Communities

LIBERTY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL PROPOSAL DRAWS OPPOSITION FROM RANCHO SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS; TRAFFIC IS MAIN CONCERN

Debbie Beyer, Literacy First Director, faults planning group for not allowing rebuttal testimony. “They got it so wrong,” she says.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

January 31, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Initial plans to build a charter high school on an empty lot near Chase Avenue and Jamacha Road hit a major stumbling block when the Valle de Oro Planning Group unanimously voted to reject a mitigated negative declaration for the project proposed by Literacy First Charter Schools

With the January vote, the next step for Literacy First will be a vote by the Valle De Oro Planning Group on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Otay Water District Headquarters meeting room. After this vote, the proposal goes on to the San Diego County Planning Commission on a future determined date, and then on to the San Diego Board of Supervisors.

READER’S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO SANTEE OFFICIALS: LET’S PAUSE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND SOLVE TRAFFIC CONGESTION FIRST

By Eid Fakhouri, CPA, Santee resident and commuter advocate
 
Photo by Eid Fakhouri, taken January 23, 2020
 
January 31, 2020 (Santee) - We see this traffic everyday on city roads (Carlton Oaks, Inverness, Mast, West Hills) that are 1/2 mile from the on ramps.
 
This is just to show you that even on a beautiful day without any accidents, traffic is still backed up. The bottom line here is our city roads are not made to handle the traffic.
 
We understand there are a lot of vehicles coming from all over the region to Highway 52, but let's not exacerbate the problem.
 
Our land will always be available; it is not going away.  And yes it may be developed one day. But there is no need to race to add to the problem until our infrastructure can handle it. 

21 ARRESTED IN DRUG BUST AT LINDO LAKES

East County News Service

File photo: Lindo Lake Park, by Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2020 (Lakeside) -- This morning deputies from the Lakeside Sheriff's Substation concluded a 10-month investigation into the sale of narcotics at Lindo Lake Park, Lakeside. Search and arrest warrants were served at multiple locations in Lakeside and El Cajon regarding the sales of methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl.

Twenty-one suspects were taken into custody facing charges in State and Federal Court ranging from narcotics offences to outstanding warrants. During the operation methamphetamine and weapons were located and confiscated.

LA MESA CHAMBER SALUTES LOCAL HEROES MARCH 12 AT SYCUAN RESORT

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce invites you to its 12th annual Salute to local Heroes. This year’s theme is "Hooray for Hollywood: and the event will be held on March 12 at Sycuan Casino Resort from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

First responders from La Mesa Police, fire and paramedics will be honored as well as members of the retired senior volunteer patrol. The celebration also includes installation of the Chamber’s new board of directors.

Suggested attire is Hollywood glam, cocktail or business.

NUTS THEATRE REVIEW - COURTROOM DRAMA

By Kathy Carpenter
Photo Credit: Daren Scott
 
Photo: Pete Zanko - Andrea Acuna - Steve Murdoch in "Nuts" at PowPAC
 
January 29, 2020 - (Poway) - PowPAC presents "Nuts", written by Tom Topor and Directed by Brent A. Stringfield. Do you love to watch all those courtroom shows we have on television today? For me this was just like watching one of those, but live. Although, Stringfield says those shows don't communicate the truth and honesty of a piece like this. On television we often have some theatrics and flourish by either the defense attorney or the prosecution. With "Nuts", we rely on the acting before us.
 
“Nuts” is a compelling story of a woman trying to prove she is capable of standing trial for murder. Set in courtroom and in New York City's famed Bellevue Hospital in 1979. Have progressed through time? Not really the same story could be told today in my opinion.

LONDON STAGE STAR RETURNS TO ADVISE STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL THEATER STUDENTS

By Jennifer Doucet, President, Steele Canyon Players Drama Booster Club
Photo Credit: 1-3: Helen Maybanks
Photo Credit: Michael Wharley
 
January 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- London stage actor Dean Chisnall returns to Steele Canyon Charter High School February 26 to February 29 to help prepare the school’s theatre department for their production of Shrek The Musical premiering March 18th.  Who better to mentor the students than an actor who portrayed Shrek for five years on the London West End stage and on the UK & Ireland tour? 
 
According to Chisnall, that’s 1,318 performances as Shrek; 5,742 hours in green make up; 25 cities and a total of 21 months on tour.  Locally, Chisnall will team-up with Steele Canyon Directors, Nicole LaBella (Theatre) and Heather Luck (Music), to instruct and inspire the Steele Canyon Players to portray the beloved Shrek musical theater characters. 
 
