Arts & Entertainment

Photo courtesy of PJCC

TIME TO PARTY!

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for its new chamber partner, Hook & Ladder Party Company, on June 27. 

Owners Robert and Rose Rodriguez (center) cut the ribbon with Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant and Port Jefferson Chamber President Joy Pipe surrounded by family, friends and chamber members.Their full-scale fire engine truck was parked outside the chamber’s office for full display and a state of the art Firefighter Simulator was set up and visitors could help to extinguish a simulated fire. Hospitality was provided in the chamber’s office.

Hook & Ladder Party Company specializes in educational programs for schools, camps, libraries, children’s birthday parties and special events on Long Island. Children learn about fire safety, dress in firefighter gear, compete in a firefighter obstacle course challenge, use a fire extinguisher to put out a simulated fire and take part in a bucket brigade relay race. All activities can be adapted for indoor or outdoor programs. 

For  more information, call 631-236-8443 or visit www.hookandladderparty.com.

 

Stock photo

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

Dr. Matthew Kearns

This second of a two-part series continues to discuss if vaccines are necessary for your pet and, if so, how often. The first article, from June 18, gave a brief overview of the immune system and how vaccines work. In this article I hope to more specifically address which vaccines are necessary and why. 

There are certain core vaccines that are recommended or required. Core vaccines protect against diseases that are so prevalent in the environment that your pet is at risk for exposure even if they do not go outside or are legally required by the county and state. Noncore, or “at risk,” vaccines vary from pet to pet depending on where they go and interactions with other pets or wildlife. 

We also take into account multipet households where some pets venture outside and are in contact with indoor-only pets. Certain vaccines are required on a regular basis by boarding facilities, groomers, doggy day care and group obedience classes. Be sure to let your veterinarian know if your pet participates in any of these activities. 

Can too many vaccines hurt your pet? The answer to that question is, “Not if not given all at once.” Two large studies (one involved over a million dogs and the other involved almost 500,000 cats) focused on what are termed vaccine-associated adverse events (VAAE). VAAE refers to serious, even life-threatening vaccine reactions. 

VAAEs are rare (less than 1 percent) and neither the number of vaccines a pet receives throughout its life nor any particular type of vaccine increases that risk. What the study did find was the risk of a VAAE increased significantly in patients under 22 pounds when they were given multiple vaccines at the same visit. The take home of these studies was we can vaccinate our pets for whatever they are at risk for as long as we don’t treat a Chihuahua like a Great Dane. Stagger the vaccines by a week to a few weeks in smaller patients. 

Is your pet ever too old for vaccines? Age never plays a role in vaccinating but underlying disease does. If your pet has developed any organ dysfunction, glandular diseases or cancer, talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations. Vaccinating pets with underlying disease is contraindicated (a no-no). Not only won’t these pets use the vaccines to their advantage, but this is also an added stress they do not need. However, if you have a healthy, older pet, they should receive any vaccines against any infections they are still at risk for exposure to regardless of age.  

Are there alternatives to vaccinating annually? There are certain vaccines that need to be given annually to be effective. For other vaccines, yes, there are alternatives. One alternative is to ask your veterinarian to run antibody titers instead. As discussed in the first article there are blood tests to measure the effectiveness of one component of the immune system, the humoral component. 

The other alternative is to use vaccines that are approved for longer than one year. Just remember that Suffolk County does not recognize the difference between a one-year versus a multiyear approved vaccine when it comes to boarding.

I hope this opens the door to a healthy discussion with your veterinarian at your next visit.  

One last thing: Even if you do not vaccinate your pet every year, I still recommend an annual checkup or exam. It is true that one human year equals about seven dog years and about five and a half to six cat years.  

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine. Have a question for the vet? Email it to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com to see his answer in an upcoming column.

Belly fat can play a critical role in increased risk of pancreatitis. Stock photo
Central obesity is more important than body mass index

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

Pancreatitis is among the top gastrointestinal reasons for patients to be admitted to a hospital, and its incidence has been growing steadily (1). Typically it’s severe abdominal pain that drives patients to the emergency room, but diagnosis is more complex.

First, let’s define pancreatitis. A rudimentary definition is an inflammation of the pancreas. There are both acute and chronic forms. We are going to address the acute — abrupt and of short duration — form. There are three acute types: mild, moderate and severe. Those with the mild type don’t have organ failure, whereas those with moderate acute pancreatitis experience short-term or transient (less than 48 hours) organ failure. Those with the severe type have persistent organ failure. One in five patients presents with moderate or severe levels (2).

