It’s time to learn if Ron DeSantis cares about Florida environment - “The last eight years will go down as some of the worst for Florida’s environment. Between algae blooms, beach erosion, hurricanes and the continuing specter of climate change, the state’s delicate eco-balance has been under siege. Under Gov. Rick Scott, even the official mention of climate change was forbidden. Regulations to protect the environment were trampled as economic nuisances. And the voting record by Governor-elect Ron DeSantis when he was in Congress suggests it could be more of the same...Red tide was a disaster for Florida’s environment that lasted far too long. Images of dead fish and manatees washing up on beaches must have given migraines to state tourism officials. The Everglades remains at an ecological tipping point. And whether skeptics want to believe it is real or not, the state will either deal with climate change, or climate change will deal with the state. If DeSantis is willing, the time may be right to put a comprehensive plan in motion to deal with that crisis in a bipartisan way. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, reportedly is being considered by incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead a key environmental committee...I don’t think Scott’s administration ever looked at the environment as an economic issue. Maybe if it had, things might have been different. It wasn’t until green ooze flowing from Lake Okeechobee along rivers on the East Coast of Florida made national news that Scott seemed to realize this was a significant problem…”Joe Henderson writes Opinion for Florida Politics.

Read The fate of Fish Island - “Perhaps it was a miracle that Fish Island survived the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. No cannons, colonies or conquistadors landed on this humble stretch of forest nestled alongside St. Augustine’s 312 bridge.And perhaps it was another miracle that Fish Island survived the British buccaneers of the 17th century. In the midst of revolution, turmoil and political uncertainty, this 72-acre island of pine trees, eagle’s nests and wetlands remained unscathed by the series of raids and pillaging that marked the history of America’s oldest European settlement...But like many of Florida’s remaining forests and wetlands, Fish Island’s luck may be running out amid intense urban population growth in the 21st century. The largest homebuilder in America, D.R. Horton, has plans to develop the slim peninsula that also serves as a barrier to rising seas — and may hold archaeological evidence of enslaved Africans in a city that has done so much to preserve its Spanish heritage. Company officials presented their proposal to St. Augustine’s Planning and Zoning Board in July. The development plan initially included 170 single-family housing units, two roadways and an amenity center...At the plan board meeting this fall, former St. Augustine Beach Mayor Gary Snodgrass pointed to the beach town’s move to buy land for Ocean Hammock Park as a way local government can protect from over-development, preserve wildlife and better prepare for sea-rise. That project was funded with a grant from the Florida Communities Trust Fund. Advocates also suggest that Florida Forever, the state’s public-land acquisition program, could be one source of funding to purchase Fish Island from its owners and preserve the land in the name of conservation and climate adaptation…” Max Chesnes writes for WUFT News and the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Read St. Johns developer donates nearly 13 acres to North Florida Land Trust - “St. Johns County developer Jay McGarvey is donating nearly 13 acres of land at Ponte Vedra Beach deemed key natural habitat to the North Florida Land Trust, a nonprofit conservation organization. The parcel is part of the Guana River State Park wetlands, which provides critical flood protection for the area and habitat for native species. It joins other acreage McGarvey has previously donated to the trust. The site being donated is north of McGarvey’s luxury home development, Marsh Dunes II. He is giving the land voluntarily. He is not required to set aside the property as part of any wetland’s mitigation plan. He is continuing a longtime tradition of preserving what makes Florida a special place to people who buy homes here — its natural resources. “It’s what makes Jay a very extraordinary person. He gets it,” said Jim McCarthy, executive director of the Land Trust. “He could build on that land, but instead, he’s decided it’s for everybody’s benefit.” The Guana River Preserve is a critical part of the community’s ecosystem. Marsh grasses take pollutants out of the water. And, each acre of marshlands can hold up to 1.5 million gallons of flood water. That’s enormously helpful to people living downriver, McCarthy said. He estimated the economic benefit at $1.6 million. McCarthy said conservation in Northeast Florida is in a race against time. Development is happening quickly — faster than money is pouring into the Land Trust’s coffers. In that race, McGarvey has been a leader among developers, he said…” Teresa Stepzinksi reports for Jacksonville.com.

