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Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

Law and Order: Drug charges follow traffic stop in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Jacqueline Raj Garrett, 36, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Garrett was stopped at 5:37 p.m. Sunday on Main Road, Stafford, by Deputy Michael Lute. Garrett was jailed on $100 cash bail. A passenger, Aaron D. Swimline, 29, of Tinkham Road, Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jeanette Higgins, 39, of 23 Holland Ave., Batavia, is charged with two felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of petit larceny. Higgins is accused of submitting forms to DSS that didn't disclose cash child support payments. Higgins allegedly received $208 in food stamp payments in February and March for which she wasn't entitled. Higgins was arrested by a Sheriff's deputy following an investigation by DSS.

Adrionna S. Ellison, 18, of Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Ellison was reportedly ordered to leave College Village property and not return. A security officer later allegedly found her hiding under a bed in one of the apartments. She was arrested by State Police and issued an appearance ticket.

Lydia Grossi-Young, 45, of Hopkins Road, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Grossi-Young was alleged involved in a domestic incident at 2 p.m. Sunday in Batavia.

Daniel Paul Molina, 35, of West Broad Street, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, unlicensed operator and driving a vehicle without proper stop lights. Molina was stopped at 6:47 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Molina allegedly has more than 10 prior driver license suspensions. Molina was jailed on $5,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of County Route 53, Arkport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 6:06 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona, and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Jaime Lynn Killinger, 38, of West Taft Road, Le Roy, was arrested on warrants stemming from a DWI charge and a charge of driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Killinger was arrested by the Irondequoit Police Department and turned over to the Sheriff's Office and jailed on $500 bail.

Eric Robert Root, 18, of West Avenue, Spencerport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. Root was stopped at 6:54 p.m. Friday on Parkview Drive, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Kyle Timothy Johnson, 25, of Park Avenue, Waterport, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Johnson was arrested at 1:52 a.m. Friday on West Main Street, Le Roy, by Deputy Joseph Corona, after allegedly being found in possession of a hypodermic instrument he was not legally allowed to possess.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., 30, of Water Street, Attica, is charged with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal mischief, 4th. The arrest stems from an alleged incident reported Nov. 6 at a residence on Liberty Street, Batavia. Cramer was jailed without bail.

Andrew L. Kosiorek, 43, of Wood Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Kosiorek allegedly failed to comply with terms of Drug Treatment Court and was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Mark W. Grabowski, 57, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from an unreasonable noise charge.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 9:40 am

Photos: Stan's opens new showroom

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Stan's Harley-Davidson

Stan's Harley-Davidson held an open house Saturday to celebrate the opening of its new, expanded showroom. As part of the ceremonies, Lt. Colonel Ulises Miranda III from Early College International High School, Army JROTC Battalion, presented Daryl Horzempa and Debbie Parks of Stan's an award for their commitment to veterans.

Presentation of Colors

Jon DelVecchio, of Street Skills, was on hand to discuss motorcycle rider safety.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 5:03 am

Wind advisory issued for this afternoon

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A wind advisory has been issued for this afternoon with winds of 15 to 25 mph expected from 2 p.m. into late evening.

Gusts of up to 50 mph are possible.

The winds will be from the southwest.

The weather service warns of tree branches down and isolated power outages. Travel may be difficult for high profile vehicles. Unsecured items should be brought indoors.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 4:56 am

Car on fire in field off Bloomingdale Road

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, fire

A car is reportedly on fire in a field in the area of 986 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

A chief on scene reports the car is well off the road.

Alabama fire is responding.

UPDATE 5 a.m.: A deputy is in route.

UPDATE 6:11 a.m.: Alabama fire had cleared the scene. Now there's a report of a field fire in the same location. Alabama fire responding.

Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Enclosed porch on fire at house on Sautell Road, North Bergen

post by Billie Owens in bergen, fire

An enclosed porch attached to a house is reportedly on fire at 5995 Sautell Road. Bergen fire and Mercy medics are responding. Everyone is out of the structure, according to the caller. The location is between North Bergen and Warboys roads.

UPDATE 10:18 p.m.: Fire out. Ventilating.

UPDATE 10:38 p.m: Picking up equipment and preparing to leave.

Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Crash with injuries at Wortendyke and West Main Street

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at West Main Street Road and Wortendyke Road. East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Collins honors district winners of Congressional Art Contest

post by James Burns in batavia, art, chris collins, GCC

The 2015 Congressional Art Competition winner and honorable mentions were announced today at Genesee Community College in the Roz Steiner gallery.

The competition was open to high school students to enter their visual art. Oil paintings, photographs, works in pencil, paints, pastels and mixed media where hung in the gallery. All created by our very own, very talented, local high school artists. 

The Roz Steiner Gallery at GCC was filled with happy visitors admiring classical and modem works. The gallery had the look and excitement of an opening at MoMA in Manhattan.  The exhibit runs in the gallery April 23 through May 18. If you are at all interested in art you should try and see this impressive exhibit. 

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand to announce winners and congratulate all the students involved. But before the award announcement, Collins also took time to personally and privately tour the exhibit and admire the truly impressive works.

UPDATE: Here are the winners:

Winner -  Mallory Showalter, Clarence High School
1st runner up – Kazuki Kanehira, Clarence High School
Honorable mention – Danielle Saeva, Clarence High School
Honorable mention – Cheyenne Ernst, Batavia High School

During his opening comments Representative Collins renewed his support of the Arts in schools.

The winner’s work will be exhibited with the winners from all of the rest of the congressional districts at the U.S. Capitol for a year. For more information on the Congressional Art Competition please visit: http://www.house.gov/content/educate/art_competition/

To see more picture go to: http://jimburns.org/p694578929#h41e007ef

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Raffaele Ponti honored by GSO Board prior to final show with orchestra

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, music

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors hosted a farewell luncheon at GO ART! this afternoon for Raffaele Ponti, the musical director and conductor of the orchestra for 18 years who will conduct his final concert with the GSO tomorrow.

The luncheon was attended by board members and several longtime orchestra members, including Helen Grapka, pictured above with Ponti and his daughter, Sofia.

Sofia is holding the violin Grapka played for 46 years with GSO. She sold it to the Ponti family, along with the violin of her late husband, John, when she retired from music a few years ago. Sofia will play it during her featured performance at tomorrow's concert.

Grapka is the last surviving founding member of GSO.

In the 1940s, she and her husband played with a small orchestra organized by a local man who wanted to be a conductor each Jan. 1 at the old folks home in Bethany. At the 1947 show, Helen and John had a conversation with two members of their string quartet and decided they should start a local orchestra.

The GSO's first concert was later that year, in November, at the old Dipson Theater. Some 1,400 people attended and hundreds more were turned away at the door. Grapka remembers men showing up in tuxedos and the women dressed in long gowns and minks.

From the beginning, the orchestra attracted the finest musicians in the area and had a dozen first violinists that first season.

John Grapka was musical director at the New York State School for the Blind and after teaching at a public school for six years, Helen taught music at the School for the Blind for 20 years.

She's proud that what she and her husband started has lasted into the 21st Century.

"If anything ever happens and it all falls apart, it will never happen again," Grapka said. "It's important to keep it going because it's such an important cultural thing for the community."

Tomorrow's concert is at 4 p.m. at Batavia High School.

Ponti with an award presented to him by Board President Paul Saskowski and Board Member Roxanne Choate. 

Below are pictures from yesterday's rehearsal at Batavia High School. Dave Mancini is also performing with the orchestra tomorrow. The Rochester resident will perform on some of his own compositions, including "A Piece for Him," which he wrote and dedicated to his father. Members of the Student String Workshop (featured in some of the photos below) will also perform with the orchestra.

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 7:58 am

GGLDC unveils 'Innovation Zone'

post by James Burns in batavia, GCEDC, Innovation Zone, MedTech Park

Officials unveiled the Innovation Zone at MedTech Park in Batavia yesterday. The Innovation Zone is designed to attract high-tech entrepreneurs and start-ups. To help start-ups it will provide working space and free Wi-Fi as well as programing and business services for a $200 a month fee.

A total of $50,000 for the Innovation Zone was provide by the National Grid’s CleanTech Incubation Program. The project was run by the GGLDC (Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.), which is the real-estate arm of the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center).

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Attorneys in Frost Ridge case back in court to argue for and against ruling on live music concerts

post by Howard B. Owens in Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy

There's no dispute that there was live music at the Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy prior to 2008, and there's no dispute there was amplified music there, either, said an attorney representing the family that brought suit against Frost Ridge seeking to shut down its summer concert series.

