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Northside Porch Tour to showcase neighborhood's history and hospitality


Northside will host its 10th annual porch tour at 6-9 p.m. Oct. 10. This year, the tour will include houses along the full lengths of Haight Avenue, North Argyle Place and South Argyle Place as well as portions of Hamilton Avenue. 
 
Two 20-person horse drawn carriages will tour the route, and tour guides will provide information about the history of the houses and porches. Tours will depart from Jergens Park at 1615 Bruce Ave.
 
Carriage rides will cost between $4 and $10 depending on the amount you want to spend to support the Northside Porch Tour. You can also walk the route and take in the tour at your own pace.
 
This year’s tour includes 150 porches, plus thousands of luminaries that will line the route to light the way.
 
Along with the tour, there will be hotdogs provided by Citizens on Patrol, a youth bake sale and music by Northside’s jazz/blues/funk quartet Evanston Kinney. Food and entertainment will also be set up in Jergens Park.
 
The tour is made possible by the Northside Community Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provided funds to offset the cost of the live music and the luminaries.
 

Parklets coming to Covington's downtown and MainStrasse


A new People’s Liberty project called Curb’d will set up shop in Covington’s central business district and MainStrasse next spring to turn ordinary parking spaces into miniature parks, or parklets. It’s a concept People’s Liberty tried this summer as a temporary project outside its Over-the-Rhine headquarters.
 
Cincinnati is no stranger to parklets. The first was installed outside of Tucker’s restaurant in Over-the-Rhine in 2012, and a number of them were built along Pleasant Street as part of the pedestrian walkway proposed by UC’s MetroLab. Park + Vine also had a parklet installed last year.
 
Parklets can host any activity from extended seating for restaurants to a swing set or a small movie theater.
 
Curb’d will soon begin accepting applications from Covington businesses that are interested in turning one of their curb-side parking spaces into a parklet. If a business is chosen to receive a parklet, People’s Liberty would match it with an organization that would install it.
 
People’s Liberty will fund five parklets in Covington, including reimbursements to the city for lost parking meter revenue. Each parklet will cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and be active from May to October 2016.
 
Covington was also recently chosen as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Great American Main Street Award. The award is given by the National Main Street Center, whose next step is trimming the number down to five. If Covington makes it to the final round, representatives from the National Main Street Center will come here to shoot a video that will depict why Covington deserves to win. The winner will be announced at the organization’s national conference next year in Milwaukee.
 

Fuel Cincinnati awards micro grants to 3 community programs


Fuel Cincinnati, the grant-making arm of Give Back Cincinnati, recently awarded grants to three local nonprofit organizations to help them launch new ideas or projects focused around education, community building, diversity and the environment.
 
The long-running Cincinnati Film Festival received a $2,500 grant to expand its offerings during the nine-day event, scheduled this year for Sept. 10-20. The 100-film festival will begin with a special invitation-only screening, followed by shorts, features, narratives and documentaries as well as filmmaker workshops, post-film Q&As and an awards ceremony.
 
Pub Inc., a resource center for new and professional authors, also received a $2,500 grant. The organization’s mission is to challenge authors to envision the future of entrepreneurship while also providing them the tools to make publishing their work a reality. Pub Inc. targets low-income authors in order to provide a secondary source of income to help them become more self-sufficient and not rely on public assistance.
 
A $2,500 grant was awarded to Under the Stars, a weeklong outdoor immersion program that will help foster fun, friends and family for recently emancipated youth. The program will be held at YMCA Camp and will help kids face the future by helping them build strong support networks, teach them networking skills, connect them with mentors and introduce them to resources within the community.
 
Fuel Cincinnati is also launching a new campaign, #WeFuelCincy, to highlight how community leaders have used and are using their vision, passion and ideas to make the city great. Stories will be shared via social media as well as on Fuel Cincinnati’s website.  
 

