People Power

Inspiring Stories from San Diego's Eastern Region

ROCK CHURCH GIVING AWAY FREE FOOD TO FAMLIES IN NEED N EL CAJON, CITY HEIGHTS AND SAN MARCOS

Partnering With Local Businesses To Connect Resources With Those In Need

East County News Service; photo CC via Bing

March 3, 2021 (San Diego) – Rock Church is hosting three community distributions of free food, diapers and supplies to help those in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The dates and locations are:

Thursday, March 4 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church San Marcos (1370 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos)

Thursday, March 11 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church City Heights (4001 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego)

Tuesday, March 16 at 12 p.m., the Rock Church East County campus (808 Jackman Campus, EL Cajon)


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY CHILD SUPPORT SERVICE RECOGNIZED BY DHHS FOR OUTREACH EFFORTS

By Donnie Ryan, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  the San Diego County Department of Child Support Services was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its innovative bilingual outreach program.

February 11, 2021 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its outreach efforts in 2020 to be inclusive to all members of the diverse San Diego community.


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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT ALPINE’S LIONS TIGERS & BEARS ANIMAL SANCTUARY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo at left of volunteer measuring animal meals  courtesy of Lions Tigers & Bears 

Feb. 3, 2021 (Alpine) -- Veterinary students, animal lovers, high school students getting their volunteer hours in, young and old volunteers are wanted, and needed, at Alpine’s Lions, Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary.

“Making bear food, helping with landscaping, and office work” are just a few of the tasks volunteers can assist with, said founder Bobbi Brink during a phone interview.

“Volunteers receive passes, behind-the-scenes access, t-shirts,” said Brink.  “We also have two volunteer appreciation events each year,” among other tangible rewards, she added.

The intangible rewards include seeing animals such as lions, tigers and bears on-the-job.


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EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS HELP FEED SHERMAN HEIGHTS DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Mimi Pollack 
 
January 29, 2021 (La Mesa) -- 2020 was the year of the pandemic that brought shock, tragedy, and a big change to life as we knew it. It was also the year that proved to be a catalyst for those who started second careers or were moved to donate time and money to help others as many communities were hit hard by COVID-19.

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STAR TREK ACTOR BEAMS INTO LA MESA COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY TO HONOR JAPANESE-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST FRED KOREMATSU

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2021 (La Mesa) – This Tuesday, January 26th, the city of La Mesa will proclaim January 30th as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties. The proclamation honors the late civil rights activist, who fought for the rights and freedoms of Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps during World War II.

During a 6 p.m. City Council meeting held via Zoom, special guests beaming in remotely will include Korematsu’s daughter, Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute as well as actor George Takei, best known for portraying Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu (right) in the original Star Trek TV series and later, Captain Sulu in Star Trek: Voyager. 


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HOW THE PANDEMIC LED TO HORSES AND SECOND ACTS

By Mimi Pollack
 
January 22, 2021 (El Cajon) -- 2020 was a strange, difficult, and even transformative year for so many. In my case, the pandemic made me feel very mortal and I decided to start checking things off my “bucket list.” First up was going back to horseback riding after 20 years of not riding or being in the horse world.

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SANTEE COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN PROMOTING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Source: Santee Collaborative
 
Photo: Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
January 13, 2021 (Santee) – The Santee Collaborative, a one-stop resource center for Santee students and families, has launched a new campaign to reflect and educate people about Santee’s changing demographics.
 
“The city is experiencing a positive change in demographics that make it a much more diverse community than in the past,” a press release from the Santee Collaborative states.
 
The student population for Santee School District reflects growing diversity with only 54% white, not Hispanic (CDE, Dataquest). The white population includes Middle Eastern families, and it is estimated that Middle Eastern students make up between 4-5% of the students in the school district. These are students whose first language is Arabic, Kurdish, Chaldean, Farsi, Hebrew, or Assyrian. There are 29 languages spoken by families who attend Santee School District from all over the world.  This makes Santee a very diverse community with students of different races, ethnicities and religions all living together. 

