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Liquor

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police arrested one person during multiple New York State Liquor Authority inspections at various Town of Brookhaven businesses.

Officers from the 6th Precinct Crime Section and 6th Precinct Community Support Unit conducted underage alcohol checks March 9 at 24 businesses throughout the precinct.

Buenaventura Benitez, 43, of Smithtown, employed by NY Food & Drink Inc., located at 2505 Middle Country Road in Centereach, was arrested for unlawfully dealing with a child in the 1st degree under the state penal law, and prohibited sale to a person under 21, which falls under the NYS ABC law.

Benitez was issued a field appearance ticket and a summons and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District court in Central Islip at a later date.

Twenty-three additional businesses in Centereach, Coram, East Setauket, Port Jefferson Station, Stony Brook, Miller Place, and Mount Sinai were inspected and refused to sell alcohol to a minor.

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Rye whiskey has flavors of caramel, ginger, spices, pepper and slight bitterness (rye bread) with hints of cinnamon, cloves, damp earth, grass, herbs, and nutmeg. Stock photo

“Tell me what brand of whiskey that [Gen. Ulysses S.] Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
— President Abraham Lincoln

By Bob Lipinski

Rye, an American whiskey, was the favorite of President George Washington. In 1797, Washington constructed a large whiskey distillery adjacent to his gristmill on the banks of Dogue Creek in Fairfax County, Virginia. The enterprise became the most successful whiskey distillery in early America, producing 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey in 1799, worth the then-substantial sum of $7,500. James Anderson, a Scotsman, supervised the distillery.

Rye whiskey was first distilled in 1750 in Pennsylvania by local farmers who blended it with corn. Rye’s domination was short-lived because in 1783 bourbon whiskey was made and became the whiskey of choice of middle America.

Additionally, rye, along with bourbon whiskey, was affected by Prohibition. This was followed by soldiers returning from World War II who had developed a taste for Irish and Scotch whiskies. Production of rye whisky had almost vanished altogether from its Mid-Atlantic homeland by the 1980s. A handful of modern rye whiskies are currently being made by bourbon distilleries, mostly in Kentucky.

Rye whiskey is made from a fermented mash of grain containing at least 51 percent rye; the remainder of the grain mixture generally consists of barley, corn, oats and wheat. Although technically rye whiskey can contain 100 percent rye, few distillers exceed 90 percent.

It can be distilled at no higher than 160 proof. It must be stored at no less than 80 proof and not more than 125 proof in new, charred oak barrels ranging in capacity from 50 to 66 gallons.

“Straight rye whiskey” must be aged a minimum of two years. If it is released prior to the fourth year of aging, it must be stated on the label. In addition, no alcohol, caramel coloring or flavoring can be added.

It is produced in many states in the United States (most notably Kentucky), in addition to Canada, Germany, Russia, other Slavic countries and the Netherlands.

During the 1950s and 1960s when ordering a highball or Presbyterian cocktail at a bar, people incorrectly referred to Seagram’s 7-Crown, Canadian Club Whisky and Seagram’s V.O. as “rye whiskey.” Rye is an ingredient in Canadian whisky and American-made blended whiskey, but during that era, it never reached a minimum of 51 percent to be labeled “rye whiskey.”

Some brands of “American” rye whiskey are Bulleit, Classic Cask, George Dickel, George Washington’s, Hirsch, Hudson Manhattan Rye, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Michter’s, Old Overholt, Old Potrero, Redemption, Rittenhouse, Russell’s Reserve, Sazerac, Templeton, Van Winkle Family Reserve, Wild Turkey and Willett.

Rye whiskey has flavors of caramel, ginger, spices, pepper and slight bitterness (rye bread) with hints of cinnamon, cloves, damp earth, grass, herbs and nutmeg.

Some recommended cocktails using rye whiskey are Manhattan, whiskey & club soda, highball, Presbyterian, sours, old-fashioned, and the Sazerac Cocktail.

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

Rich and Carolyn Mora are keeping their Setauket-based wine shop thriving. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits just gets better with age.

