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Spirit Airlines to start flights to Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach from Akron-Canton Airport

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 28, 2017

Spirit Airlines is reminding people it will start non-stop flights from Akron-Canton Airport to Las Vegas and to Myrtle Beach, S.C., starting on April 27.
Spirit began flying out of Akron-Canton Airport last November with daily nonstop flights to Florida.
“We are thrilled to continue to offer these low fare options to our customers” Rick McQueen, airport president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
To promote the new flights, Akron-Canton Airport and Spirit are sponsoring a contest that runs through April 10. Two winners will be picked; each will receive two round-trip tickets from Akron-Canton Airport to either Las Vegas or to Myrtle Beach.
More information is online at

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Area man who appeared on `Shark Tank' will talk about snack food venture at Hiram College

By Katie Byard Published: March 23, 2017

Evan Delahanty, the founder of local snack startup Peaceful Fruits who appeared on ABC television’s Shark Tank, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday for an open-to-the-public Fireside Chat at Hiram College.

Delahanty will talk about his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America, as well as his work with Peaceful Fruits at  Hiram College’s East Hall.

The talk is presented by the college's Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship.

Delahanty, who lives in Boston Township, failed to get a deal when he appeared on Shark Tank.  Nevertheless, it was a mighty fruitful experience, with the show creating quite a buzz. Shortly after his appearance on the show, Delahanty sold roughly $75,000 worth of the acai-infused fruit strips. That’s about three times his sales for all of last year.

The extra sales have led to greater production and more work opportunities for the people with disabilities who make and package the fruit snacks. Workers at the new Hattie’s Food Hub in West Akron, operated by the nonprofit Hattie Larlham, make the all-natural, gluten-free strips, which are labeled and packaged by workers at Blick Center in Fairlawn.

The strips are sold online and at various retail sites.

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Huntington pledges $25 million of $150 million for state to Akron for affordable housing aid

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 22, 2017

Huntington Bank on Wednesday said aid for affordable housing in Akron would receive $25 million out of a $150 million pledge for the state.

The funding for the 2017 and 2018 years was announced Wednesday by bank officials and affordable housing partners and advocates in Cleveland. 

The bank said the allocation brings its cumulative investment with Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing to $513 million over the past seven years.

Huntington Chairman Steve Steinour said: “When we learned that affordable housing development was stalling because of potential changes to the Federal tax code, we immediately responded. We believe it is vital to continuously support adequate housing for those who require it most.” said Steinour. “Ohio has been our home for the past 151 years and we remain committed to investing in neighborhoods and affordable housing to help people lead better lives. We hope our new commitment will help accelerate the rate of investment by others in partnership with OCCH to keep Ohio affordable housing starts and refurbishment projects on track.”

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FTC warns about "Can You Hear Me Now" scam

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 21, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to be careful about "Can you hear me now?" calls.

Beacon Journal consumer columnist Betty Lin-Fisher recently also wrote about this scam. You can read the column here.

Here's the FTC's press release about the scam.

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Former FirstMerit debit card users may be eligible for class-action settlement

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 21, 2017

Former FirstMerit debit card users may be eligible for part of a class-action settlement. See more details here

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Akron tech startup 7signal leaving for Cuyahoga County; is lured by $480,000 loan

By Katie Byard Published: March 21, 2017

An Akron tech startup, nurtured in the business incubator in the city’s downtown, is planning to relocate to Independence.

Cuyahoga County is luring the company, 7signal, with a $480,000 Business Attraction Forgivable Loan.

The county’s loan will be forgivable “only upon the company’s creation of 48 jobs having average annual salaries of at least $100,000 and maintenance of those jobs within the County over 7 years,” according to a news release issued by Cuyahoga County.

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Ohio Attorney General reminds consumers to be wary of tax-related scams

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 20, 2017

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Ohio consumers to be wary of tax-related scams. In a press release, DeWine said these scams are increasing as the April 18 tax filing deadline approaches.

