Archive for category Hard News Café

Paradise farmers’ market proud of ‘small-town feel’

This article was originally posted May 4, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

PARADISE–Linda Thomas was a vendor at last year’s Paradise Market. She said not only did she love it, but also people apparently loved her and her product. She recycles wool sweaters and turns them into mittens.

“I actually did great,” Thomas said, when asked how her product sold in the midsummer markets. “It’s such a unique product that people buy them for Christmas presents. I usually sold ten pairs a day.”

A friend received a pair as a gift and Thomas thought they were a good idea. Starting off as a hobby, Thomas went to thrift stores for materials, made a pair of her own, made them for friends, and turned it in to a family business, saying her parents are unemployed and entrepreneurs, doing everything out of their home.

Thomas has a brother living in Logan and she said he would be doing most of the markets this year because Thomas and her husband relocated to Colorado after a job change, but she will try to come back once or twice.

“We weren’t really there to profit off the mittens,” Thomas said. “I was there more to interact with other people. It’s a fun item and we’d always buy fresh fruits and vegetables and support other people in their hobbies and their lives.”

Because Paradise’s market is new and still small, Thomas’s story is not a typical one. Melissa Prosser, one of the market’s committee members, said, “Most people make back their fee money, but some don’t, or don’t make as much as they would in other places. Last year it took quite a bit of donated money, time and effort to run the market. We intentionally kept fees low because we care about our vendors.”

Rhonda Miller, another committee member, tries to pad the costs by seeking out and applying for grants. She explained they get vendors from all over Utah, as well as the neighboring counties in Idaho. Miller added Thomas was not the only vendor who did not sell fruits and vegetables, but others sold soap, lotion, jelly, aprons, fishing flies and art among other things.

Christy Holmes, a vendor and Paradise resident, said, “Whoever came up with a novelty item stole the show.” Blackberries and popcorn balls were always a favorite, she added.

Her husband, Dave Holmes, said, “If you can think of it, so can sell it.”

The market is not just a place for people to sell their produce; Prosser added it is a meeting place for the whole community.

“Nobody felt pressured to buy anything,” Thomas said. “Some people just came to listen to music.”

She added markets in general are great, even just for the social aspect. “It seems that people don’t even know their neighbors.”

Residents of Paradise pride themselves on the small town feel, Christy Holmes said. “I like the atmosphere here. It’s a community thing. Everyone in the community came out to visit.”

The market wasn’t only friendly toward Paradise residents.

“There was a family that drove all the way from Deweyville, near Tremonton several times to sell produce,” Prosser said. “One week, their old van ran out of gas on the way home. The Paradise Fire Department brought the fire truck over and got them going again. It was awesome.”

Last year was the first year the market was running, and over the two and a half months it ran on Wednesday nights, more people would come every night despite the fact Paradise is out-of-the-way, Thomas said.

“Paradise is such a great community,” she said. “If I were ever to move back to Cache, I’d move to Paradise. It was so much fun. Everyone should go. My husband would even come, and that’s saying a lot.”

The market will run this year from June 30 to Sept. 22. For more information, check out the market website.


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Falk: Ordinary girls, famous musicians–how they do it all

This article was originally posted May 3, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Recently, I got to interview the sisters Falk, some local girls who just signed with a management company in New York, about their experiences in the music industry. The company they’re with isn’t their first. They’ve had international hits since before they were teenagers.

However, they are really excited to be doing what they love and have their music under their own control. They’ve struggled with everything from record deals falling through to boys, and throughout everything they’ve been through, the one thing they’ve always had is each other.

“We can cry together, we can laugh together, we can celebrate together; we go through it all together,” the older sister Alexa said. “So she’s the only one who knows and has been there for all of the ups and downs.”

They are recording a new album, hoping to get picked up by a big label. Either way, they’re hoping to have their new album out by the end of the summer.

Check out for more information.

Hard News Cafe: So you say you have been country and pop, what would you say you are now?

Alexa: I’d say Pop Rock Acoustic.