Read Is Tampa’s toilet-to-tap plan swirling down the drain? - “Tampa’s controversial plan to convert highly-treated wastewater into drinking water appears to be losing support among representatives from local governments who make up the board of Tampa Bay Water, the regional authority that would have to sign off on the city’s plan. At a meeting Monday, Pasco County officials, including Commissioners Kathryn Starkey and Ron Oakley, expressed larger concerns about the project than they had previously. The Pinellas delegation, led by St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice, already is opposed. Any agreement between the water authority and Tampa requires the support of a majority of the board's nine members, three each from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. After another discussion scheduled for next month, the board voted unanimously to take up the so-called "toilet to tap'' issue again in February...Pinellas and Pasco members kept pressing Tampa water officials Monday about why Florida’s third-largest city needs to further develop its own water supply and largely stop purchasing water from the authority. And why it wants to pursue the giant project by itself...Tampa officials said its toilet-to-tap plan would only bolster the region’s water resources by allowing Tampa to be virtually self-sufficient in water, freeing up water for needier Pinellas and Pasco counties. They said eliminating the minimal nutrients the water currently discharges into the bay from its Howard F. Curren sewage plant, which first treats the sewage to a much-cleaner level than St. Petersburg, would help the environment. And they said that extra water would keep Tampa Bay Water from having to build expensive new infrastructure to supply the three-county region’s water needs, saving nearly $35 million…” Charlie Frago reports for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read Finding Florida paradise in a year of red tide and green slime - “Florida’s natural wonders have been in the news this year for all the wrong reasons: toxic tides, green slimes and rotting marine life. Losing paradise has long been a fear in Florida, so I recently traveled to three areas to see what’s left in a state endowed like no other with woods, wildlife and water. I began in the Keys, with 80 miles of cycling and a night in a tent at an unexpected jewel of a state park. Campers urged me not to reveal it. I will, though, because it exemplifies a lot of Florida refuges: man-made facsimiles of nature. After that was a hike along 12 miles of wilderness beach of Canaveral National Seashore at Central Florida’s Atlantic coast. It’s rarely traversed on foot. I got cell service but the sense of isolation hinted at haunting. Visually, it was astonishingly beauty-and-beast and not for the nudists I interviewed. I’ll explain. The final outing was 25 miles of paddling on the Suwannee River through federal refuge to the Gulf of Mexico. I stayed for an inspirational starry night, sleeping in my canoe, tied off to a cypress knee, lulled by currents and thinking of pirates plying those black waters in pristine times. It was the most moving of the three stops. Far apart, each setting affirms the state is endowed with natural wonder. Each is wounded by water abuses. And each tells a story of remaining paradise…” Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel.

Read Linda Stewart thinks this time may be the charm for anti-fracking bill - “Citing Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis‘ environmental platform, Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart is taking another shot at getting oil and gas hydraulic fracturing, fracking, banned in the state of Florida. Stewart filed SB 146 putting a fracking ban back on the Senate’s plate for the seventh or eighth time this decade, this time anticipating momentum and help from the governor’s office after DeSantis declared last summer during the campaign that he would oppose fracking in Florida. “This time may well be the charm,” Stewart stated in a news release. “We’re about to inaugurate a governor whose environmental platform included a ban on fracking. We intend to hold Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis to that promise, and I’m sure he’ll be supportive of this good bill.” Once again, the bill face stiff opposition, including that of the Florida Petroleum Council, which contends that it would be unnecessary and unwise to ban the technology, an oil and gas extraction technique in which drillers inject high-pressure water and chemicals deep into the ground to fracture the rock and thereby provide the drillers better access to oil and gas reserves...here has been a building grassroots opposition that has drawn local resolutions calling for bans in numerous cities and counties, now numbering 90 statewide, according to a release from Stewart’s office, and including Republican-dominated Seminole County. Over the course of the 2018 statewide election campaigns all seven major candidates for governor including DeSantis declared opposition to fracking. Stewart has been adamant in her opposition to fracking in Florida, charging that in other states the process has threatened or contaminated groundwater and other problems…” Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics.