What are the symptoms?

To diagnosis this disease, the American College of Gastroenterology guidelines suggest that two of three symptoms be present. The three symptoms include severe abdominal pain; enzymes (amylase or lipase) that are at least three times greater than normal; and radiologic imaging that shows characteristic disease findings (3). Most of the time, the abdominal pain is in the central upper abdomen near the stomach, and it may also present with pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen (4). Approximately 90 percent of patients also experience nausea and vomiting (5). In half of patients, there is also pain that radiates to the back.

What are the risk factors?

Acute pancreatitis risk factors include gallstones, alcohol, obesity and, to a much lesser degree, drugs. Gallstones and alcohol may cause up to 75 percent of the cases (2). Many other cases of acute pancreatitis are considered idiopathic (of unknown cause). Although medications are potentially responsible for between 1.4 and 5.3 percent of cases, making it rare, the number of medications implicated is diverse (6, 7). These include certain classes of diabetes therapies, some antibiotics — metronidazole (Flagyl) and tetracycline — and immunosuppressive drugs used to treat ailments like autoimmune diseases. Even calcium may potentially increase risk.

Obesity effects

In a study using the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men, results showed that central obesity is an important risk factor, not body mass index or obesity overall (8). In other words, it is the fat in the belly that is very important, since this may increase risk more than twofold for the occurrence of a first-time acute pancreatitis episode. Those who had a waist circumference of greater than 105 cm (41 inches) experienced this significantly increased risk compared to those who had a waist circumference of 75 to 85 cm (29.5 to 33.5 inches). The association between central obesity and acute pancreatitis occurred in both gallbladder-induced and non-gallbladder-induced disease. There were 68,158 patients involved in the study, which had a median duration of 12 years. Remember that waistline is measured from the navel, not from the hips.

Mortality risks

What makes acute pancreatitis so potentially dangerous is the surprisingly high rate of organ failure and mortality. A prospective (forward-looking) observational trial involving 1,005 patients found that the risk of mortality was 5 percent overall. This statistic broke out into a smaller percentage for mild acute pancreatitis and a greater percentage for severe acute pancreatitis, 1.5 and 17 percent, respectively (9). However, in another study, when patients were hospitalized, the mortality rate was higher, at 10 percent overall (10).

Diabetes risks

The pancreas is a critical organ for balancing glucose (sugar) in the body. In a meta-analysis (24 observational trials), results showed that more than one-third of patients diagnosed with acute pancreatitis went on to develop prediabetes or diabetes (11). Within the first year, 15 percent of patients were newly diagnosed with diabetes. After five years, the risk of diabetes increased 2.7-fold. By reducing the risk of pancreatitis, we may also help reduce the risk of diabetes.

Surgical treatments

Gallstones and gallbladder sludge are major risk factors, accounting for 35 to 40 percent of acute pancreatitis incidences (12). Gallstones are thought to cause pancreatitis by temporarily blocking the duct shared by the pancreas and gallbladder that leads into the small intestine. When the liver enzyme ALT is elevated threefold (measured through a simple blood test), it has a positive predictive value of 95 percent that it is indeed gallstone-induced pancreatitis (13). 

If it is gallstone-induced, surgery plays an important role in helping to resolve pancreatitis and prevent recurrence. In a retrospective study with 102 patients, results showed that surgery to remove the gallbladder was better than medical treatment when comparing hospitalized patients with this disease (14). Surgery trumped medical treatment in terms of outcomes, complication rates, length of stay in the hospital and overall cost for patients with mild acute pancreatitis.

Can diet have an impact?

The short answer is: Yes. What foods specifically? In a large, prospective observational study, results showed that there was a direct linear relationship between those who consumed vegetables and a decreased risk of non-gallstone acute pancreatitis (15). For every two servings of vegetables, there was 17 percent drop in the risk of pancreatitis. Those who consumed the most vegetables — the highest quintile (4.6 servings per day) — had a 44 percent reduction in disease risk, compared to those who were in the lowest quintile (0.8 servings per day). There were 80,000 participants involved in the study with an 11-year follow-up. The authors surmise that the reason for this effect with vegetables may have to do with their antioxidant properties, since acute pancreatitis increases oxidative stress on the pancreas.