Natalee: It’s kind of a combination of everything we’ve done, which is really funny because it’s like we’re coming full circle and everything we’ve gone through and we’re now a blended version of all that. And it’s actually pretty cool, I mean it’s right up our alley of what we write naturally and what kind of production style we like, so it’s working out for us.

HNC: Who do would you say is a big influence on your sound or even why you want to be musicians?

N: It’s a lot easier looking at it from the outside than it actually is when you’re on the inside. Ever since I was younger I’ve always looked up to Shania Twain as an influence. My mom spotted a talent in Alexa and I musically when we were really young, so she started the ball rolling and we got into private lessons and ever since then we kind of did it as a hobby and then we took it on our own when we had hits in Brazil when we were 8 and 10. So that’s when we started really pursuing the music career.

HNC: What was that like? How did that even happen?

A: Honestly, we were so young that it was kind of surreal to us. I began writing when I was 8 and I actually won the songwriter’s competition for Utah. I was the No. 1 songwriter here and because of that, have you ever heard of SHeDAISY? We were country at the time, so we hooked up with their producer, I started with him, he was submitting music to other artists overseas and they happened to choose five of our songs and we were 10 and 8 at the time. It started then until when I was 13 or 14, we started getting platinum records, No. 1 across the country. It was crazy.

N: They were in movies, they were in dance clubs; it was crazy. And we’d get this concert footage. We had no idea until all of a sudden it hit us. We were watching the concert footage and this song that we wrote called “My Sweet Someday” came on and this entire stadium of people was bawling their lighters and I remember being 13. It really hit us then. When we were 8 and 10 we didn’t realize.

A: Like what? This is what it is? And being in Utah, we’ve had friends that would go on missions and say, “Yeah, I know that singer. What? You wrote that song?” It was really funny. So it kind of happened that way, and that’s when the industry really took us seriously. We never got into this to be celebrities, famous, anything like that. We loved music, and because of the success we had when we were younger it kind of catapulted us into the business and it was nuts from then on out.

HNC: How does it make you feel to have other artists playing your songs?

N: It’s very surreal. It’s a weird experience to watch, but it’s very cool.

A: Now that we’re old enough to appreciate it, it’s kind of a surreal feeling knowing that there are millions of people who know certain songs that I have written. I remember when I went to Berklee College of Music I was in class and I played one of the songs that I had written and one of these girls was from Brazil and she said, “Oh my God, that helped me get through high school.” And I said, “What?” So that’s what we do it for. We do music because we have a message that we love to get out to people and that’s what we’re in it for and that’s what we’re able to do now with what we’re doing with this new management company and new labels that are interested, so it’s kind of been a journey.

HNC: So where do you want it to go from here?

N: Well, obviously we’d love to have this record that we’re doing now become successful. And spread the FALK name.

A: We’ve had success in Brazil, like we said, but we really want to take this on our own and have success ourselves here in the U.S. and obviously we want to go on tour and do all that, really expanding our name and continuing recording really great music doing what we love.

HNC: As far as touring goes, aren’t you both students? Which takes a priority?

A: We’ve been really lucky throughout our school lives. Our teachers kind of knew what we did. I graduated from high school early and I was able to online courses as I was attending high school, so when we went on tour, back then, I was able to move to L.A. for a couple of months.

N: It’s so weird to think you were like 13.

A: I was 14 when we first went on tour and I was able to take that time out and do online classes to finish. Here in college we actually work with the guitar program and they’re really great about letting us travel and still earn credit and make up credit and come back and be regular students, but its kind of living a double life.

N: It’s like we’re straddling a fence; one life is being normal. No one would have any idea as to what we do and then another life was in this crazy other world. So it’s kind of a balancing act. But it’s been how our lives have been.

HNC: So are both going into guitar?

N: We’re both trying to learn more about the guitar. I mean, we’re self-taught, but they have a really great program up here, so we’re in the process of learning more about the guitar to help accompany our voices. Obviously we sing, we write and all that so I wouldn’t say guitar is my main focus, but I definitely love to have that skill to play on stage.

A: And USU has actually a really great guitar program. I went to Berklee College of Music. It’s one of the top music schools ever, and the program here is so much more specific.

N: It focuses more on you.