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ALS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES $25K YEAR-END MATCHING DONATION CHALLENGE THROUGH DEC. 31

East County News Service

December 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter has announced a year-end, matching donation challenge that’s part of a $25,000 donation from Rick Greenberg, a retired San Diego sports medicine physician.


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PYGMY HIPPO CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY WITH ZOOM PARTY AND CAKE IN RAMONA

Hannah Shirley’s wildlife friends surprise her with socially distanced well-wishes
 
Source: Ramona Wildlife Center
 
December 20, 2020 (Ramona) — North America’s oldest living pygmy hippo, Hannah Shirley, celebrated her 47th birthday Thursday at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center today with a Zoom party and cake. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hannah Shirley was not able to get together with her friends, but that didn’t dampen the celebration, which included a cake made out of her favorite grains, fruit and veggies all held together with pumpkin purée  —and yummy cucumber-melon water in a big bucket. Hannah Shirley’s caretakers set up a “living room” in her habitat for her party, with pumpkin goodies, photos of her friends (including other sanctuary animals), a Zoom feed and a number of enrichment stations. Despite being a nocturnal animal, Hannah Shirley decided to take part and enjoy the occasion.
 

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DEL MAR HIGHLANDS TOWN CENTER GIVES LAKESIDE CHILD THE GIFT OF JOY FOR HOLIDAY SEASON

Center gives family huge holiday sea star after it sparked joy and smiles from a 5-year-old girl who suffers from CDKL5 deficiency disorder. The 6+ foot holiday sea star was delivered to Brooklynn Jarvis yesterday, Dec. 19.
 
Source: Del Mar Highlights Town Center
 
December 20, 2020 (Lakeside) – Del Mar Highlands Town Center is showing the spirit of the season with its surprise gift to a local customer who had a joyful experience on property in December.
 
Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s annual holiday “’Tis the Sea Sun” display features larger than life décor, from a towering 36-foot Christmas tree made of 44 surfboards to bright orange holiday sea stars adorning Santa’s red hat. When the Jarvis family visited Del Mar Highlands Town Center in early December, little did they know they would get the holiday spirit in action.
 
Their daughter, Brooklynn Jarvis (age 5) suffers from CDKL5 deficiency disorder. She has had seizures since she was two months old and suffers with severe developmental problems. She loves bright colors and lights so when the family came upon the "tis the sea sun” themed holiday decor created by Shine Illumination, Brooklynn beamed with a beautiful smile. Her family was so excited they shared pictures of this incredible moment for their daughter at the Center with support groups on Facebook.
 

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ALPINE’S JEFF CAMPBELL’S GIFT BAG DRIVE, A HOLIDAY COLLECTION TRADITION BENEFITING CHARITIES, NOW IN ITS 22ND YEAR

East County News Service

December 20, 2020 (Alpine) – Alpine real estate broker Jeff Campbell of San Diego Estates is celebrating his 22nd annual Gift Bag Drive, a holiday collection drive benefiting several local charities.

More than 25 businesses in Alpine, including banks, retail stores, insurance offices and coffee shops, have hosted collection bins where residents have donated nonperishable canned food items, personal hygiene items and unwrapped children’s toys beginning in mid-November, said Campbell. New this year has been a donation of several hundred jackets, shirts and hoodies from an El Centro-based embroidery company that closed its doors.

Campbell said the deadline for donations is Tuesday, Dec. 22.


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SHANE HARRIS HOSTS CHRISTMAS DAY EVENT FOR FOSTER CHILDREN: DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 19, 2020 (San Diego) – The  Fourth Annual Shane Harris Community Christmas Day Breakfast for foster youths will be held on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020 between 8:00 a.m. and 11 a.m.at the Jacobs Center 404 Euclid Ave. San Diego. The event is at capacity, with 800 families registered to attend.

 

Volunteers are needed, as well as donations to provide each family with toys and gifts for children of all ages and a gift-card to a local restaurant for a holiday breakfast.  