The Cure Starts Now beer & wine festival relocates, adds art element


The Cure Starts Now hosts its sixth annual Beer, Wine & Food Festival fundraiser this weekend, providing an opportunity to sample 80 craft beers and wines, try food from a number of vendors and enjoy music from local acts. By the end of the summer, The Cure Starts Now will have received over $5 million in research funding to help find a cure for childhood cancers.

The festival has been outgrowing its location in Glendale and organizers wanted to add a number of new elements, so they’ve moved it to downtown Wyoming, where it’s expected to draw its largest crowd yet.
 
“Wyoming allows us the space to grow, and the city deeply believes in our mission, which speaks volumes when trying to execute an event,” says Brooke Desserich, founder of the Cincinnati chapter of The Cure Starts Now.
 
Also new this year is the Street Chalk Art exhibition, which will feature artists recreating masterpieces from Edward Hopper, Michelangelo and Monet in the street. Kids will also have the chance to try their hand at a masterpiece and draw alongside the professional artists.
 
With this addition, The Cure Starts Now goes back to its artistic roots. When the founder of the nonprofit’s daughter Elena was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, she used drawing as an outlet. Her painting entitled “I Love You” was installed in the Cincinnati Art Museum next to a painting by her hero, Pablo Picasso. That painting became the organization’s first fundraiser and now serves as the inspiration behind its logo.
 
“We’re proud to be bringing art back into our events through the Street Chalk Art exhibition in memory of Elena and all children who are battling cancer,” Desserich says. “Art is what built our charity, and being able to offer these masterpieces in a unique way will be incredible.”
 
A number of local breweries and wineries will be present, including Bent Tree Winery, Burnet Ridge Winery, MadTree Brewing, Rivertown Brewing and Stone Brewing Co., as well as offerings from popular national craft breweries and some sneak peaks of seasonal brews.
 
Food will be available for purchase from Best Thing Smokin, Distasi Banquet Center, Just Jerks, Fireside Pizza, Pit to Plate BBQ, Renegade Street Eats, Schell’s Sweet Sensations, Urban Grill Food Truck, Wicked Hickory and Wyoming Meat Market.
 
The Beer, Wine & Food Festival will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 28 and from noon to midnight on Aug. 29, with The Websters with Ricky Nye highlighting Friday night and The Carter New Band on Saturday. Non-tasting admission is $10 and tasting admission is $30, which includes a wristband and five tasting tickets.
 
For the first time, there’s also a VIP experience available for purchase. Guests will receive unlimited tastings and a commemorative glass and are invited to a VIP reception 5-6 p.m. on Friday. The cost is $50, and you must be 21 or older to purchase the VIP admission.
 

Cincinnati's local food movement spurred by Partners for Places grant


The City of Cincinnati recently received a $105,000 Partners for Places grant to help strengthen the area’s local food ecosystem by supporting civic engagement, developing new food policies, creating the Cincy Food Fund and funding food fellowships. The grant was matched by Interact for Health and the Haile Foundation, stretching the potential impact even farther.
 
“Although the food movement can be very foodie and high-end, the robust and growing local food movement is also very sensitive to the underserved populations,” says Brewster Rhoads, outgoing executive director of Green Umbrella. “We’re committed to equity and access to local food, and this helps improve the health and overall welfare of our citizens while also growing small businesses with local dollars.”
 
The grant is being managed and administered by Green Umbrella, whose Local Food Action Team is at the focal point of Cincinnati’s local food movement.
 
“The whole notion of farm-to-table isn’t new,” Rhoads says. “What is new is the level of collaboration that is developing among those who are interested in and engaged in working with food.”
 
As part of this, Interact for Health recently changed its focus from healthcare to prevention, with two of the group’s four main focus areas being active living and healthy eating. The organization is helping develop the region’s walking/biking trails and funded the creation of Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team, which hopes to double the amount of food grown and consumed in the region by 2020.
 
Interact for Health also funded the Assessment of Local Food in Greater Cincinnati, which has lead to the formation of a number of local groups and organizations committed to Cincinnati’s local food movement.
 