A: It focuses on the individual person and expanding your talents and expanding your knowledge of what you’re trying to learn, versus the school that I went to.

N: There was this standard.

A: So it’s kind of funny. It actually works out to be here and do back and forth.

HNC: Is that why you chose Logan? Is that why you are at Utah State?

A: No. I was in Boston, she came here for a semester; we were taking a
little break, figuring out what we wanted to do, because we had done music our whole lives and we actually got a deal offered to us, so we were packed up and ready to go to New York. We were about to lease an apartment, we were signing a contract with an independent label and then our attorney said, “You can’t do it. Don’t sign it. He’s going to take all of your rights, we have majors interested. Hold off. Give me another 6 months to a year.” So it kind of worked out perfectly, because our family is here. We said, “You know what, let’s take this time and figure out who we want to be, what we want to do, what’s our direction.” And since then, it feels like it’s all kind of fallen into place.

N: It’s worked out nicely, because being up here, there’s a PR class that bases their class around our music and expanding our name, so now that we’re up here we in the guitar program, but they’re also booking us concerts and we’re getting our name out here and taking a break from….

A: Not taking a break, but more on the business side, letting the New York guys handle it. And then now that we’re finishing school, we’re going to be way more involved, going back and forth to New York.

HNC: Would you say that now you are just kind of involved in the creative process, where you just write the songs and you let someone else worry about the booking and everything else?

N: To an extent. We’re super hands on.

A: Sometimes it’s like that, but for the most part we’re very involved in almost everything we do. Everything that comes through, Natalee and I have to add the stamp of approval.

N: Even production. We love to be involved. We love to write the music, but we also have a vision for where we want it to go. So we’re always either e-mailing back and forth or through Skype or conference calls, constantly talking to the other side.

A: Or we’re in New York a lot. Once school’s done, we’re going to be, weeks at a time, back in New York finishing production of some new music and whatnot. It’s going to be good.

HNC: How involved are you in the local music scene?

N: Surprisingly, Logan doesn’t have a very big music scene, but for what they do have, we have done pretty much everything. I mean, we actually haven’t played at Why Sound, but we’ve done the small Poetry and a Beverage out here, we did any concert that comes like Secondhand Serenade, Kalai, Peter Breinholt; we opened for all of those guys. There’s a performing arts school that’s opening up now and I think we’re going to do a couple shows there. Anytime we hear about a show. Yeah, we’re pretty involved with the music scene.

A: We like to play and it’s been really nice, because when we were younger it was a lot more emphasis on the commercial aspect of “we can sell you because you are sisters. You’re cute. You’re a duo. We can do the Disney thing.” It was a lot more about the superficial what will sell, and now it’s a lot more about what we have to say and our message and playing to people who are our age that really get what we’re about.

HNC: Do you feel like your music has a message? Do you feel like you would like to say something particular?

A: With being a songwriter mainly, with every song that we write definitely has a message. Whether it’s about us, whether it’s about someone we know, whether it’s about a specific event. Pretty much our music helps us deal with life, and if it helps anyone else in the process, all the better. Truly, for me to say we do music to help everyone else, that would be a lie. We do music to help ourselves. If we didn’t have music, we wouldn’t be able to wake up in the morning. That’s what gets us through the day, and if other people identify with that and can grasp that, then that’s what helps them too, then it’s th s momentum that keeps everyone going and we love it. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s what keeps us going.

HNC: Yeah. Do you ever feel like it’s hard to come up with songs, or do you just say, “Today I heard a funny story and I’m going to write a song about what I think about that”?

N: I can attest for her, because honestly, anything you’re feeling or going through or whatever, she just snaps. It’s like a spark of inspiration and she says, “I’m ready to write.” It’s her way of dealing with things and I’m getting more into the songwriting, but she definitely is not, “OK, let’s sit down and write a song.” It comes to you. So when it comes, you write it.

A: It’s true. My first song I ever wrote was on the back of an envelope in my grandma’s car, and I ended up winning multiple awards at 8 years old. I never know when it hits, it kind of flows through me. When you go through a day, how many emotions do you feel? How many people do you see that spark a different memory? I remember this memory, or I’m excited or I’m sad or I’m angry or I’m upset.