Those prior acts, however, do not constitute a prior use of Frost Ridge as a concert venue with amplified life music, Mindy Zoghlin told Judge Robert C. Noonan during a hearing in Superior Court today where Zoghlin and Town of Le Roy Attorney Reid Whiting argued that Noonan should favor them with a ruling barring amplified live music and demanding relief from other alleged zoning violations.

(The record) at best establishes there were people playing music around the campfire and when there were skiers there was amplified music," Zoghlin said.

David Roach, representing the owners of Frost Ridge, David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, told Noonan that and other points raised verbally by Zoghlin and Reed were addressed in his written memo to Noonan answering their motions for summary judgement, so he wasn't going to belabor the points today.

In the memo, Roach argues that there were live music shows at Frost Ridge under prior ownership that were open to the public.

In fact, Roach argues, that everything from the live music issue, to the camping use of the campground and current structures on the property, all fit within the prior, non-conforming use of the property.

Even if those uses have expanded, he argued, case law favors Frost Ridge. 

"Nothing in the record indicates Frost Ridge has ever changed its recreational use or expanded it to something non-recreational," Roach wrote, citing a case known as Hollow v. Owen. "'...a mere increase in the volume or intensity of the use is not necessarily an extension or enlargement of such use.'"

Among the reasons Zoghlin said Noonan should find in the favor of her clients, David and Marny Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins (Marny and Betsy are sisters and granddaughters of the original property owner), is that a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) determination that the concerts fell within prior, non-conforming use was, essentially, illegal.

Noonan has already ruled that the ZBA failed to provide proper public notice of the meeting in 2013 where the board came to a unanimous conclusion that everything at Frost Ridge, including live amplified music, was permissible because of the historical use of the property.

The property became a ski area and campground in the 1960s and later new zoning laws were adopted by the Town of Le Roy that made the area a residential/agriculture zone.

There's no way, Zoghlin argued, that a concert venue falls within the town's definition of an R/A zone.

Roach argued that Noonan's ruling on the public notice issue went merely to the procedural sufficiency of the notice, but did not overturn the finding. Citing case law, Roach argues that even granting the notice issue, the ZBA had the authority to make the determination.

Zoghlin wants the ZBA determination overturned, arguing that the decision was reached in such a defective fashion that even referring the case back to the ZBA would be inappropriate.

Roach told Noonan that such a ruling would still result in the ZBA taking up the issue again, and the ZBA would likely reach the same conclusion, and then that determination would result in new lawsuits by the current plaintiffs (Cleere and Collins and the Town of Le Roy), so Noonan would then be dealing with four lawsuits total over one single issue.

If Noonan finds the ZBA determination defective, the only reasonable action, Roach said, would be to refer the case back to the ZBA to cure the procedural defect of its original determination (meaning, hold a properly noticed public hearing).

At the end of the hearing, Noonan reserved his decision and promised a written decision soon.

If Noonan doesn't issue a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff's, the suit will proceed, perhaps, eventually, to a jury trial. If that's the case, Zoghlin said, Noonan should reinstate the temporary restraining order barring live amplified music at Frost Ridge.

Roach said that such an order would put Frost Ridge out of business and therefore impermissibly grant the plaintiff's the ultimate outcome they seek through the lawsuit. He also argued that during the period last summer when concerts were once again allowed at the campground, there were no complaints, no arrests, no disturbances and a deputy was positioned in the neighborhood to monitor noise and found the venue in compliance with Noonan's orders. The town has also established a noise ordinance, rendering moot the need for a restraining order.

So far, six concerts at The Ridge have been booked for the summer.

For our prior coverage, click here.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Sponsored Post: Open House - 236 State Street, Batavia!

Solid and nicely kept City home in central location and ready to move in! This home has been upgraded and freshly painted throughout, with more room than it appears from the road! Good size rooms and a walk-up, finished attic that adds a whole lot more room for storage or play! Large back enclosed porch for nice nights and a place to kick off your shoes! Come check this one out, nothing to do but move in and make it your own!! NOW $92,000. Call Lynn Bezon today!