References:

(1) Gastroenterology. 2012;143:1179-1187. (2) www.uptodate.com. (3) Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108:1400-1415. (4) JAMA. 2004;291:2865-2868. (5) Am J Gastroenterol. 2006;101:2379-2400. (6) Gut. 1995;37:565-567. (7) Dig Dis Sci. 2010;55:2977-2981. (8) Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108:133-139. (9) Dig Liver Dis. 2004;36:205-211. (10) Dig Dis Sci. 1985;30:573-574. (11) Gut. 2014;63:818-831. (12) Gastroenterology. 2007;132:2022-2044. (13) Am J Gastroenterol. 1994;89:1863-1866. (14) Am J Surg online. 2014 Sept. 20. (15) Gut. 2013;62:1187-1192.

Dr. Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit www.medicalcompassmd.com or consult your personal physician.  

Image from PJDS

The Port Jefferson Documentary Series will host a special summer screening of “Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation” at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson on Monday, July 29 at 7 p.m. 

With never-before-seen footage, the documentary tells the story of the political and social upheaval leading up to those three historic days, as well as the extraordinary events of the concert itself, when near disaster put the ideals of the counterculture to the test. 

The screening will be followed by an interview with co-screenwriter/editor Don Kleszy. $8 advance sale tickets are now available at www.portjeffdocumentaryseries. Tickets will also be sold at the door (cash only). For further info, call 631-473-5220.

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Linda Toga, Esq.

THE FACTS: I am a widow with modest assets and a small IRA. I have two grown children and two young grandchildren. My friends have been urging me to see an attorney about developing an estate plan.

THE QUESTION: Considering the size of my estate, is that really necessary? 

THE ANSWER: The short answer to your question is a resounding “Yes.” Estate planning is not just for the wealthy and is not limited to the preparation of a will. Estate planning touches on everything from wills, trusts and powers of attorney to health care proxies, living wills and spousal waivers. Even if you just want a will, there are countless issues that you should discuss with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes and takes into account your specific circumstances. 

The reason professional help is advisable is that, for the most part, people don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, a person can fill out a form will and sign it but, if she doesn’t know what questions to ask or what issues should be considered, she likely won’t know the adverse consequences of her uninformed choices. The end result is an estate plan that does not reflect the goals and wishes of the person, or worse, one that leads to protracted litigation. 

To avoid that, you should discuss with an attorney how your assets are titled and whether all of your assets will pass under your will. Assets that are jointly owned with someone else or that are subject to a beneficiary designation are nonprobate assets and will not pass under your will. How such assets are going to be distributed should be taken into consideration when developing an estate plan.  

You should also discuss with your attorney whether or not your probate assets will be passed in equal shares to your children. One question that needs to be addressed is whether you want your executor to take into consideration nonprobate assets that may pass to your children or loans that you may have given your children when determining the amount of their share. Another is how you want your estate to be divided in the event one of your children predeceases you. 

If you want the share allocated to a predeceased child to pass to his/her children, you should discuss with your attorney the option of including a trust in the will to protect the assets passing to the minor grandchildren.

Although both of your children would have equal rights to be named administrator of your estate if you were to die without a will, you should discuss with your attorney what is involved in the probate of your will and the administration of your estate. If your children do not both live locally, it may be burdensome to have them serve as co-executors. Or perhaps they don’t get along and naming a third party to handle your estate would be advantageous. Discussing these issues is an important part of developing even the most basic estate plan. 

As mentioned above, as part of your estate planning you should also discuss with an attorney the benefits of having a power of attorney, health care proxy and living will in place. Each of these documents plays an important role in an estate plan by either ensuring that your affairs are taken care of in the event you lack capacity or by making your wishes known with respect to medical treatment and end-of-life care.

Your attorney can advise you as to the duties and responsibilities of the agents named in a power of attorney and health care proxy. This will allow you to consider possible agents in light of the roles they would assume if named. Discussing this with your estate planning attorney will enable you to make informed choices. If you don’t engage in the process, you are essentially forfeiting the right to choose who will assist with the management of your assets while you are alive and who may be called upon to make life and death medical decisions on your behalf. When asked, most people admit that they want to be the one to choose. 

Linda M. Toga provides personalized service and peace of mind to her clients in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, real estate, marital agreements and litigation from her East Setauket office. Visit her website at www.lmtogalaw.com or call 631-444-5605 to schedule a free consultation.

The German film ‘Sweethearts’ starring Karoline Herfurth and Hannah Herzsprung makes its U.S. premiere at the festival on July 20. Photo from Staller Center

The Staller Center turns into a movie lover’s mecca when new independent films from nearly 20 countries screen at the Stony Brook Film Festival on evenings and weekends from Thursday, July 18 to Saturday, July 27. The popular festival, now in its 24th year, brings a highly selective roster of diverse films, making it a favorite of moviegoers and filmmakers alike.