“As we get further into tax season, we’re seeing more of these scams,” Attorney General DeWine said. “What we want people to remember is that if callers are threatening you, saying you have to pay immediately, or saying they’re going to put you in jail, it’s not the IRS.” 

The most common tax scam reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is the “IRS” imposter phone scam. The ploy generally begins with a call claiming the recipient is in trouble with the IRS and must call a certain phone number to avoid arrest or legal action. Eventually, the person is asked to pay to resolve the supposed problem.


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Meeting climate accord standards could cost Ohio 100,000-plus jobs, report says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 17, 2017

Ohio could lose more than 100,000 jobs and its gross domestic product would fall by $9 billion if the United States agreed to adopt stricter emission measures in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce says in a new report.
Nationally, meeting the Paris accord emissions standards could cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040, according to the study by NERA Economic Consulting done on behalf of the chamber. The report is called “Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Regulations on the Industrial Sector.”
The report said Ohio’s state GDP would decline by 1.2 percent, or $9 billion, in 2025; household income fall by $390; and employment by 110,000 jobs, including 24,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs. Ohio’s cement output would drop by 16 percent, while iron and steel output would decline by 13 percent.

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Citizens Bank online transactions delayed this morning; issue now resolved

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 17, 2017

12:09 p.m. Update:

Citizens Bank Vice President of Media Relations Lauren DiGeronimo confirms that all issues were resolved as of 10:47 a.m. DiGeronimo said no fees will be incurred by customers, due to the issue. The mobile app is also now working.


Here is the earlier story:

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Northeast Ohio economy will grow this year, PNC expects

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 16, 2017

The Northeast Ohio economy should grow modestly this year, much as it did in 2016.
So says the latest market outlook released Thursday by PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh.
“The regional economy is steadily inching forward as it overcomes major drags in its key manufacturing industry,” PNC said.
Report highlights include:
• Health-care, finance and professional services industries will add to economic growth.
• Higher energy prices are helping stabilize some factories as investment returns to the Utica shale region.
• Higher steel tariffs and stabilizing steel demand are helping local steelmakers.
• Auto sales, including high demand for light trucks, SUVs and crossovers, are expected to have their best year on record and therefore benefit the region’s auto supply chain companies.
• Cheaper gasoline coupled with slowing demand for fuel-efficient cars will hurt the Youngstown area; there already have been employment and production cuts at General Motors’ Lordstown plant where the compact Chevrolet Cruze is made.
• Upside risks include Washington-based tax cuts and boosts to infrastructure spending.
• Downside risks include a strong dollar and trade protectionism that could hurt exports.
• Continued population loss will hurt Northeast Ohio job growth. Population loss also hurts, among other things, demand for housing. On the plus side, out-migration appears to be moderating.
• Natural gas extraction from the Utica shale will generate jobs, income and tax revenue.
• Fledgling manufacturing hubs for the machinery of new energy technologies and transportation equipment hold promise.
• The region’s lower costs and availability of underutilized resources will help attract new industries and opportunities.
• Median household income will grow from an estimated $49,800 in 2016 to $50,700 this year. The region’s median income currently is about 9 percent lower than the nation’s. 

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Diebold Nixdorf to sell U.K. business to meet merger requirements

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 16, 2017

Diebold Nixdorf Inc. is selling off its legacy business in the United Kingdom.
The Green maker of ATMs on Thursday said that the sale is needed following a decision by the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority, or CMA, regarding Diebold’s purchase in August 2016 of German ATM maker Wincor Nixdorf.
“The CMA has concluded that a structural remedy is required. Diebold Nixdorf is now actively pursuing a divestiture of its legacy Diebold business in the U.K. with a potential purchaser,” Diebold Nixdorf said in a statement. “The company believes it can satisfy the CMA’s requirements and conclude this transaction as soon as practicable.”
The company did not disclose any financial information related to the sale.
Diebold and Wincor Nixdorf brands and operations remained unjoined while awaiting CMA review, the company said.
The company also reaffirmed its 2020 financial targets that include net cost improvement of $200 million and adjusted earnings per share of approximately $3.50.