The small Setauket business owned by Rich Mora and his wife Carolyn, has served liquors to local communities for more than two-and-a-half decades. The business’s online presence also allows it to serve communities at the national level.

Rich Mora purchased the property from previous owner Robert Eikov in 1989 hoping to pursue his love of wine. Eikov and his wife Blanche ran a butcher shop out of the store for several years before they turned it into a liquor store around 1965.

Eikov used to butcher and sell meat in the main part of the building where Rich Mora sells his wine.

Eikov and his wife built the store after they got married and lived in an apartment behind the store.

“I always had a good palate. I’m good at judging wine and picking good wine [so] I wanted to be in the business,” Rich Mora said. “I decided I wanted to work for myself.”

Rich Mora was a science teacher in the area before he bought the business. He said the wine business was blossoming around the time he acquired the business.

Carolyn Mora became involved with the business after the duo met in 1999. She said she loves being involved in the business not only because she loves wine and spirits but also because she like providing her clients with good quality liquors.

While the Moras have a variety of wines from all around the world, the pair can’t purchase a large quantity of liquors like bigger stores.

“We try to be very … selective of what we purchase for the store so that people know when they come in here, they’re going to get something different,” Carolyn Mora said.

For Port Jefferson resident Damen Reschke, the variety of wines and spirits is one of the store’s best attributes, saying that the Moras’ selection beats those found in bigger liquor stores on the island.

Every Saturday between 3 and 6 p.m., residents can sample various wines at the liquor store’s weekly wine tastings. The tastings are one of Rich Mora’s several programs or events residents can attend.

Setauket residents Louis and Loretta Gray have gone to Mora’s wine tastings for the past 10 years. They said they enjoy learning where and how various wines were created and other facts they pick up at the tastings.

“It’s very personable,” Loretta Gray said. “You get to know all the individuals who represent the companies, and we like to support our local businesses.”

Elaine Learnard and her wife Ann-Marie Scheidt have purchased Mora’s wine for several years. According to Learnard, the pair typically buys wine at the tasting “because we’re being exposed to something we both don’t know about.” She added that when it comes to wine recommendations, Mora never fails to suggest something good.

In 2009, Rich Mora went the extra mile when he helped Learnard and her wife when they got married. He arranged the wines and helped store the wines to keep them cold for the summer wedding.

“The leader sets the tone. He’s a very, very nice person; therefore all the people who work for him are very nice,” Learnard said.

Despite the store’s small size, residents can choose from the more than 900 facings of liquor on display. Residents can pick up three bottles of wine for $10.99 or empty their wallets for the Moras’ most expensive bottle of liquor, priced at $14,000.

While a bigger establishment would give the Moras more room to expand their business, they are content with their small business.

“I wouldn’t mind if we stay small physically and grew big on the Internet,” Carolyn Mora said. “ I would love to see the store be known as the best little wine store in the world.”

Expensive tastes
On Sept. 11, Suffolk County police arrested a 25-year-old woman from Bellport and charged her with petit larceny. Cops said on May 19 she stole six Prada and seven Versace sunglasses from Macy’s in Smith Haven Mall in Smithtown. On April 10 they said she stole various items from Victoria’s Secret in the mall. She was arrested at the 3rd Precinct at 3 p.m.

Charging through
Cops arrested a 34-year-old man from Commack on Sept. 9 for intentionally driving a 2013 Toyota Corolla into a framed metal outdoor canopy at 60 Veterans Highway in Commack on Aug. 26 at 4:45 a.m. He was arrested at the 4th precinct at 9:10 a.m. and charged with third-degree criminal mischief for property damage valuing less than $250.

Sunglasses saboteur sacked
Police arrested a 30-year-old woman from East Patchogue on Sept. 9 at the 4th Precinct at around 8 p.m. and charged her with third-degree grand larceny for previous incidents. On June 11 at 5:45 p.m. cops said she stole six pairs of Prada, three pairs of Bulgari and one pair of Tiffany sunglasses from Macy’s in Smith Haven Mall. On May 19 at 8:11 p.m., she stole six Prada and seven Versace pairs of sunglasses at Macy’s.