Read Florida Sandhill Crane among 13 species denied protection under Endangered Species Act - “The Trump administration denied protection Tuesday for 13 animals under the Endangered Species Act, including the Florida sandhill crane. The other species include the Cedar Key mole skink, which is known to inhabit eight islands off of Florida’s west coast. A snail in Arkansas and Missouri went extinct while awaiting protection. Julie Wraithmell of Audubon Florida says excluding the Florida sandhill crane seems hasty. “The threats they’re facing are so substantial. These are birds that depend upon Florida’s dwindling shallow wetlands, and anyone that’s been paying attention to the red tide and algal problems that we’ve been having in the past years knows that Florida wetlands are struggling right now.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a team of biologists examined each species and arrived at their decisions after rigorous scientific study...” Amy Green reports for WMFE.

Read Withlacoochee may be contaminated after another Valdosta sewage spill- “Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison counties issued a joint health advisory Monday to residents and visitors near the Withlacoochee River in north Florida. The city of Valdosta reported a large spill of untreated and partially treated sewage mixed with rain water; the spillage will impact water quality in the Withlacoochee River. It’s the second reported sewage spill from Valdosta in two weeks with the south Georgia city also reporting a spill Dec. 2. According to the city of Valdosta, the wastewater treatment plan has a normal average daily flow of 3.5 million gallons but over the weekend, it peaked at more than 22 million gallons...Until further information is known regarding possible contamination of the river, people in the area are urged to take precautions when in contact with the Withlacoochee River. The Florida Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection are conducting water sampling. Water contaminated with wastewater overflow presents several health risks to humans. Untreated human sewage with microbes could cause gastrointestinal issues and other conditions…” From the Suwannee Democrat, Hamilton County Department of Health advisory.


From Our Readers

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Upcoming Environmental Events:

December 19, 2018 – 5:30PM-7:00PM– Escambia County Legislative Delegation– (Pensacola) – Attend the Escambia County Delegation meeting at the Pensacola State Colleges, Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio, (1000 College Boulevard, Pensacola FL ). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To request an appearance form to be placed on the meeting agenda, individuals should contact Senator Doug Broxson’s office at (850) 595-1036, or email: brown.kevin@flsenate.gov 

December 19, 2018 – 5:30PM-7:00PM– Santa Rosa County Legislative Delegation– (Milton) – Attend the Santa Rosa County Delegation meeting at the Santa Rosa County Commission Chambers (6495 Caroline St, #C Milton, FL 32570). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

December 19, 2018 – 9:00AM– Manatee County Legislative Delegation– (Bradenton) – Attend the Manatee County Delegation meeting at the Manatee County Commission Chambers, (1112 W Manatee Ave, Bradenton, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To be included on the agenda, please contact Meagan Hebel at meagan.hebel@myfloridahouse.gov no later than noon Thursday December 13, 2018.

December 20, 2018 – 5:30PM– Calhoun County Legislative Delegation– (Blountstown) – Attend the Calhoun County Delegation meeting at the Calhoun County Commission Board Room, (20859 Central Ave, Blountstown, FL 32424). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

December 20, 2018 – 9:30AM-3:30PM– Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation– (Tampa) – Attend the Hillsborough County Delegation meeting at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Ferguson Hall (1010 N Maccinnes PL Tampa, FL 33602). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To learn more and access/submit the speaker request form visit www.hillsborouthcounty.org.

December 20, 2018 – 9:00AM– Walton County Legislative Delegation– (DeFuniak Springs) – Attend the Walton County Delegation meeting at the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (76 N 6th St DeFuniak Springs, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To request an appearance form to be placed on the agenda or submit handouts for the Walton, Holmes, Washington and/or Jackson County Legislation Delegation meetings, please email gainer.george@flsenate.gov or gainey.andrea@flsenate.gov or contact Senator Gainers district office at (850) 747-5454 no later than 4 p.m., Friday, December 14th.