N: And there’s so many ways to write about one emotion, and so it’s like the songs are endless.

A: From one boy you’re dating, there are thousands of songs about every little angle of it.

N: It’s kind of pathetic.

A: It is pathetic, but great music.

HNC: As your name gets a little bigger, do you feel like it’s a little weirder to date?

N: Dating has never been an issue for us either way. It’s harder when you’re traveling and everything, of course.

A: That would be the hard thing. We’re so sporadic.

N: No, I like to date.

HNC: Well, yeah.

N: I get what you mean.

A: It is weird. We don’t talk about it to people we first meet. People have no idea it we’ve done certain things or whatever, but if they ask us or, this is really random, but if you go on a date with someone, sometimes people Google their name. I don’t know if you do that, but I’ve had people Google my name and they say, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know you were signed with Warner Bros.”

N: They become a little more intimidated. I would say a lot of boys are intimidated by us.

A: And it’s hard because we do want to date and we’re not scary at all. The fact that we play guitar and we’ve done stuff and we’re tall… I don’t know. I don’t know. Some people say, “I’m staying away.”

HNC: So you think it’s actually harder for the guys who want to date you instead of yourselves?

N: Definitely.

A: For sure.

N: I mean on the other end, though, for us it’s, “OK, well why won’t you date us?”

A: For us, we sit and go, “What’s wrong with us?”

N: But then we find out they’re scared out of their minds.

A: We sit and do the whole, “Well, what did I… What’s wrong? What did we do?”

N: “Did I say something wrong?”

A: A few years later we’ll find out, “I wanted to ask you out so bad, but you were so tall and you guys are always playing.”

N: I mean, honestly, I hated my high school, and then the second I graduated, everyone said, “I was so scared to talk to you. I couldn’t. You’re such a super star.” I’m normal. You can talk to me.

A: Parts of it are rough, but I mean I guess it comes with what we like to do.

HNC: What would you say is the hardest part about writing music?

A: About writing music? I would say getting everyone to agree on what the single is, for sure. Well, not what the single is, but once you write the music, I would say the hardest part is production and how everyone agrees how it should sound. Does that make sense?

HNC: Like the mixing and the leveling kind of stuff?

A: The mixing, the leveling…

N: And also the different styles of music you like. So maybe the producer likes it more poppy and we say, “No we want a little more acoustic sound.” Or if she wants a little more rock, it’s like trying to mix all those elements to make it represent the song the best. That’s the hardest part, but it’s also the funnest part. I want to be a producer.

A: It’s true. She’s great. She is going to be a Grammy-winning producer. She’s got a kick-ass ear for sure. I write the music and she knows exactly what to do with it.

HNC: So is that eventually where you want to go? Eventually you want to go to more of the production side?

N: I definitely want to do production. I love turning a song from nothing and making it a big ordeal. Yeah. Definitely.

A: She’s really good at it, too. Even now on her little Mac.

N: Oh stop.

A: I’m being nice to you. Don’t you like it?

HNC: What kind of advice do you have for local musicians? Not everyone can have a mother who can recognize that you’re prodigies. Here, go be superstars.

A: Well, I would say do not get into this business if you are not a die-hard. You have to do it because it can be so brutal. It will take everything you believe in and will turn it out and change it completely and unless you know exactly who you are and what you want to say, it’s a tough business to be in. Music is all opinion based. Who’s to say what’s a great song versus what’s a bad song? So it can be very political, but I would say make sure you love it before you get into it.

N: I wouldn’t scare the living daylights of them by saying, “Never get into this business,” but I would say know who you are, know what music you love, and stick with it, because there are so many opinions in this music business that a lot of people will tell you, “Yeah, you have to be this and then you’ll make it. Or you have to be this and then you’ll make it.” We did that. We did the rat race and we followed everything. Finally we came back to what we love, and now it’s all working because it’s true to us. So do what’s true to yourself and then everything will as planned.

A: That’s very true.

N: If it’s not true to who you are, then I probably wouldn’t do it.

A: I’d sum it up by saying believe in yourself. If you’re going to do it, just believe in yourself.