He will also be the main event in “An Evening with Dean Chisnall” benefit night for the SCHS theater students at Steele Canyon High School on the evening of Saturday, February 29 @ 7:00pm. Open to the general public, tickets are $20 online/$25 door. Visit www.schscougars.org or order tickets directly at www.showtix4u.com

BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS AT GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
Contact: Della Elliott
 
January 29, 2020 (El Cajon)--Food, movies, dance and cultural and educational presentations are on tap in February at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges for Black History Month.
 
With the exception of fundraisers – a barbecue at Grossmont College and a night of jazz and comedy at Cuyamaca College – all other events are free. The public is welcome to all events.

ENJOY A FLAMENCO SHOW, TAPAS AND PAELLA WITH OUR EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB JANUARY 30TH

January 21, 2020 (La Mesa) -- You're invited to support East County Magazine at our most exciting East County Dining Club event yet!  At the Spacebar Cafe & Wine Bistro in La Mesa on  Thursday, January 30th, take a virtual trip to Spain.

Tapas, dinner and Flamenco music show: This special event begins with happy hour and Spanish-style tapas (appetizers) at 6 p.m., followed by delicious dinner options incuding Paella Valencia and a live Flamenco show at 7 p.m. We will have prize drawings galore, too!

Feast your eyes on our very special menu here, with a range of options in every price range including Paellla Valencia (seafood or meat versions), the national dish of Spain.

RSVP by Monday: The restaurant asks that you pre-order your main dish (entree) when you RSVP to us by Monday Jan. 27 at (619)698-7617 or email editor@eastcountymagazine.org.  You can pay at the event, and you can order everything else there including appetizers, deserts, salads, wine, beer, or other beverages.

Prizes:  Our raffle includes whalewatching tickets from Hornblower Cruises, Spacebar Cafe and Wine Bar gift certificate, gift certificate to Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures, wine lovers gifts, cuisine of Spain cookbook, leather purse, jewelry, gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, and more!

Benefits: Spacebar Cafe & Wine Bistro will donate 20% of proceeds to East County Media to benefit East County Magazine and East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts. In addition, 100% of raffle ticket sales will benefit these nonprofit causes.

SANTA ANA WINDS AND WARMER WEATHER FORECAST TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY

By Miriam Raftery

January 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for San Diego County’s inland region. The advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. today through 12 noon on Friday for San Diego’s mountains and valleys, with gusts up to 55 miles per hour forecast. In local desert areas, the wind advisory is in effect from 10 a.m. today to 6 p.m. tonight.

In addition to potentially damaging winds, the forecast also includes elevated surf at beaches with waves up to six feet, and a warming trend through the week with temperatures rising into the 80s by the weekend.

WALKERS SHINE AT SANTEE’S OLYMPIC RACE WALKING EVENT

By Mike Allen
 
January 27, 2020 (Santee) -- Cool fog gave way to stunning sunshine and higher temps Jan. 25, not exactly the best conditions for walkers traversing some 31 miles or 50 kilometers at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in Santee, but glorious viewing conditions for the event.
 
“This is just fantastic for this city,” said Marlene Best, Santee’s city manager, cheering on the walkers along Town Center Parkway, just below the big clock at Trolley Square. “Only two other cities in the nation have held more Olympic Trials---Eugene, Oregon and Los Angeles.”
 
Besides the Olympic Trials for the 50K race walk, which Santee previously hosted in 2012 and 2016, it’s also hosted the national championships in the same event for seven years. The city of 58,000 can easily lay claim to being the Race Walking Capitol of the country.

SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER AMENDMENT WEDNESDAY TO ALLOW TEMPORARY AGRITOURISM EVENTS

 

Update January 30: Supervisors voted to approve the agritourism items 5-0  as recommended by staff, with no amendments.

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2020 (San Diego) – To promote farming and agritourism, San Diego County Supervisors on Wednesday will consider zoning ordinance amendments to define new agricultural uses including agritourism.  The agritourism activities provide educational opportunities for the community including U-pick operations, tours, lectures, classes, and participation in agricultural operations on-site.

PICKUP TRUCK PLUNGES DOWN EMBANKMENT, KILLING DRIVER FROM SANTEE

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2020 (El Cajon) – A Santee man is dead after the 2016 Dodge Ram pickup he was driving crashed down an embankment and struck a boulder last night around 8:46 p.m.