“With all of these things falling into place, the food movement is just exploding,” Rhoads says. “There’s a burgeoning restaurant explosion in the region, and not just in Over-the-Rhine. With the growing interest in local food by chefs, they’re sourcing food from the region, which is creating a whole new outlet for growers in the region.”
 
The grants will be used to help provide funding for innovative projects that the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, which was launched three months ago, commissions through its four teams — production, distribution, access and land use. The teams will have funding to support pilot projects in each area of interest.
 
They’ll also be used for the Cincy Food Fund, which is patterned after a similar program in Indianapolis, and to underwrite the Food Fellows, who will do three-month internships that focus on production, distribution, community education and land use.
 
“We’re focusing on helping grow the next generation of food activists,” Rhoads says.
 
Part of this focus on local food comes down to the everyday consumer. Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team is encouraging people to commit themselves to spending 10 percent of their grocery budget on food that’s grown in the region. That act would put almost $50 million back into the local food movement.
 
“By changing this behavior and encouraging people to do this, it will help increase the demand on food grown in the region, and production demand will follow,” Rhoads says. 
 

Cincinnati Development Fund adds nonprofit loan program to redevelopment efforts


The Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) recently unveiled its nonprofit facilities and equipment loan program designed to help nonprofits obtain affordable long-term loans in order to renovate, maintain and improve existing facilities. The program is made possible through a partnership with IFF and a $1.4 million grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation.
 
“The program enables nonprofits to continue to invest in their core missions while also meeting critical facilities and equipment needs,” says Debbie Koo, loan officer for CDF.
 
Loan amounts in the nonprofit loan program can range from $50,000 to more than $1.5 million, providing flexible capital for nonprofits that might not be able to get financing through traditional lenders. An appraisal isn’t required, and CDF can advance up to 95 percent of the project cost.
 
Nonprofits can use the loans for capital projects (acquisition, construction, renovation, leasehold improvements or refinancing); maintenance and improvements (roof repair, new windows, ADA code repairs or HVAC); and capitalized equipment purchases (computer hardware/software, furnishings, medical equipment or service-oriented vehicles).
 
To date, CDF has made loans to Findlay Market for its new incubator kitchen and to Kennedy Heights Art Center. With interest growing in the new program, several other projects are currently in the works.
 
“CDF is focused on revitalizing neighborhoods, which includes providing support for the people who live and work in those communities,” Koo says. “With this program, we are able to expand our reach beyond residential and mixed-use developments to include nonprofit facilities and equipment.

“If we can help improve a nonprofit’s cash flow by providing low-interest, long-term financing, that leaves them more money to invest in their missions. If more nonprofits own their own real estate, they can build equity and strengthen their balance sheets.”
 

Gabriel's Place seeks grant support for Avondale community health initiatives


Gabriel’s Place recently applied for a $25,000 grant from Convergys in order to further its community health initiatives in Avondale. Convergys' Corporate Social Responsibility program centers around issues that impact the community, such as workforce development and skills training, health and wellness, housing, transportation, financial literacy, child care and food security.

"We were introduced to Gabriel's Place during our United Way Service Day," says Karen Ryan, Convergys' director of government and community affairs. "We admired their commitment to not only feeding their neighbors but also their desire to educate and provide for others."

Avondale is considered a food desert, which means that there is no fresh food retailer or grocery store in the neighborhood. Instead, there are lots of fast food restaurants, corner stores and mini-marts. Residents in food deserts generally have poor health outcomes, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and preterm births.
 
Gabriel’s Place served over 8,000 plated meals in 2014 through its Share a Meal program. On Tuesdays, the community comes together for a donation-based, restaurant-style meal designed by a chef and prepared at Gabriel’s Place using fresh ingredients. Volunteer nurses are also on hand to perform health screenings during the meal.
 
There’s also a Thanksgiving Share a Meal event called ThankFALL, which served over 250 people in 2014. The meal is locally sourced and focuses on food and health education.
 