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REPURPOSING YOUR LIFE AFTER UNEMPLOYMENT WITH TRUCK DRIVING TRAINING

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos courtesy of Advanced Training Systems) 

Dec. 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) Women faced with sudden job loss from the pandemic may consider going to truck driving school to repurpose their life and source of income.

ECM interviewed CEO John Kearney of Advanced Training Systems via email for his insights and tips on pursing a career in truck driving.

ECM: What are the costs and/or scholarships for the training?

Kearney: Costs vary depending on school, public or private.  Costs are the same for men and women. Women should contact the Women in Trucking Association to learn what the possibilities are and how women in trucking is really a growing field.  Some high schools have a driver training program, and the cost is very low because students take the driver training program as part of their regular school program.  Many trucking schools that have training programs will train the student without cost unless they quit soon after the training.  Costs for many of the programs can run from $4,000 to just under $7,000.  I suggest that individuals interested in driving contact local schools, trucking companies and the workforce agencies in their area to determine the local possibilities.  Workforce will often help with the cost of the training.  


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JULIAN FAMILY LOSES HOME TO FIRE: UNINSURED LOSSES INCLUDE TOYS, CHILDREN’S LAPTOPS NEEDED FOR SCHOOL

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 14, 2020 (Julian) – A GoFundMe page has been set up by Julian community members to help the Lares family members, who lost everything in a fire at their home yesterday. 

 

“Perla Lares, a Senior at Julian High School served as Teen Miss Julian Princess in 2018 and 2019, dedicating many hours to community service for Julian and San Diego County.  Her brother, Gabe, is a Freshman at Julian High School,” says Jill Fleming, who started the fundraising page.


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COUNTY HAS ABOUT $4 MILLION FOR NON-PROFITS SERVING PEOPLE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Image credit:  Shutterstock

December 13, 2020 (San Diego) - Do you run a non-profit organization which serves low and moderate-income people who’ve been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic?


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LEMON GROVE RESIDENT WINS 10TH ANNUAL HOEHN MOTORS LUXURY CAR RAFFLE TO BENEFIT RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE

East County News Service

Photo courtesy of Hoehn Motors: Winner Thomas A. Schaefer had a choice of these vehicles

December 12, 2020 (Lemon Grove) --  Raising $320,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Diego to support families with a child in a medical crisis, the 10th Annual Hoehn Motors Luxury Car Raffle concluded last week, naming Thomas A. Schaefer of Lemon Grove, the grand prize winner. 


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COUNTY HAS ABOUT $4 MILLION FOR NON-PROFITS SERVING PEOPLE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Do you run a non-profit organization which serves low and moderate-income people who’ve been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic?

If so, you may qualify for a share of about $4 million from the County Housing and Community Development Services’ Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

The funds are available for projects in the following areas:


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KAREN DEVOS, SPRING VALLEY KNITTER EXTRAORDINAIRE, HELPS HOMELESS STAY WARM IN WINTER

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo of Karen DeVos courtesy of Nancy Rinard)                  

Dec. 3, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- Covenant Living at Mount Miguel, located in Spring Valley, has a resident devoted to helping others via her knitting needles.  That resident is Karen DeVos, a retired teacher and librarian. Her brand of inspiration is knitting beanies, sweaters, and even personalized Christmas stockings.  But in particular, she likes to donate her warm, soft beanies to the homeless.

DeVos donated 45 beanie caps to the homeless choir in San Diego, known as Voices of our City Choir. The group has been featured performing on America’s Got Talent. That connection to Voices of our City Choir came about after meeting Rob Thorsen, a bass player, who is married to the choir co-founder, Steph Johnson, at a jazz performance.

DeVos, 83, and her husband, John, 89, have lived in the Spring Valley facility for several years. They moved to California to be closer to their daughter and grandkids. The pandemic has curtailed socializing and getting to know other residents well, but she hopes that will change in the future.