According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the driver, 46, was traveling east on La Cresta Road in unincorporated El Cajon east of Forester Creek “at a high rate of speed” when he lost control and plunged off the side of the roadway.  The vehicle became airborne before overturning down an embankment and striking the boulder.

COUNTY LAUNCHES EVACUATION PLAN FOCUSED ON VULNERABLE PEOPLE

If you needed to evacuate for an emergency, could you just get in your car and go? For some, the answer may be no because they lack transportation, need additional help with medical equipment or gathering items in their home.

Studies have shown that during a disaster, older adults or people with disabilities, or access and functional needs have added challenges when faced with evacuation. This information inspired the County Office of Emergency Services to come up with the Neighborhood Evacuation Team program in partnership with the Community Emergency Response Teams throughout the region. The teams are made up of disaster-trained volunteers who can help in their neighborhoods.

People who reach out for assistance will be teamed up with a CERT member who can guide them through the process of making a plan that suits their needs, including working out transportation needs with a caregiver, neighbor or family member.

EL CAJON CITY MANAGER CHALLENGES OTHER EAST COUNTY CITIES AND COUNTY TO SERVE HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS

Graham Mitchell Provides Year End Status Report of city’s efforts  

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Complete Video: https://youtu.be/LybwvTl7E8Y

Powerpoint presentation: Homeless Program Update (Jan 14, 2020).pdf

January 27, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell has challenged other East County cities and the County of San Diego to address the current crisis level of homeless individuals, as El Cajon has during the past year.

In an overview of its efforts at the first council session for the year, Mitchell told councilmembers that the city has spent $640,000 on programs directed to people who have made El Cajon streets their home. While the city will be spending that much again this year, Mitchell challenged the smaller cities around El Cajon (Santee, La Mesa, and Lemon Grove) to make similar efforts.

“We are doing far more than what our neighbors have been doing,” Mitchell said.

UMOJA JAZZ AND JOKES FEB. 21 AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE

Source: Cuyamaca College
 
January 26, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) -- Enjoy an evening of laughter and live music with the Cuyamaca College Umoja Scholars community as a scholarship fundraiser, "Jazz & Jokes," 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, at the Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre.
 
A VIP reception for $25 from 6:30-7:30 includes the price of admission, which is $5 for students and $10 for general admission. Tickets are available online.

ALL 4 SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES IN DISTRICT 2 WILL APPEAR AT FORUM JAN. 29 IN LA MESA HOSTED BY GMIA AND EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

Residents encouraged to submit questions for candidates 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Joel Anderson, Kenya Taylor, Brian Sesko, and Steve Vaus.

January 15, 2020 (La Mesa) -- A forum for candidates seeking to fill the District 2 county supervisor seat will be held Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Murdock Elementary School (4354 Conrad. Drive, La Mesa). The forum is sponsored by the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association, along with East County Magazine.

All four candidates running for the East County seat have indicated they will attend. The candidates are former state Senator Joel Anderson, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, Kenya Taylor, co-chair of the Southeastern Live Well Center Health Workgroup, and Brian Sesko, Broker and General Contractor. Click their names to view their websites and learn more about their stances and priorities.

The candidates are running to succeed County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who is leaving office after 28 years because of term limits.

Residents are encouraged to submit questions for consideration in advance to editor@eastcountymagazine.org or to yourGMIAneighbor@gmail.com.  Written questions will also be accepted at the forum. 

ECHO CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE OFFERS FEBRUARY CONCERTS TO LOVE

East County News Service
 
January 24, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) -- The ECHO Chamber Music Series offers internationally-acclaimed musicians who have performed across the globe. All performances are at the Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre at Cuyamaca College.
 

HOT TOPICS: EL CAJON REALTORS GROUP DISCUSSING MEASURES A, B AND FIRE INSURANCE JAN. 31

East County News Service
 
January 24, 2020 (East County) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, will host a presentation on Measures A and B, two March primary ballot measures that address housing development in semi-rural and rural, unincorporated areas of San Diego County, starting at 9 a.m., Friday, Jan. 31, at its PSAR East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. The public is invited to attend.
 
PSAR is recommending a no vote on Measure A and yes vote on Measure B for the March California Primary Election. Speaking on Measures A and B will be Tony Manolatos, a political consultant and principal with Manolatos Nelson Murphy.
 
Voting by mail begins Feb. 3 and Election Day is a month later.

THREE FIREFIGHTERS KILLED IN PLANE CRASH BATTLING AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES: C-130 CONDUCTED CAL-FIRE TRAINING, FOUGHT CALIFORNIA FIRESTORMS

Victims were firefighters from Wyoming, Arizona and Florida

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom's office:  C-130 that crashed in Australia today is same one shown in photo at McClellan Air Base during an event last August attended by Newsom.