December 20, 2018 – 10:30AM– Holmes County Legislative Delegation– (Bonifay) – Attend the Holmes County Delegation meeting at the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners (107 E Virginia Ave Bonifay, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To request an appearance form to be placed on the agenda or submit handouts for the Walton, Holmes, Washington and/or Jackson County Legislation Delegation meetings, please email gainer.george@flsenate.gov or gainey.andrea@flsenate.gov or contact Senator Gainers district office at (850) 747-5454 no later than 4 p.m., Friday, December 14th.

December 20, 2018 – 11:45AM– Washington County Legislative Delegation– (Chipley) – Attend the Washington County Delegation meeting at the Washington County Board of County Commissioners (1331 South Blvd Chipley, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To request an appearance form to be placed on the agenda or submit handouts for the Walton, Holmes, Washington and/or Jackson County Legislation Delegation meetings, please email gainer.george@flsenate.gov or gainey.andrea@flsenate.gov or contact Senator Gainers district office at (850) 747-5454 no later than 4 p.m., Friday, December 14th.

December 20, 2018 –2:15PM– Jackson County Legislative Delegation– (Marianna) – Attend the Jackson County Delegation meeting at the Jackson County School Board 2903 Jefferson St Marianna, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To request an appearance form to be placed on the agenda or submit handouts for the Walton, Holmes, Washington and/or Jackson County Legislation Delegation meetings, please email gainer.george@flsenate.gov or gainey.andrea@flsenate.gov or contact Senator Gainers district office at (850) 747-5454 no later than 4 p.m., Friday, December 14th.

December 20, 2018 –5:00– Bay County Legislative Delegation– (Panama City) – Attend the Bay County Delegation meeting at the Bay County Government Building (840 W 11th St Panama City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To request an appearance form to be placed on the agenda or submit handouts for the Walton, Holmes, Washington and/or Jackson County Legislation Delegation meetings, please email gainer.george@flsenate.gov or gainey.andrea@flsenate.gov or contact Senator Gainers district office at (850) 747-5454 no later than 4 p.m., Friday, December 14th.

January 3, 2019 – 4:00PM– Nassau County Legislative Delegation– (Yulee) – Attend the Suwannee County Delegation meeting at James Page Government Complex, (96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, contact Representative Cord Byrd’s legislative Assistant Katherine Woodby at Katherine.Woodby@myfloridahouse.gov.

January 14, 2019 – 9:00AM-11:00AM– Suwannee County Legislative Delegation– (Live Oak) – Attend the Suwannee County Delegation meeting at Live Oak City Hall (101 White Ave SE, Live Oak, FL 32064). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

January 14, 2019 1:00-3:00PM– Columbia County Legislative Delegation– (Lake City) – Attend the Columbia County Delegation meeting at the Florida Gateway College Administrative Building 1 Board Room (149 SE College Place, Lake City, FL, parking near Library). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 14, 2019 4:00-6:00PM – Baker County Legislative Delegation– (Macclenny) – Attend the Baker County Delegation meeting at the Macclenny City Hall, Commission Room (118 E Macclenny Ave, Macclenny FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 15, 2019 – 9:00AM– Martin County Legislative Delegation– (Stuart) – Attend the Martin County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Chastain Campus, Wolf Technology Center (2400 E Salerno Road, Stuart FL 34997). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

January 15, 2019 – 5:00PM-9:00PM– Brevard County Legislative Delegation– (Palm Bay City) – Attend the Brevard County Delegation meeting at Palm Bay City Council Chambers (120 Malabar Road, Palm Bay City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  Deadline to submit request to appear is noon January 7, email Anna Budko, Anna.Budko@myfloridahouse.gov.

January 15, 2019 – 9:00AM-5:00PM– Lee County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Myers) – Attend the Lee County Delegation meeting at Florida Southwestern State College Nursing Building, Room AA-177 Fort Myers, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  Deadline to submit request to appear is noon January 7, email dane.eagle@myfloridahouse.gov for more information.