Produced by the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, the festival pairs memorable short films with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else. This year’s event, presented by Island Federal, brings in filmmakers, cast and crew who field questions after the screenings, adding a unique dimension to the experience.

The idea of family forms the foundation for many of the features and shorts at the festival this year. Whether they are by birth or by choice, flexible or dysfunctional, generational or newly formed, you will see families of all stripes in films that take place in nearly 20 countries, from Australia to Austria, India to Israel and Spain to South Africa.

The families in this year’s films are found in Cold War era East Germany and the political upheaval of 1980s Jerusalem. They brave the isolation of North Dakotan farmlands, experience drug-fueled head trips in the California desert and solve idiosyncratic murders on a small Turkish island. They live in Paris’ Chinatown as well as remote Himalayan villages; they travel the dusty roads of Senegal and the long highway from the south of England to the Isle of Skye; and they revel in the lush rain forest of Queensland and the wilds of Appalachia.

PREMIERES

There are many world, U.S., East Coast and New York premieres in this year’s festival including the opening film, Balloon, a German film based on the true story of two families who escaped East Germany on their homemade hot air balloon, which is making its New York premiere on July 18.

The festival closes with another New York premiere of the French film Lola & Her Brothers, a charming comedy about three adult siblings who are still trying to look after one other after losing their parents.

Several American indie films will have their world premiere at the festival, and many foreign films, including Yao, Sweethearts, Miamor perdido, Lady Winsley and Made in China will have their U.S. premieres. 

American features include Them That Follow, a tense drama featuring Academy Award winner Olivia Colman; the raucous comedy Babysplitters, featuring Long Island native Eddie Alfano; and Guest Artist, a stunning and humorous film written by and starring Jeff Daniels and directed by Timothy Busfield. 

“The quality and diversity in our dramas, comedies, and documentaries are extremely high and I expect our audience to be thoroughly entertained this summer,” said Alan Inkles, Stony Brook Film Festival founder and director. 

For a complete film schedule and descriptions of all of the films, visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

TICKET INFORMATION

All screenings are held at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook in the 1,000-seat Main Stage theater. Film passes are on sale for $90, which includes admission to all 20 features and 16 shorts over 10 days. 

Passholder perks include VIP gifts, discounts to over a dozen area restaurants throughout the summer, guaranteed admission 15 minutes before each film, and the opportunity to purchase tickets for the Closing Night Awards reception. 

For $250 you can purchase a Gold Pass and receive all the Regular Pass perks plus reserved seating with filmmakers and guests, as well as entry to the exclusive Opening Night party and the Closing Night Awards reception. 

Single tickets for individual films are also available for $12 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students. For more information or to order, call the Staller Center Box Office at 631-632-2787.

Chicken Liver Crostini. Stock photo

By Barbara Beltrami

A recent trip to my beloved Tuscan countryside compels me to share with you some thoughts about its rustic fare that emanates mostly from peasant farm people who for hundreds of years have eked every last bit from those rolling patch-worked hills and the olives trees, grapevines, vegetables and animals they raised on them. Hence, that area is well known and loved for its simple fare of olive oil, wine, tomatoes, beans and cured meats. Not so much actual recipes as frugal combinations of basic staples, Tuscan food is as earthy as its cypress-dotted green and ocher landscape crowned by ancient hilltop towns and tile-roofed stone farmhouses.

Chicken Liver Crostini

YIELD: Makes 12 to 16 servings

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup chopped fresh mushrooms

½ cup chopped onion

1 pound chicken livers

¼ cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon chopped anchovies

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 to 16 slices toasted rustic Italian bread

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onions and chicken livers and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are transparent and livers are brown outside and pale pink inside, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine, capers, anchovies, parsley and bay leaf. Continue to cook until liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove and discard bay leaf; add salt and pepper. With a fork or back or a cooking spoon, mash livers or, if desired, place in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times. Drizzle bread with extra virgin olive oil and spread chicken liver mixture on top. Serve warm or at room temperature with a chilled young wine.