Unlicensed driving
A 55-year-old man from East Farmingdale was arrested on Sept. 9 and charged with grand larceny in the third degree. Cops said he was driving a Ford F-150 on Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset at 6:30 p.m. with a revoked or suspended license. He also stole a 2003 Keystone trailer at 6:30 p.m. on July 26.

I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby
On Sept. 12 a pair of Commack teens were arrested and charged with petit larceny. Cops said a 17-year-old man and a 16-year-old woman were arrested at 4:05 p.m. for stealing assorted merchandise from a Walmart in Commack.

Card thief caught
Cops arrested a 50-year-old Central Islip woman on Sept. 13 and charged her with petit larceny for using someone else’s debit card to withdraw money on multiple occasions. Police said the first incident was on July 15 at 1:50 p.m. and the second was on July 20 at 1:48 p.m. She was arrested at 11:05 p.m. at the 4th Precinct.

Bling begone
Two residents from Terri Drive in Smithtown reported a stolen engagement ring and band from their home between 1:30 and 2 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Home ransacked
An unknown person entered a home on Maplelawn Drive in Smithtown and stole assorted items including computers, necklaces, rings, perfumes and colognes between 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sept. 11.

Uphill battle
Police pulled over a 59-year-old Setauket man who was speeding down Route 25A near The Hills Drive in a 2006 Ford on Sept. 13 to find he was intoxicated. He was arrested for driving while ability impaired. It was the man’s first offense.

No toking for you
A 19-year-old man from Miller Place was arrested on Sept. 10 for selling tobacco to a minor. Police said the incident happened on Route 25A in Port Jefferson Station.

Diamond in the rough
On Sept. 13 police arrested a 29-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station for criminal contempt. Police said the man went into the Kohl’s in East Setauket and stole jewelry.

Welcome home
Around 5:45 a.m. on Sept. 12, a 27-year-old man from Brookhaven in a 2002 Ford drove into a house on Michael Court in Centereach. The man was driving while ability impaired and police arrested him at the scene of the crash.

Hit-and-run times two
Police said a 19-year-old female from Farmingdale was arrested for leaving the scene of a Sept. 12 car crash, after the woman was driving along Portion Road in Ronkonkoma and hit two vehicles before fleeing the scene. Police arrested her soon afterward on Route 25A in Selden.

No paz here
A 36-year-old Pennsylvania man was arrested on Main Street in Port Jefferson on Sept. 11 around 4:54 a.m. for criminal mischief, after police said the man broke a window at La Paz restaurant. Police said the defendant is the same man who was found in possession of cocaine and threatened a group of people with a razor blade the day before, but a police spokesperson was unsure if he was arrested that day for criminal possession of a controlled substance and menacing, as it was not documented.

Electrical enthusiast
On Sept. 10, police arrested a 35-year-old man and a 26-year-old man from East Patchogue. They were each charged with petit larceny — the older man after stealing electrical switches and wall plates from the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook, and the younger man when he tried to return the stolen merchandise to the store.

Petrus pants
Police said an unidentified man took a bottle of Petrus Bordeaux wine from Hamlet Wines & Liquors store in East Setauket on Sept. 12, putting the bottle down his pants and fleeing the store on foot.

Unique break
Police said an unknown person broke the front window of Unique Cleaners in Miller Place on Sept. 10 at 4:31 a.m. Nothing was stolen from the store.

Denny’s disappearance
Around 1 a.m. on Sept. 12 a woman reported that she had lost her handbag at the Denny’s in Centereach Mall. The handbag contained jewelry and money.

Disturber of the peace
On Sept. 10 around 4:45 a.m., a man reported that an unknown person had stolen money from his 2013 Toyota, located on Peace Court in Selden.

Giving and taking
Between Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m., an unknown person broke into a clothing donation bin and stole clothes. Police said the door of the bin, in a parking lot near Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station, was broken.