January 15, 2019 – 9:30AM-4:00PM– Broward County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Lauderdale) – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at 115 South Andrews Avenue Room 430, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, complete this Speaker Form. Topics for this meeting include the environment and growth management.

January 16, 2019 – 1:00PM– Dixie County Legislative Delegation– (Cross City) – Attend the Dixie County Delegation meeting at Dixie County Commission Chamber, County Courthouse, (214 NE Hwy 351, Cross City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 16, 2019 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– Indian River County Legislative Delegation– (Vero Beach) – Attend the Indian River County Delegation meeting at Indian River County Administration Complex, (1801 27th St, Building A, Vero Beach, FL 32960). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, a request form and corresponding materials must be delivered to Sen. Mayfield's office no later than January 9. To receive a request form, email Margaret Mitchell at Mitchell.Margaret@flsenate.gov .

January 16, 2019 10:00-11:30AM – Lafayette County Legislative Delegation– (St. Mayo) – Attend the Lafayette County Delegation meeting at County Commission Chamber, Lafayette County Courthouse (120 W Main St, Mayo, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 16, 2019 – 4:00PM– Gilchrist County Legislative Delegation– (Trenton) – Attend the Gilchrist County Delegation meeting at County Commission Meeting Facility, (210 S. Main Street, Trenton, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 17, 2019 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– St. Lucie County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Pierce) – Attend the St. Lucie County Delegation meeting at the Indian River State College – Ft. Pierce Campus Knight Center for Emerging Technologies Indian River State College (3209 Virginia Ave, Building V Fort Pierce, FL 34981). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 18, 2019 – 9:00AM-10:30AM– Okeechobee County Legislative Delegation– (Okeechobee) – Attend the Okeechobee County Delegation meeting at the Okeechobee County Government Center, Commission Chambers (304 NW 2nd Street Okeechobee, FL 34972). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To submit a speaking request, contact Justin Morgan, justin.morgan@myfloridahouse.gov or (863) 462-5019 before January 10, 2019.

January 18, 2019 – 12:00PM-2:00PM– Highlands County Legislative Delegation– (Sebring) – Attend the Highlands County Delegation meeting at the Highlands County Government Center, Commission Chambers (600 S Commerce Ave Sebring, FL 33870). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To submit a speaking request, please contact Maura Palmer, maura.palmer@myfloridahouse.gov or (863) 386-6000 if you have any questions before January 10, 2019.

January 19, 2019 - 10:00am-12:00pm - Rising Sea Levels- Are we losing our coastal cities? (Deerfield) - The Deerfield Progressive Forum will host Dr. Colin Polsky, Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies and Professor of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, for a discussion of sea level rise and its impacts on Florida. For 39 years progressives in South Florida have been enlightened by a series of weekly talks presented by nationally distinguished speakers on provocative current issues. Lively discussion follows each talk. The Deerfield Progressive Forum meets every Saturday morning from December through March from 10:00 AM-noon in Century Village, Deerfield Beach. For more information, visit their site here.

January 22, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Preview Webinar - The 60-day 2019 Florida Legislative Session starts on March 5 and is scheduled to end on May 3 of 2019.  The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others.  1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that may be up for consideration during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and will discuss how this could impact state and local governance and planning in Florida. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162191) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

January 28, 2019 – 2:00PM-5:00PM– Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation– (Boynton Beach)– Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at Lakeside Medical Center, (39200 Hooker Highway, Belle Glade). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, complete this form and return by mail or email to Christine Shaw, Cshaw1@pbcgov.org.

January 28, 2019 – 2:30PM-6:00PM– Orange County Legislative Delegation– (Orlando)– Attend the Orange County Delegation meeting at the Orange County Administration Center, Commission Chambers (201 South Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, email LD@ocfl.net to request an appearance form.

March 27, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Update Webinar - This free webinar is scheduled for a little more than three weeks into the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others. 1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that are being considered during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and other legislation that may surface as the session progresses. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162194). 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, Florida Environmental Health Professionals, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved. Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.

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