HNC: Where can people go to get new information about shows and stuff?

N: Right now we’re in the middle of getting our website up, but the MySpace is up and running.

A: Actually, the fastest way to do it is if you go to I think it brings you right to the MySpace page. Everything we’re doing now is getting ready. We used to be in the band Faces Without Names, and so all of our online stuff is still kind of Faces Without Names.

N: We’re still transitioning. We have certain Falk sites up, but within this month, they’ll be finalized, ready to go.

HNC: And that’ll have concert updates?

A: And it’ll have links to our Faces Without Names site, where you can buy music and merch and whatnot. We still have that stuff available. Until we get this new CD pressed, that’s what we’re using.

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Paradise to speeders: Slow down or get a ticket

This article was originally posted April 22, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

PARADISE–Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Ramirez told the Town Council speeding and driving unlicensed vehicles is still a problem, adding he is going to “first educate, then start writing tickets.”

“I’m sitting at the church and they’re going 60,” he said of the 35 mph zone at the south end of town.

Mayor Leland Howlett said, “If you give a warning and then the next day the same kid is doing the same thing, it’s time to start working down the list of citations.”

Both Howlett and Ramirez said they would understand after the first offense, remembering how they acted when they were growing up. Howlett said he remembered having a talk with his children, warning them riding through the streets on an unlicensed vehicle or other violations could mean they do not receive their driver’s license until they are 18 years old, while their friends received theirs at 16.

“It usually catches their attention and scares them straight,” Howlett said.

Paradise also auctioned off its Jeep, which went to Todd Mayor for $653.32.

“Tell him he might have to jump it,” Howlett said to Kyle Smith, who was contacting the mayor for unrelated reasons. “I haven’t started it for two months.”

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Fishing without license brings string of trouble to Logan man

This article was originally posted April 22, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

LOGAN – Juan Montano-Vargas, 27, of Logan appeared before Judge Clint Judkins Monday on charges of giving false personal information to a peace officer and fishing without a license.

An officer from the Division of Wildlife Resources arrested Montano April 10 at the Benson Marina west of Logan. Police booked Montano into the Cache County Jail, where he is still in custody.

The prosecuting attorney for the state brought information to the court, demonstrating a multi-state criminal history for Montano with convictions and deportations. But when asked by Judkins, the prosecuting attorney could not attest the record was for Montano.

Judkins said it would “greatly affect the outcome” of his decision on the case. He said nine days would be sufficient if it were Montano’s first offence and he would likely be deported anyway.

Judkins gave the attorney one week to be able to certify the record as Montano’s, or the case would be dismissed and Montano set free. Until then, Montano will stay in the custody of Cache County.



Paradise council will vote on flood insurance program

This article was originally posted April 10, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

PARADISE –The Town Council is considering adopting the new National Flood Insurance program despite their hesitancy to trust information put out by FEMA.

Zac Covington, from the Bear River Association of Governments, presented the council with maps put together by FEMA showing areas which would be eligible to receive funds from the federal government to rebuild after a natural disaster. He said Paradise’s highest risks are earthquakes and landslides, flooding, and agricultural hazards such as drought or insect infestation.

“We’re sitting better than I thought we were,” Mayor Leland Howlett said after looking at the map predicting damage done during an earthquake.

When the council turned to maps showing the predicted damage done by flooding, they felt FEMA was too conservative in their estimates.

“They’re showing that the canal would contain everything, which isn’t really credible,” Howlett said. “If we grew to the east, there’d be more risk.”

Covington showed the council Porcupine Dam is labeled as a “high risk” dam.

“That doesn’t mean it’s more likely to break, but if it does, there’ll be high amounts of damage,” Councilman Kyle Smith said, clarifying the term.

As part of the program, Covington explained it would allow for residents of Paradise to buy flood insurance.

“There is no cost to join, but it would cost for people to buy flood insurance,” Covington said.

“If we don’t participate, then we can’t buy it,” Councilman Don Snyder said, concerned.

Mayor Howlett encouraged council members to do more research into the necessity of the program before it gets put back on the agenda slated for April 14.