“We wanted to bond with our grandchildren,” said DeVos. She has achieved that desire during the COVID19 pandemic through Zoom meetings and by reading books to them such as  “Summer of the Monkeys” by Wilson Rawls.


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EMPTY CHAIR AT THE HOLIDAY TABLE CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS STORIES OF LOSS CAUSED BY “FAILED” WAR ON DRUGS

During the dual crisis of COVID-19 and opioid overdose, Moms United to End the War on Drugs Campaign representatives speak out to reduce stigma and promote harm reduction strategies during the holidays 

Source: Moms United to End the War On Drugs

 

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) -- The holidays can be a particularly painful time for families who are missing a loved one at their holiday gathering. Each holiday season mothers across the globe are joining Moms United to End the War on Drugs “Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Campaign by sharing photos of the empty chair with a picture of a lost or missing loved one due to the War on Drugs. These photos represent the tens of millions of families that have been ravaged by punitive prohibition policies, whether it is separation due to a loved one’s incarceration; an accidental overdose; their being harmed or killed by drug war violence; or their being lost on the streets due to drug problems. During the isolation of the pandemic, this holiday season can be particularly troubling for families who have a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder, and a dangerous time for vulnerable at-risk communities.


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SECRET HOLIDAY HELPER DONATES OVER $30,000 TO HELP FAMILIES IN NEED THIS THANKSGIVING

 

East County News Service

View video: https://vimeo.com/483714601  

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) -- Lots of smiles, tears of joy, surprise and speechless reactions greeted Sheriff's Deputies Saturday who partnered with a holiday helper for a mission of kindness. The local businessman, who asked to stay anonymous, donated $30,000 in cash and $2,000 in grocery gift cards to help struggling local families.


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LEMON GROVE TOY DRIVE ALSO AIDS LOCAL BUSINESSES

By Councilmember-Elect Liana LeBaron

Photo:  Aubree Russell from Kids Fashion Network and Liana LeBaron with Alonso, the owner of family run Islander Grill on Broadway in Lemon Grove

November 24, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Kids Fashion Week Network and Lemon Grove Parents United present a community centered Lemon Grove Toy Drive. To accommodate varying preferences, toys can be dropped off at the COVID-friendly drive though event at Treganza Heritage Park, 3200 Main St. in Lemon Grove on Dec. 13th from 1-3 p.m. or at any of the participating Lemon Grove Mom-and-Pop local businesses now through Dec. 12.

All wanting to experience neighborly holiday cheer are invited to come on December 13th to donate their toy in the city’s beautiful and historically rich Treganza Park. Those who donate at the event can pick up a cup of hot chocolate provided by Nitro Monkey Coffee as a small thank you gesture. Thoughtful shoppers can also shop at the hyper-local Lemon Grove vendor tables that will be selling hot items ranging from handmade pet clothing to handmade holiday ornaments.


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A LIFE OF GIVING BACK: AARP CALIFORNIA AWARDS STATE’S HIGHEST HONOR TO FOUNDER OF VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE CLINIC IN EL CAJON

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

November 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A San Diego man has won AARP California's Andrus Award - the organization's highest honor. At age 85, Stuart Harvey is a retired civil engineer and a founding board member of the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic in El Cajon.


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UNION BANK SURPRISES PINK ROSE CAFÉ OWNER IN LA MESA WITH $5,000 GIFT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Sandra Small, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce
 
November 22, 2020 (La Mesa)  -- After Union Bank of La Mesa burned down amid civil unrest on May 31, Nadia Zamora, owner of the Pink Rose Café, organized on social media to collect messages of hope, love and peace. She and other volunteers hung those messages on a safety fence around the rubble of the burned bank. 

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MAKE THE HOLIDAY BRIGHTER FOR HOMEBOUND LA MESA SENIORS

East County News Service

 

November 21, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce is seeking donated items to brighten the holidays for 24 homebound seniors in La Mesa. All items must be received by Friday, November 27, 2020, to be included in the senior gift bags and baskets.

 

All of the gifts are wrapped and placed in decorative baskets, so that our seniors receive these gifts with a festive flair. 