 Bread and Tomato Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

5 pounds ripe tomatoes, diced with their juice

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

¼–½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Coarse salt to taste

½ pound stale rustic bread cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley 

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until opaque, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, garlic, crushed red pepper and salt. Cook, partially covered, over medium heat until mixture is somewhat thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in bread, basil and parsley; let sit until bread is softened, then mash it into mixture. Stir in extra virgin olive oil and serve hot, warm or at room temperature with a crisp dry white wine.

Tuscan Bean Salad 

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Two 14-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 celery rib, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced

2/3 cup finely chopped red onion

½ cup chopped oil-cured black olives

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Place beans, celery, onion, olives, parsley and rosemary in a large bowl; toss to combine. In a small bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add to bean mixture; toss to thoroughly coat. Let sit one hour, toss again and serve at room temperature with arugula and cherry tomato salad, crusty bread and slices of prosciutto and salami.

THE CLOUDS AMONG US

Dawn Olenick of Baiting Hollow captured this photo at Reeves Beach in Riverhead with her Olympus camera in June. She writes, ‘I am always in awe of Mother Nature and her colors … that and being by the beach makes for happy endings to my days!’

By Rita J. Egan

Theatergoers will be delighted to come and meet those dancing feet at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts. The musical “42nd Street” debuted at the theater July 6.

Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and 1933 film of the same name, the musical premiered on Broadway in 1980. During its nine-year run, it won several Tony Awards, including Best Musical. In 2001 the production was revived on Broadway and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival and others. Filled with memorable musical numbers, “42nd Street” features the book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer and music by Harry Warren.

As for the Smithtown production, it’s expertly directed and choreographed by Ryan Nolin. Tap dancing is one of the focal points of this musical, and each of the actors should be applauded for their skillful and delightful tap dancing throughout the show.

Set during the height of the Great Depression, the story centers around the fictional musical “Pretty Lady“ directed by Julian Marsh, and young Peggy Sawyer’s journey from a young starry-eyed girl from Allentown to the star of the show after the musical’s lead actress, Dorothy Brock, is injured.

Courtney Braun as Peggy is endearing as the naive starlet and sounds terrific during “Young and Healthy,” “About a Quarter to Nine” and “42nd Street.” Jon Rivera plays Marsh, the no-nonsense director, with the right amount of authoritative tone. It is during the second act that he really gets to show off his musical chops with a wonderful version of “Lullaby of Broadway,” and displays his comedic side when he shows Peggy how to greet a love interest convincingly for a scene she is rehearsing.

Tamralynn Dorsa is stunning as temperamental diva Dorothy and shines vocally, especially singing “I Know Now” and “About a Quarter to Nine.” Ryan Cavanagh is charming as Billy Lawlor, the young actor who has his eyes on Peggy, and gives a powerful performance during “Young and Healthy” and “Dames.” 

Scott Earle and Ann Marie Finnie provide the right amount of comedic relief as the show’s songwriters Bert Barry and Maggie Jones, and Finnie’s vocals take front and center during her parts in “Go Into Your Dance,” “Getting Out of Town” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.” Alex Pinals plays Andy Lee, the choreographer of “Pretty Lady,” and is perfect for the role with smooth dance moves of his own, and Veronica Fox as Anytime Annie provides a nice amount of sass.

Rounding out the cast perfectly are Erich Grathwohl as Abner Dillon, Brendan Noble playing Pat Denning, Karina Gallagher as Lorraine Flemming, Nicolette Minella in the role of Phyllis Dale and Michael Sherwood easily taking on multiple roles. The colorful, 1930s-inspired outfits, designed by Ronald Green III, and the band led by musical director Melissa Coyle tie it all together nicely.

From the lead actors to the ensemble, everyone is spectacular in the numbers the musical has become known for through the decades. Right from the start, the cast impresses with their dancing feet in the opening number “Audition.” Vocally “We’re in the Money,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and “42nd Street” are the stand out numbers they were meant to be thanks to the talented cast. 

Just like the 1933 movie, this production of “42nd Street” is a feel-good piece that has arrived just in time for a fun summer treat.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 East Main St., Smithtown, will present “42nd Street” through Aug. 18. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Running time is approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets range from $22 to $38. For more information, visit www.smithtownpac.org or call 631-724-3700. 

Photos by Lisa Schindlar

Pond

MEET POND!

This adorable 4-month-old orange and white kitten named Pond is just one of many beautiful kittens now available for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter, some as young as 8 weeks old. All are spayed or neutered, up to date with vaccines, have tested negative for feline AIDS and leukemia and are microchipped with an adoption fee of $100. Come by and meet them!

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Pond and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Update: Pond has been adopted!

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