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Wind damage hitting Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A vent on the roof of Ken's Charcoal Pits/City Slickers blew off the roof a short time ago. Owner Ken Mistler said the trees seemed to have saved three cars that were parked on the street from damage.

The restaurants remain open.

Meanwhile, a reader sent in the bottom picture of a downed tree at the Blind School and Bethany fire has been dispatched to 9524 Clipnock Road for a report of a utility pole that has broken and only being held up by wires.

There's also report of a tree down with wires involved at 240 State St., near Hart Street, Batavia, and wires "ripped from the residence" on Pearl Street Road. City fire is responding to the first call, East Pembroke to the second.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m.: A tree fell onto a car at 161 Washington Ave. in the city and wires are also down. City fire responding.

UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: A tree and wires are down across the roadway, blocking traffic, at 259 Ross St. and city fire is responding.

UPDATE: more photos ... 

State Street

Centennial Park

Washington Avenue

UPDATE: Ross Street

UPDATE, photo from Greg Rada of Clipnock Road.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Le Roy resident charged with assault in the second degree

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A 20-year-old Le Roy resident allegedly used a knife in a confrontation with another person and has been charged with second-degree assault as a result.

Le Roy PD did not release information on the nature of injuries, if any, sustained by the victim.

Jarrod K. Fotiathis was jailed on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.

He is also charged with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of alcohol.

Brittany B. Cina, 25, was also charged with harassment, 2nd. Cina allegedly punched a person. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

City School budget advances with no tax increase and three added teaching positions

post by Jess Wheeler in batavia, City Schools, education, schools

The return of three teaching positions and the lack of a tax increase highlight a 2015-16 budget proposal for Batavia City schools following this week's budget meeting. 

The reinstated teaching positions include a science teacher and a social studies teacher, both at the middle school level. The third position is for a districtwide music teacher.

There are students on a waiting list to take music classes.

The preliminary budget released in January projected a .55-percent increase in the tax levy, but with new state aid numbers that increase was zeroed out.

“The governor has always given budget projections,” Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said. “This year, he did not. So we used the budget numbers from the current year. When the state budget was finalized, we saw an increase of about $427,000. We used that to reduce the tax levy to 0 percent.”

The $427,000 will be coming in New York State Aid.

The proposed budget includes an increase in mileage for transportation at John Kennedy Intermediate School.

“I think the Board has sensed the needs of the taxpayer and has done even better than the governor projected,” Rozanski said.

The board meets again April 14 to finalize the budget proposal.

The public vote is May 19. The election will include the budget, transportation and three open seats on the school board.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Truck traffic shut down on Route 77 for low wire

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama

Eastbound semi-truck traffic is being shut down on Lewiston Road at Route 77 to Knowlesville Road, Alabama, because of a low-hanging wires.

There's also a utility pole leaning over the roadway on Lewiston Road. All eastbound traffic on Ledge Road will be closed at Route 77.

Alabama fire with mutual aid from Indian Falls responding.

National Grid is reporting a 30-minute ETA for the Ledge Road incident.UP

UPDATE 12:34 p.m.: There's a report of wires down at 12 Walnut Street, Batavia.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

A 366-acre area in Batavia designated as 'brownfield opportunity area'

The governor's office announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas today, including one in Batavia. Here's a portion of the press release. We've included the top overview portion of the press release and the section about Batavia.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas in economically challenged communities across New York State. The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program helps local communities establish revitalization strategies that return dormant and blighted areas into productive areas to spur economic development. This designation is based upon plans of varying focus that reflect local conditions, and projects receiving this designation are given priority status for grants and additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentives.

“By designating these sites as brownfield opportunity areas, we are helping to reimagine their potential as vibrant parts of the surrounding communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This distinction allows us to put their rehabilitation on the fast-track with additional state resources, and that means new development, jobs and opportunities in the future. This is another way that our administration is joining with local partners to revitalize blighted areas across the state, and I look forward to seeing their transformation continue in the days to come.”

Prior to their designation, these communities received planning grants financed through New York’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program to complete a nomination that set forth revitalization strategies and promoted sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within the affected areas. The Department of State accepted the nominations for these BOAs and has determined they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation. Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within a designated BOA will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives and receive priority and preference for State grants to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use.