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USPS OPERATION SANTA 2020 – THE DOCUMENTARY AND THE PROGRAM

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo courtesy of USPS)

Nov.  21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The United States Postal Services’ USPS Operation Santa 2020 will offer the opportunity for you to be Santa’s helper and more, even during the pandemic. 

December 4 is the world premiere of ‘Dear Santa,’ a documentary, on the program.  The program offers the opportunity to read digital letters sent to Santa and adopt a family or child by buying gifts. Or for the young and young-at-heart to send in a letter.

“The 108-year-old program that fulfills wish lists for needy families and kids couldn’t come at a more crucial juncture,” postal service spokeswoman Kim Frum told USA TODAY.


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SAFELY GIVE YOUR TIME AND MONEY TO CHARITIES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON—EVEN IN A PANDEMIC

By Brent Wakefield, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels San Diego County 

November 19, 2020 (San Diego) -- This holiday season, charitable giving and volunteering will look a lot different, thanks to COVID-19. The need for volunteers and donations is greater than ever as millions more people than usual struggle amid the pandemic’s economic disruption.


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JOIN LA MESA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND ASSIST CHILDREN OF MILITARY FAMILIES IN LA MESA MILITARY HOUSING

Source: La Mesa Chamber of Commerce
Photo: CC by NC-ND
 
November 18, 2020 (La Mesa) - Want to make a difference this holiday season for the children of military personnel who live in La Mesa military housing? Then join the members of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and purchase toys, diapers, gift cards and other items that will make their holiday season special. 
 
The Chamber is again coordinating this holiday project with Lincoln Military Housing and are collecting toys, diapers and other items for children of military families living in La Mesa military housing between the ages of 2 -13 years old. Lincoln Military Housing facilitates holiday events for over 2,000 military children within our region. This project allows the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce to continue their commitment to making a difference in La Mesa and the lives of those within our community.

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COMPUTERS FOR FOSTER KIDS

 
By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
 
Several local foster families received an early holiday present yesterday: a computer.
 
The families received the free computers as part of the 20th annual Computers for Foster Families Program. The collaborative effort between the County of San Diego and the San Diego Futures Foundation is especially important this year, as many children are distance learning due to COVID-19.

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EAST COUNTY TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER RECEIVES LARGE BLANKET DONATION FROM SUBARU OF EL CAJON

Source: East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC)

November 12, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., East County Transitional Living Center will be accepting a generous donation of 80 blankets from the local El Cajon, Subaru dealer. “The Center is thrilled to receive great contributions like this from a wonderful local business so they can continue to help homeless and struggling individuals in the community,” says Helen Zamora, director of development at the ECTLC.

Subaru of El Cajon is teaming up with Beantown Blankets, an organization that helps businesses and people donate blankets, beanies, bags, and more to good causes to provide the contribution of blankets. Beartown Blankets also matches whatever amount the individual or business buys to donate.

Click Read more to hear about ECTLC's mission, vision, and virtual Gala fundraiser Saturday.


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BOBCAT BURNED IN EL DORADO FIRE TURNS CORNER AT RAMONA WILDLIFE CENTER

By Nina Thompson, San Diego Humane Society
 
November 9, 2020 (Ramona) — A bobcat who arrived at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center with severe burns from the El Dorado Fire in Yucaipa, California, has a good chance of making a full recovery. After nearly a month of intensive treatment by Project Wildlife’s medical team, the bobcat is healing well.
 
The 6- to 8-month-old bobcat arrived at the Ramona Wildlife Center on Oct. 13, 2020, after a call by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CADFW). The warden explained that a citizen from Yucaipa had been out with her dogs when the dogs spotted the bobcat. The dog owner was able to get between the animals to prevent any injuries. The cat was then taken to a veterinary clinic in Grand Terrace. The cat was so growly that veterinary staff hesitated to open the carrier and instead contacted CADFW. Staff at San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife confirmed it was a bobcat by looking at photos and identifying the markings on the animal.

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