Share a Meal is designed to help start conversations about food, health and heritage. It helps people make healthier choices, and facilitates skills-based learning in the kitchen so Avondale residents can learn to cook and share skills while preparing a weekly meal together. Yes, Gabriel’s Place is always looking for volunteers to help prepare and serve at Share a Meal events.
 
Gabriel’s Place also hosts a weekly farmers market on Thursdays at 4-6 p.m. The majority of the fresh produce sold at the market is grown in the organization’s garden or provided by Pic’s Produce and ranges from $.25 to $2. The farmers market is the only fresh food retailer currently in Avondale.
 
In conjunction with the farmers market, there are plans to offer interactive cooking demonstrations featuring seasonal ingredients. Residents will have the chance to cook alongside a chef, taste-test snacks and take recipes home.
 
Gabriel’s Place also offers two cooking classes. The first is the Jr. Chef Institute, a free eight-week summer culinary education program that's open to high school students who have a passion for food or an interest in pursuing a career in the culinary arts. The program creates a pipeline to the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State and helps prepare kids for jobs in the food industry.

The other cooking class, which is still in the works, will be an eight-week skills-based class that features a basic cooking curriculum designed by Gabriel’s Place. This class will not only teaches the basics but also designed to focus on different aspects of cooking, including healthy meals and meals on a budget.
 
There are also plans to partner with the Hirsch Recreation Center to host dinner theater vignettes with neighborhood performers to showcase Avondale's talent as well as connect residents in a new way.
 

OTR mural to serve as gateway to Brewery District

A mural designed by Keith Neltner of Neltner Small Batch will soon adorn the bricks of 131 E. McMicken Ave, the former site of the Schmidt Brothers/Crown Brewery. Work on the mural has begun, and will be completed Aug. 1.
 
When finished, the mural will depict two men crowning a pint glass of beer. It was funded by grants through ArtWorks, and is being created by Neltner and a team of 15 other artists. It will be the first of three installations to complement the Brewing Heritage Trail.
 
“The mural is inspired by the incredible history and resurgence our city is experiencing,” Neltner says. “This mural features building a monument to beer’s rich history, crowning it (literally) in the Queen City. The ‘Earth rewards’ headline communicates that the earth has given us the raw materials from which we created and built an industry, culture and city. Rich patterns and graphic line work will create stopping power and a dramatic gateway into the Brewery District. Described as ‘blue collar,’ yet urban and contemporary.”
 
The mural will serve as a tourist spot on the Brewing Heritage Trail, as well as a point of interest for the neighborhood.
 
“Murals bring a most beautiful energy and vibrancy into urban spaces,” says Chelsea Koglemeier of Roadtrippers, whose building will host the mural. “I love the way kids are getting involved and people on the street stop to check it out.”

DownTowne Listening Room provides quiet place to enjoy music

The second-floor Club Room in the Shillito building is rarely used. But Scott Skeabeck saw the potential to turn it into a listening room, where patrons can enjoy music in a quieter atmosphere than a bar or coffee house.
 
The DownTowne Listening Room is nonprofit—the $10 entry fee is considered a donation, which goes entirely to the artists. If donations don’t cover the artists’ fee, Skeabeck covers the balance.
 
“I’m bringing back the lost art of live music,” he says. “Yes, there’s live music all over Cincinnati, but not like this. It’s not just live music but original music, too.”
 
Skeabeck pairs out-of-town acts with local performers whose style is similar. “I’m a big Cincinnati promoter, but I wanted to get out-of-town talent because they get the idea of the listening room,” he says.
 
But out-of-town acts don’t necessarily consider Cincinnati a tour destination. It’s easier for artists to get around on the coasts because everything is connected, and the Midwest is a bit off the beaten path. Bringing in out-of-town acts will help fill the room, Skeabeck says, and local acts will really be able to get their name out there.
 
The DownTowne Listening Room will provide free snacks and soft drinks, and patrons are encouraged to BYOB.
 