January 23, 2020 (Ramona) – A plane used to fight California wildfires last year and to train Cal-Fire pilots has crashed while fighting brush fires in Australia, killing three U.S. firefighters. A C-130 was in Ramona last August to train future pilots.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft built by Lockheed Martin and repurposed to fight fires was operated by Coulson Aviation of Canada, which has grounded its fleet to re-assess safety conditions and honor the victims.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of the crew from Tanker 134 that wre lost during a tragic crash while battling the devastating Australia fires.  Cal Fire stands with you during this difficult time,” Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said.

Governor Gavin Newsom voiced condolences to families of the crew and Cal Fire for the loss of “three heroic American firefighters”  He adds, “This tragic accident reminds us all of the too-high cost of the scourge of wildfires, as well as the sacrifice of first responders from around the world. California and Australia, already united by the deadly threat of wildfires, now grieve this tragic loss together.”

LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESS, MOVES AHEAD ON GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AND HOUSING PLANNING

 

Girl Scouts unveil "Lemon Ups," official new city cookie

By Kathleen Connell

January 23, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- On January 21st, Lemon Grove leaders kicked off the new year in a well-attended meeting, with many citizens clearly interested in the medical marijuana dispensary item on the agenda.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL HOLDS TOWN HALL MEETING THIS THURS. JAN. 23

 
January 23, 2020 (La Mesa) --Tonight, the La Mesa City Council will host a Town Hall Meeting. This open-forum session provides an opportunity for citizens to share their concerns, ideas, and opinions on issues in their neighborhood and throughout the City. The meeting will be held  at Maryland Avenue Elementary, 5400 Maryland Avenue, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
 
The Town Hall Meeting is intended as a means for citizens to learn about City services, state what they like about La Mesa, how they envision the future of their city, and to express concerns. Members of the City Council and City staff will be present. Additionally, information will be available about the City’s Climate Action Plan, crime prevention, emergency preparedness, and recreation classes.

CARZIS CHARGED AND RELEASED: ARRAIGNMENT SET FOR FEB. 24

By Miriam Raftery

File photo: Peter Carzis addressing La Mesa City Council i 2016

January 23, 2020 (La Mesa) – The District Attorney’s office has charged Peer Carzis, 76, owner of  Peter’s Mens Apparel in La Mesa, with one count of felony vandalism and three counts of misdemeanor battery stemming from an altercation with members of the media on January 20th.  Videos posted at multiple media sights showed Carzis punching and pushing several photographers, also destroying a $7,000 camera.

An additional misdemeanor charge of committing a lewd act in public on January 18 was also issued against Carzis.A video that went viral on social media appeared to show Carzis reaching under a woman's shirt to fondle her breasts while she was straddling his lap on a sidewalk in front of his store in the La Mesa downtown village.

READER’S EDITORIAL: AL FRESCO DINING AND HEALTHY CHOICES DURING SAN DIEGO 2020 RESTAURANT WEEK

By Dana Stevens, Executive Director, Community Action Service & Advocacy
 
January 21, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - Let’s embrace healthy living in 2020, as we head into San Diego’s 2020 Restaurant Week (January 19-26). Let’s dine at restaurants that offer smoke-free outdoor dining patios as well as healthy, fresh, delicious food.

JULIAN MAN ARRESTED FOR STRIKING, KILLING CYCLIST ON DEHESA ROAD: CHP SEEKS WITNESS WHO FOLLOWED HIT AND RUN DRIVER

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A bicyclist, 56, has died of injuries suffered yesterday when a Mitsubishi Mirage struck him from behind on Dehesa Road east of Willow Glen Drive. The Mitsubishi’s driver, Craig Wendell Nelson, 56, of Julian fled the scene and was arrested by the California Highway Patrol after a helicopter spotted him hiding in brush along Sloane Canyon Rd. south of Dehesa Rd. in unincorporated El Cajon.

The California Highway Patrol wants to locate the driver of a vehicle that turned around at the scene of the collision and followed the Mitsubishi, or anyone else with information on the fatal accident. If you have any information, please call Officer Wilson or Officer Harris at the CHP at 619-401-2000.

According to Officer Travis Garrow, Nelson was traveling eastbound on Dehesa Rd. east of Willow Glen Drive when for reasons still under investigation, his vehicle veered into the marked bike lane and struck the rider, who was ejected onto the roadway. The bicyclist was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego where he later died of his injuries.  Nelson has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run.