Brownfields Reform and State Superfund
Separate from the sites receiving BOA designation today, the 2015-16 State Budget extends the Brownfields Cleanup Program for 10 years, and includes important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly Upstate. The Budget also includes a new $100 million appropriation and extends the State Superfund cleanup program for ten years. The Superfund has been instrumental in identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites throughout the State.

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said: “These designations will serve as tremendous environmental and economic development engines for communities in need of public and private investment. The added incentives will afford these communities great opportunities for new housing development, businesses and job creation, and overall beautification.” The Secretary of State is charged with the designation of BOAs after a community planning process.

Val Washington, president, New Partners for Community Revitalization, said: "From Buffalo to the Bronx, from Wyandanch on Long Island to Lewis County in the North Country, New York's BOA Program is showing its worth. Uniquely, it brings community and municipal leaders together to develop plans to revitalize neighborhoods impacted by multiple brownfields. We applaud and support Governor Cuomo's important announcement today, and appreciate his leadership in increasing state government support for developers who will work in these designated areas."

...

Batavia Opportunity Area, Genesee County -- This consists of a 366-acre area characterized by an estimated 75 potential brownfield sites located within the Batavia Central Corridor. The primary community revitalization objectives include: cleaning up and redeveloping underutilized, vacant and brownfield properties with appropriate uses; stabilizing existing neighborhoods; and continuing the revitalization of the Downtown Business District. A $266,508 BOA Program grant financed planning activities.

City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino said: “We would like to thank the Department of State for providing the funding and guidance to complete Batavia’s Batavia Opportunity Area plan. The Batavia BOA has been an overwhelming success and we have already seen significant developer interest in our brownfield sites. To date we have already received more than $2 million in grant funding for TEP, NY Main Street and CDBG applications that advance recommendations in the Plan.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Steve Pike explains why he dug up urn with father's ashes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

WATCH: Stephen Pike, the 18-year-old accused of digging up his father's grave, explains why he did it.Read more HERE: http://spr.ly/61894Zt5

Posted by 13 WHAM ABC on Thursday, April 9, 2015

From The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM.

Steve Pike, the 18-year-old Perry resident charged with aggravated cemetery desecration, explained today why he dug up his father's urn at St. Joseph Cemetery.

I get it," Pike said. "They might have saw disrespect, but he's my father. I think the urn is right under only about that deep under. I never even thought I would be as close to my dad as I was. I got his jacket. I got his Coca-Cola stuff. I got all this stuff, but you know you want closure." 

Pike's father died in 2006. 

"I can't find anybody. Nobody really gets it. So I went over to the cemetery and I just grabbed a shovel. Little, not a big shovel. Just lifted up the dirt, put up the grass, and I found it and I kind of just broke down emotionally right there, and I'm like, 'Wow, Dad,'" he said. "I never thought I would be that close to my dad. I can't hug him. If his body was under there and not his ashes, I'm not going to dig up his body."

Pike turned himself in today. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

UPDATE: Here's a link to 13WHAM's full story where Pike explains further that he didn't learn who his biological father was until after his father died.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Contestants in rehearsals for annual Mr. Batavia Contest at BHS

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia

The Batavia High School student government hosts its third annual Mr. Batavia Contest at 7 p.m., April 17.

Eleven seniors have signed up and picked the charities they will represent. Proceeds from the event go to the winner's charity. Last year, Mr. Batavia raised $2,200 for Habitat for Humanity.

The contestants and their charities:

  • Bryce Rogers, Ricky Palermo Foundation
  • Andrew Maniace, Batavia VA
  • Samir Jain (not pictured), Michael Napoleon Foundation
  • Dylan Beckman, Habitat for Humanity
  • Brandon Smart, Volunteers for Animals
  • Josh Franks, Anna’s Wish
  • Adam Taylor, Care-A-Van Ministries
  • Eric DiLaura, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
  • Nick Bauer, Crossroads House
  • Jordan Fluker, Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Ben Demare, Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training

Hostesses for this year's event are (names not in order): Emily DiBacco, Carly Scott, Katie Kesler and Maggie Folger.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm

High wind warning issued for tomorrow

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

High winds are expected to blow into Genesee County tomorrow morning with the potential to bring down trees and power lines.

A high wind warning is in effect from 8 a.m. to midnight Friday.

Winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph are expected.

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