Vehicle violation
A woman reported that a rear window on a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban was vandalized on Sept. 13 around 2 a.m. on Maple Road in Rocky Point.

Making a dry clean getaway
Police said an unknown person broke into a dry cleaner on North Country Road in Mount Sinai. The person threw a rock on Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. and broke the front window of the business and stole cash.

Phony caller
An unidentified person on Hearthside Drive in Mount Sinai received a phone call from a scammer on Sept. 8. The person who called the victim wanted money but it was unclear what for.

Roll credits
On Sept. 12 a man and a woman reported that a pocketbook, which contained a Social Security card, was taken from a 2009 Dodge Charger. Clothes were also stolen from the car. Police said the car was parked in the AMC Loews movie theater parking lot on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook.

One man plus one man equals oh man
Two 22-year-old men were arrested in front of the Paramount in Huntington on Sept.11 for engaging in a fistfight on a public sidewalk, within ten minutes of each other. One man, from Huntington Station, resisted arrest when he was commanded by officers to stop fighting and then refused to place his hands behind his back. He was also found to have marijuana in his possession. He was charged with disorderly conduct, fighting and violent behavior at 11:20 p.m. The other man, from Mastic Beach, punched and wrestled with officers and fled the scene on foot for a short time until police caught up to him. He was arrested at 11:29 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, fighting, engaging in violent behavior, and intent to cause physical injury to a police officer.

Slice, slice baby
Police arrested a homeless man on Sept. 12 at 156 Depot Road in Huntington Station for attacking a man with a knife. The man suffered lacerations on his neck and required medical attention at 5:05 p.m., and the attacker was arrested a short time later. The man was charged for assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon.

Don’t take me out to the ball game
A 21-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested on Sept. 11 for an incident police said occurred earlier. On Sept. 6 at 4:10 a.m. on Broadway and Biltmore Circle in Huntington Station cops said he struck a man multiple times with a baseball bat and the victim was taken to Huntington Hospital. He also slashed a second man with a knife. The assailant was charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon.

Drive-through
At 7:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, a 26-year-old woman from Huntington Station was arrested for causing damage with her vehicle. She was driving a 2006 Nissan Altima on New York Avenue in Huntington when she struck a parked 2002 Lexus that was unattended. She failed to stop afterwards and was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and property damage.

Someone’s not on Nationwide’s side
At Nationwide Insurance on High Street in Huntington on Sept. 10, an unknown person entered the location at 4:00 p.m. and stole two payroll checks.

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Bob Lipinski with his latest book. Photo from Lipinski

Bob Lipinski, a local author and regular columnist for Times Beacon Record Newspapers and Lifestyle Magazine, recently announced the publication of his ninth book titled “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey.”

The 80-page paperback presents whiskey as a “101 Introduction,” covering the basics of each major whiskey category and countries of origin including blended American, bourbon, Canadian, corn, Irish, Japanese, rye, Scotch, and Tennessee whiskey.

To add another dimension, the book covers the history of whiskey, definitions, slang terms, drinks of presidents and celebrities and whiskey-infused quotes. There is even a chapter on classic whiskey cocktails.

“What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there is no cure for.” — Irish saying

Bob Williamstyn, proprietor of The Country House Restaurant in Stony Brook, says the book is “a great training tool for restaurateurs, distributors, and just about anyone else in the beverage business,” while Sean McCormack of Innovative Spirits adds that it is “an absolute must read for anyone who enjoys whiskey, and wants to learn more.”

The author will be conducting book signings for his latest book at Connetquot Public Library, 760 Ocean Ave., Bohemia on Dec. 1, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, 120 Main St., Setauket on Dec. 9, and Patchogue-Medford Library, 54-60 E. Main St., Patchogue on Dec. 17, all from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The book is available for purchase at www.Amazon.com for $14.99.

Bob Lipinski conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or Bob@HIBS-USA.com.

Cops: No link between drinking in public and delis

Stock photo

Huntington Station residents say they are concerned with local delis serving beer on premises because they believe it has led to an increase in public drunkenness.