Upcoming acts include New York pop-rock performer and pianist Julian Verlard on June 13 with Charlie Millikin, a local singer-songwriter, opening; and Philadelphia-based Deirdre Flint on July 19.

CoSign project headed to Covington

On March 27, the American Sign Museum launched its second round of its CoSign project in Covington. The project area is the 400-900 blocks of Madison Avenue, and Seventh and Pike streets between Madison and Washington.
 
The project will last six months, with the unveiling of the new signs on Art off Pike’s 10th anniversary on Sept. 28.
 
CoSign offers a unique opportunity for artists and designers to create new, handcrafted signs for local retailers. It enhances economic activity in neighborhood business districts by pairing artists, small businesses and professional sign fabricators to design and install unique, handcrafted signs for local retailers.
 
Any artist, designer or local business interested in participating in CoSign must attend one of the two workshops, which will be held on April 28 and May 6 at Covington Arts.
 
CoSign, which was launched in Northside in 2012, was developed by the American Sign Museum and The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. In 2013, ArtPlace America granted the Haile Foundation $150,000, which allowed CoSign to expand its efforts in Northside, and repeat in Covington this year. The National Endowment for the Arts also granted Covingotn Arts $50,000 to support the project.
 
Businesses located within the project area are encouraged to apply to the competition. The deadline is April 10.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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ArtsWave receives NEA grant for Arts Atlas project

ArtsWave recently received a $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant to support Arts Atlas Cincinnati, an interactive, web-based geographic information system that is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of the arts assets in the region.
 
Arts Atlas was created to address the social impact metrics for the arts sector. The custom-designed GIS is intended to assist local arts constituents and standardize the measurement of the social impact of the arts. The GIS provides the capability to collect, manage, manipulate, analyze and distribute information that is geographically based to provide a better visual image of patterns and relationships.
 
The site will launch in late 2014, and will be continually updated with data gathered by ArtsWave and other local arts organizations.
 
The NEA Art Works grant supports the creation of art that meets the highest standard of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and enhancing the livability of communities through art. The NEA received 1,528 eligible applications that requested more than $75 million in funding. ArtsWave was one of 895 nonprofit organizations to receive the grant, and one of six in Cincinnati, with a total of $23.4 million in funding overall.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Anna Louise Inn sold after long period of litigation

Western & Southern recently bought the Anna Louise Inn for a reported $4 million. It plans to turn the current site of the Anna Louise into a hotel.
 
Western & Southern first approached Cincinnati Union Bethel, the nonprofit that runs the Anna Louise, with an offer of $1.8 million to buy the building. The offer was declined, and later CUB was awarded $12.6 million in tax credits to renovate the Anna Louise. Days before renovation, Western & Southern sued the non-profit over a zoning issue halting construction. (Read an indepth Soapbox feature about that part of the story here.)
 
After two years of litigation, CUB agreed to sell the Anna Louise. As part of the agreement, CUB will be able to use the tax credits to build a new home for Cincinnati’s struggling women. Residents will live in the current Anna Louise until the new building is completed, which will take about two years.
 
The intended site for the new Anna Louise is at the corner of Reading Road and Kinsey Avenue, on a plot of land that has yet to be purchased. The programming the Anna Louise offers will remain the same, but the residents' living quarters will be quite different.
 
“What residents have now is a dorm room with a bed, desk and dresser and a bathroom down the hall,” says Brittany Ballard, development director for CUB. “The new Anna Louise will include a kitchenette and bathroom in all apartments.”
 
Because the current Anna Louise is a historic building, Western & Southern won’t be able to make changes to the outside of the building.  
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Dress for Success Cincinnati moves to Textile Building

The Textile Building is now home to Dress for Success Cincinnati and 4th Street Boutique. The two businesses moved just 100 feet from their old downtown home of 10 years.
 
DFS opened its new doors yesterday, only 13 days after taking possession of its new space. The layout of the old space wasn’t ideal, says Julie Smith-Morrow, CEO of DFS Cincinnati. But in the new building, 4th Street Boutique is on the ground floor, and the DFS programs are all on the ninth floor.
 