“Tremonton is a pretty big town on flat ground with rivers running through it. If they’re not part of the NFIP, we should look and try to figure out if we need that,” Howlett said.

“We wouldn’t be putting our citizens at risk, would we?” Smith asked.

FEMA updates the program every five years. Paradise adopted the 2004 version when it came out.

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Paradise plans farmers’ market, approves scout project

This article was originally posted March 26, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

PARADISE–Ty Mortensen, 17, received approval from the Town Council Wednesday night for the Eagle Scout project he has planned. Mortensen noticed the roofs of the three pavilions behind the Cracker Barrel have holes in them. His plan is to replace the current roofs with metal roofs and thinks he can most of the materials donated.

“I’d Like to get started in a couple of weeks and I’d like to get it done before summer,” he said. “I haven’t figured out a date yet, but I figured I should get it approved first.”

He received approval and advice from the entire council.

“I figured it’s a good way to help the town,” Mortensen said. “It’d be fun to do.”

The council also heard from the Paradise Market Association, which is finalizing plans to hold a weekly famers’ market from June to September.

“A lot of growers have already talked to me,” Suzanne Marychild, a director of the Market Association, said about the farmers’ market. “ I think it’ll be a great thing for Paradise to keep going.”

“I think at this point, we just let them write up their by-laws and what-not and we’ll approve it,” Mayor Leland Howlett said, adding the Market Association would function under the direction of the Paradise Town Council.

Speaking of the weekly markets, Howlett said, “As long as they can administrate it and clean up after themselves, I don’t see a problem with it.”

The council also expressed concerns about parking, suggesting the market be placed inside the sidewalk, allowing for cars to pull further off the street. They clarified that vendors would have to supply their own insurance and get individual approval from the USDA.

“I don’t see a downside,” Councilman Kyle Smith said. “I think it’s great.”

More information concerning the market will be forthcoming at the council meeting April 7.

Also, the council will be arranging a council of town residents to discuss improving the town’s dog ordinances.

“The biggest problem is that there’s no teeth in our ordinance,” Bev Shiefer, town clerk, said.

“Right now, my understanding is we don’t have dollar amounts for non-compliance for fees and such,” Mayor Leland Howlett said, adding he would like to have every member of the council read through the existing dog ordinances and then put together a council with citizens who own dogs and non-dog owners.

“I think we ought to get our fines consistent with our ordinances,” he said. “I think it’s something we ought to be able to work with.”

“I think once a couple of tickets are written, it’ll clean up pretty good,” Jon Hester, a county animal control officer, said.

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Paradise reviews plans for power, drinking water in emergencies

This article was originally posted March 4, 2010 by the Hard News Café.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

PARADISE–Town Council members decided Wednesday to set up a Sunday evening meeting to review the emergency operations plan with the fire department and members of the community.

“I went to a FEMA meeting and I was kinda disappointed,” Jay Rinderknecht said, expressing his desire to see something more pertinent to Paradise. Council members all expressed interest in securing water and power to citizens in the event of an emergency, like an earthquake and other subsequent problems.

“Watching the news these past couple months, you just sit there and think, ‘Well, when’s our turn?’” Mayor Leland Howlett said, referring to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

Troy Fredrickson, chief of the volunteer fire department, told the council the fire trucks all hold potable water, in case emergency situations endanger the town’s drinkable water supply. He said in such an emergency, first priority is the lives of citizens. Structure fires which do not threaten lives may be allowed to burn until a source of drinkable water is secured.

Fredrickson assured the council water from reservoirs can be pumped out either by pumps run by generators or by the fire engines themselves.

Although the basics were covered, the council knows it has other areas where it needs to review and potentially update existing emergency systems, like in the event of flooding.

Speaking of the irrigation canals, Fredrickson said, “Those canals are built big at the top and narrow out. They’re irrigation canals. Not flood control.”

The council decided to make plans to review and consider revising the emergency operations plan, then sharing it with Paradise residents.

“I want to make sure our citizens are protected,” Councilman Kyle Smith said.

In other business, the council announced they will continue to meet on the first and third Wednesday of the month, but will be changing their starting time to 7:30 p.m.

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