“It’s a problem. That’s what bars are for,” Jim McGoldrick, a Huntington Station resident said. “It’s a disadvantage for bar owners. It’s not right.”

While he admits drinking in public is a problem in the area, Suffolk County Police 2nd Precinct Inspector Christopher Hatton refuted the notion that delis serving alcohol are leading to an increase in public inebriation.

“The department doesn’t have any evidence that it leads to public intoxication, and it is also not illegal,” Hatton said in a phone interview. “I don’t think it’s a link.”

Hatton said that there is a problem with public alcohol consumption, which is illegal, especially in the Depot Road area. But he hasn’t seen any connections between the delis in Huntington that serve liquor on premises and an increase in public intoxication.

At a 2nd Precinct meeting in South Huntington in early August, many community members complained that the alcohol these delis serve is leading to an increase in individuals who are publicly intoxicated. They also didn’t understand how these establishments could both sell and allow customers to consume liquor inside the store.

Residents said they have witnessed people who are highly intoxicated attempting to cross the street, something they fear could lead to traffic accidents.

“We have a handful of calls from residents who speak about it,” Assemblyman Chad A. Lupinacci (R-Melville) said in a phone interview. Groups like Huntington Matters, an anti-crime civic group in Huntington Station, have expressed concerns.

Lupinacci said that his office is keeping an eye on the issue, as well as keeping in touch with New York State Liquor Authority, the agency that handles all liquor licenses. He acknowledged that there are safety concerns associated with this issue.

“It’s definitely something to take into consideration, the safety concerns,” he said. “I do think it is something we need to make sure isn’t causing more problems or unintended problems.”

In order for serving beer on premises to be legal, a deli must apply for a specific type of liquor license.

According to Bill Crowley, director of public affairs for NYSLA, a deli needs to apply for an eating place beer license. This license allows beer drinking onsite and for beer to be sold for consumption off-premises, as long as food is prepared and served at the location as well.

This type of license runs for three years, and the fee to obtain one is $480, plus an additional $100 filing fee.

NYSLA keeps track of all establishments with liquor licenses.

“We have enforcements and we do investigations, both randomly and complaint-driven,” Crowley said. These investigations include underage sweeps and can sometimes require many follow-ups before anything is uncovered.

Some local establishments that ran into problems with NYSLA actually didn’t have an eating-place beer license. In both instances NYSLA was involved with, the license called into question was a grocery beer/wine product license. This license allows for off-premises selling of beer and “wine products,” which is a beverage that can’t contain more than 6 percent alcohol by volume — also known as wine coolers.

Quisqueya Deli on West Hills Road in Huntington Station applied for a grocery store license, which only permits for the sale of beer consumed off premises. However, in March, the business was fined $2,000 by the full board of NYSLA for allowing consumption on premises. In July, the board voted to cancel their license.

Phil Solages, the attorney representing Quisqueya Deli, said the business had no comment.

Sayed Deli & Coffee Shop on West Pulaski Road also has a grocery store license. However, the business was fined $3,500 for sale to a minor in April 2012. An attempt to interview a store official was unsuccessful.

The NYSLA Full Board votes on the penalty when an establishment is found abusing its license. Depending on the severity of the violation, a business could receive a fine or get the license permanently revoked.

Many delis in Huntington Station have an eating-place beer license and have received no violations, according to Crowley.

“I know there are delis in Huntington Station, along New York Avenue, that serve alcohol on premises,” Hatton said. “They basically turn into a bar, to watch sports games, but it’s not illegal as long as they’re serving food prepared there.”

An assortment of different Bootlegger drinks line the shelves. Photo by Alex Petroski

It takes guts to quit a steady paying job to pursue a dream. Not many people bet on themselves as boldly as Stony Brook University graduate and owner of Prohibition Distillery Brian Facquet did back in 2008.

He grew up in Commack, graduated from St. Anthony’s High School in 1991 and spent a few years in the Naval Academy before transferring to Stony Brook for his senior year. There he played lacrosse, majored in history and met his future wife Benat.