“We hope that our clients will feel inspired by the new space when they come in,” says Smith-Morrow. “As always, we’ll be very welcoming, and will meet them where they are.”
 
DFS Cincinnati is one of 127 affiliates in 15 countries that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and life. It was founded in the Queen City in 1999, and has served more than 11,000 women in the area. 4th Street Boutique sells women’s new and gently-used clothing, and its net proceeds support DFS.
 
“We’re really excited about the move—it’s something we’ve wanted to do for years,” says Smith-Morrow. “We’ve had lots of help from the community, which has helped us succeed. We hope to be able to help women get to work, keep their jobs, develop careers and be successful in life.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Five Uptown organizations receive awards for community commitment

On Friday, members of the Uptown community gathered for the Uptown Business Celebration, presented by Uptown Consortium and Uptown Rentals/North American Properties. Five Uptown organizations walked away with awards for business excellence and commitment to the community.
 
In order to be eligible for an award, businesses demonstrated strong commitment to the Uptown community, success in meeting the organization’s mission and sustainable businesses practices. They also encouraged others to follow their lead. Awards were given in five categories: Small Nonprofit of the Year (25 of fewer employees), Large Nonprofit of the Year (more than 25 employees), Community Champion, Small Business of the Year (50 or fewer employees) and Large Business of the Year (50 or more employees).
 
The Small Nonprofit award went to the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation and Large Nonprofit to Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center. Avondale resident and avid volunteer Patricia Milton won the Community Champion award; the Small Business award went to UC's DuBois Bookstore; and the Large Business award to Uptown Rental Properties.
 
Keynote speaker Benjamin Carson, Sr., M.D., overcame poverty and a rough childhood, and is currently a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has directed the pediatric neurosurgery program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for more than 25 years. Carson's many awards include 60 honorary doctorate degrees and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor.
 
Carson encouraged those at the awards ceremony to “elevate themselves” to make things better. He also shared his philosophy of success, which is “THINK BIG—talent, honesty, insight, nice, knowledge, book, in-depth learning and God.”
 
Uptown neighborhoods are Avondale, Clifton, Corryville, Clifton Heights, Fairview, University Heights and Mt. Auburn.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Emery lights back up April 12-14

Dance, art and music fill the Emery Theatre in Over the Rhine this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Contemporary Dance Theatre as well as the return of MusicNOW.

The theatre, which was donated to the city in 1908 thanks to the charitable trust of Mary Emery, is currently owned by the University of Cincinnati and leased to the Emery Center Corporation, which manages the Emery Center Apartments. The theater, a replica of Carnegie Hall, is one of only three remaining halls in the nation designed with perfect acoustics. The Requiem Project: The Emery, a site-specific 501c3 founded in 2009, is working to re-establish the historic space as an event venue and interdisciplinary arts and education center. 

After going dark for the winter months as negotiations continue over the building's future, the theater hosts two major public events this weekend.

MusicNOW's first-ever art show runs in the Emery's gallery spaces through the weekend. It features pieces by Cincinnati natives Jessie Henson and Nathalie Provosty, both of whom currently work out of New York. Sunday, MusicNOW founder and The National member Bryce Dessner makes a special appearance at the Emery for a performance during a gallery party from 4-6 pm.

In addition to the MusicNOW events, the Emery also welcomes the April 13 anniversary gala for the Contemporary Dance Theatre, which was founded in 1972 by current artistic director and local dance icon Jefferson James. David Lyman plays host during the celebration, which features video, photography, costumes and more. 

While the future of the Emery and efforts to revive it remain unclear, at least for this weekend, there's a chance to enjoy an amazing local space being used for all the right reasons--to celebrate the local arts community and its connection to the broader artistic and cultural landscape of our time.

The MusicNOW exhibit and Bryce Dessner performance are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the CDC gala available here.

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter.

 
73 non-profit Articles | Page: | Show All
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