MEN’S CLOTHING STORE OWNER PETER CARZIS ARRESTED AFTER ATTACKS ON NEWS PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LEWD ACT CAUGHT ON VIDEO IN LA MESA

Update January 21:  Peter Carzis was arrested this morning in San DIego for felony vandalism and misdemeanor battery on multiple reporters, Lt. Greg Runge has informed ECM,.  He is accused of destroying a camera valued at $7,000. In addition, La Mesa Police will  also be sending two reports for lewd acts in public and misdemeanor battery from a spitting incident on Saturday to the District Attorney “recommending prosecution on all charges."

Lt. Runge also confirmed that Carzis, 76, “is undergoing a medical evaluation at a local hospital prior to being cleared for booking.”  The LMPD lieutenant concluded, “I hope this will bring closure for all concerned.”

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left, via Fox News Twitter feed and 10 News, an ECM news partner

January 20, 2020 (La Mesa) – Peter Carzis, owner of Peter’s Men’s Apparel in downtown La Mesa, is wanted for questioning by police tonight for  misdemeanor battery and felony property destruction after violently  attacking at least three news photographers today. He is also wanted by police for complaints filed over a lewd act in public caught on video Saturday and posted on Twitter, as well as for an additional battery complaint after he allegedly spit on a passerby over the weekend.

“Mr. Carzis was no longer on scene when officer went to talk to him and his whereabouts are currently unknown, so he has not been arrested. We are currently attempting to locate him so we can continue the investigation,” Lt. Greg Runge with La Mesa Police Department said in an e-mail to ECM this evening “The Investigations Division has the reports and Detectives are conducting follow up on both cases. If anyone as information regarding these cases, they are encouraged to contact us at (619)667-1400.”

CALLING ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS IN BORREGO SPRINGS

East County News Service
 
January 19, 2020 (Borrego Springs) - The Under The Sun Foundation is organizing a photography exhibition for the 2020 Candlewood Arts Festival and invites you to submit your works for consideration.
 
They are looking for photographic works that visualize your Borrego Springs - images that capture the essence of this unique community and the special sense of place cultivated in this corner of the Sonoran Desert.
 
The works selected for the exhibition will be put on display in the old library space in The Mall during the upcoming Candlewood Arts Festival, from February 29 - March 29, 2020.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER

January 19, 2019 (San Diego) – Robert Gehr shot this photo of the illusive California Gnatcatcher (Polioptilla Californica) at the waterscape in downtown El Cajon as this tiny male bird flitted about, snatching small insects from the air as its food source.
 
“Listed as a threatened species, these uncommon feathered friends are interesting to watch as they forage for a meal,” says Gehr.

GROSSMONT SUPERINTENDENT SLAMS CAJON VALLEY BOARD OVER PROPOSED CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

"I've heard that it's been communicated that Grossmont High School District was fully aware of this charter petition. I need to say this is simply not true. That communication never took place until yesterday.  In fact, quite the opposite.” --GUHSD Superintendent TIm Glover (photo, left)

January 18, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Observers of the political hijinks which have become customary at meetings of the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) board of trustees were not disappointed at the last regular meeting for the year on December 17th

The meeting started with school board President Tamara Otero advising her fellow board members “to be careful in any contact” with Board Trustee Jill Barto in light of Barto’s recently filed federal civil rights lawsuit.

Then the spotlight shifted to Grossmont Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Glover. Glover visibly caught the board off guard when he addressed the trustees, raising objections to Cajon Valley’s preliminary plan to expand and start a new charter high school (grades 9 to 12) at the site of the district’s Bostonia Language Academy, which encompasses kindergarten to eighth grade. The new charter school would be called the “Bostonia Global Charter School.”

SKYLINE RETIREMENT CENTER, AVENTINE CONDOS AND GENERAL PLAN CLEANUP TO BE HEARD BY SUPERVISORS JAN. 29

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 18, 2020 (San Diego) – On January 29, County Supervisors’ agenda will include a proposed general plan amendment that includes a general plan clean-up and amendments to allow two developments proposed in East County: the Skyline Retirement Center proposed on Campo Road on undeveloped land near Skyline Church near Rancho San Diego, and the Aventine condominium project with 92 units proposed at Sweetwater Springs Blvd. near Austin in Spring Valley. 
 
The general plan amendment will be heard in the Board Chambers on January 29, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. at the County Administration Center (CAC) located in downtown San Diego at 1600 Pacific Highway on the north end of the third floor. 

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