“I created a brand that’s rooted in history,” Facquet said laughing, during a recent interview, when asked about failing to put his pricey college degree in history to use. He received that degree in 1995.

“I did something stupid,” Facquet said. “I quit my job and just started doing this.”

“This” was creating an up-and-coming craft spirit brand called Bootlegger 21, which is based out of an old firehouse in Roscoe, about two hours north of New York City. The name, the packaging and even the boxes that the bottles are shipped in are all a nod to the Prohibition era in the United States in the 1920s when the sale or consumption of alcohol was illegal. People who continued to sell alcohol illegally were called bootleggers. The “21” represents the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition.

Facquet spent much of the 2000s in the corporate world, working for a couple of different technology companies. Successes in that field earned him an offer to be the East Coast vice president of Paylocity, a company that specializes in cloud-based payroll software, which Facquet was vital in creating. He turned down the offer.

“He’s always been entrepreneurial,” Phil Facquet said of his son Brian, who in 2000 went to his dad and asked him for advice about a business opportunity. Brian Facquet said that he was at Bluepoint Brewery in Patchogue.

“It was small at the time,” Facquet said. They had a few chairs, a keg and about three tables in an outside sitting area. The modest appearance didn’t scare him and he told his dad that he wanted to invest about $30,000 in the brewery. Both Facquets said that Phil was the greatest deciding factor in Brian’s decision to ultimately reject the opportunity.

“I always regretted not doing it,” Brian Facquet said. His dad admitted that he felt bad about being the voice of negativity back then, so when Brian went to Phil in 2008 and told him his new plan, his father decided to bite his tongue the second time around.

“I thought he was crazy,” Phil Facquet said.

When Brian Facquet decided to start making booze, it wasn’t going to be a hobby. He had no interest in going the route of the weekend warrior who brews beer in his garage and tried for a while to balance his steady paying job with his dream of, as he put it, “creating something that will be remembered.” He said he would go into the Tuthilltown Distillery, one of the sites of his vodka making exploits before he found a home in Roscoe, while he was on sales calls for his day job, overnight or on days when he was “playing hooky.” Eventually he decided he was going all in on Bootlegger 21.

“You’re talking to a guy that’s worked all his life for somebody else,” Phil said about his son’s decision to pursue his dream. “I’m ambitious within a corporate setting, but to risk my own money? I thought he was crazy, quite honestly.”  His father came around rather easily. He still lives in Commack, though he periodically makes the trip up to Roscoe to lend a hand for a few days whenever he can.

Brian Facquet’s ambition and confidence have paid off. Bootlegger 21 now offers gin and bourbon to go along with the vodka. Facquet said that when he started the company he had a hard time convincing anyone about the merits of a craft spirit that was locally produced. “You hope you have a good product, you hope you have a market, but you never know,” he said.

The market has changed now. Hand crafted is in. Mass-produced, conglomerate spirits with brand recognition still have their place in the market, but Facquet said that he’s found the millennial consumer is willing to give the little guy a shot. He didn’t necessarily see this coming he said, but he’s thrilled to reap the benefits of a more open-minded marketplace.

The fact that this is currently Facquet’s only business venture doesn’t mean he’s suddenly become a slacker. Presumably Catholic high school and the Naval Academy made that impossible.

“I don’t know how he does it,” his father said. “He’s burning the candle light at both ends, plus the center.”

Brian Facquet’s hard work has paid off as well. The corn-based, gluten-free vodka has been awarded gold medals and double gold medals from the Best Domestic Vodka competition, the Beverage Testing Institute, and the New York International Spirits competition. The five-botanical gin and corn-based bourbon are still very new to the market.

Facquet’s goal was to create something that will be remembered. It will be difficult to remember him after extensive consumption of his product, although his entrepreneurial spirit will last long after the buzz wears off.

For more information about Bootlegger 21 and the Prohibition Distillery visit www.prohibitiondistillery.com.

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