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New Citizens Bank Branch to open in Acme Green grocery store

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 15, 2017

Citizens Bank will hold a grand opening on Friday, Mar. 17, to celebrate its new branch inside the Acme Fresh Market located at 3875 Massillon Rd in Green.

This is the ninth Acme branch for Citizens. The celebration will occur from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will feature activities for children and adults as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Our customers continually praise the convenience and excellent level of service they receive at our supermarket branches,” said Joe DiRocco, president of Citizens Bank in Ohio. “We are excited about the new branch in Green and we invite the community to celebrate with us on March 17.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., Citizens Bank customers and the general public are invited to attend the celebration, which includes a balloon artist from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.,  refreshments, and $5 gift cards to Acme for using the ATM or having a colleague demonstrate the Citizens mobile app.  

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Belden Village Mall shoppers can learn about disaster preparedness April 1

By Katie Byard Published: March 15, 2017

Shoppers at Belden Village Mall on April 1 will have the opportunity to learn how to prepare for an unforeseen disaster at the mall's American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Day event.

Shoppers at the Jackson Township mall who take a brief pre and post-test to determine their safety/preparedness knowledge will receive a first aid kit that will be filled with safety supplies such as glow sticks, emergency drinking water, a face mask and gloves. Included will be information on what to do in case of an emergency.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dominion East Ohio will make the kits available.

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Norton company employee's safety innovation is first-place winner; device prevents spills

By Katie Byard Published: March 10, 2017

A Norton company employee’s creation of a system to cut down on spills and hand injuries is the first place winner in the annual Ohio Safety Innovation Awards.

Paul Hunt, process safety engineer at Norton-based ICP Adhesives & Sealants, presented his innovation Thursday at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Safety Congress & Expo in Columbus.

ICP, formerly Fomo Products Inc., won $6,000 as first-place winner. C & K Industrial Services Inc. of Cleveland, which specializes in vacuuming and pressure washing of sewer lines, pipes and various industrial equipment, won second place and $4,000 for its use of remote-controlled “hyrdoblasting robots.”

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Myers Industries has 4th quarter loss but makes money for full year

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 9, 2017

Akron manufacturer and specialty tool distributor Myers Industries Inc. lost money in its fourth quarter but still showed a profit for its full fiscal year.
Myers, which makes plastic and rubber containers and related products, also said it will begin consolidating its Material Handling division this year and make other changes as it continues to refocus the company.
Myers Industries lost $1.46 million, or 5 cents per share, on revenue of $130 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31. That compares to net income of $771,000, or 3 cents per share, on revenue of $139.2 million a year ago.
Shares of Myers Industries were up 5 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $13.40 as of 1:32 p.m. Revenue beat analyst estimates while net income fell short by a penny.
“Fourth-quarter results were in line with our expectations as we faced the continued impact of a reduced capital spending environment that persisted across many industrial markets for most of 2016,” Dave Banyard, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“Demand in agriculture markets has been notably weak with record sales declines in some channels over the previous two years. Some of our most strategic products sell into these customers,” Banyard said. “While we are disappointed with our sales performance during the year, we managed costs well and made tangible improvements in the management of working capital and capital spending, both of which will continue to be part of our strengths moving forward.”
For the full year, Myers Industries had net income of $1.06 million, or 3 cents per share, on revenue of $558.1 million. That compares to net income of $17.8 million or 57 cents per share, on revenue of $601.5 million for fiscal 2015.
Banyard called 2016 “a transition period” for the company.
“We’ve already made several important structural changes to the business, including solid working capital improvements in each business and a 15 percent reduction in corporate headcount during the fourth-quarter of 2016,” he said. “In 2017 ... we will begin a consolidation of our manufacturing footprint in Material Handling that we expect to complete by year-end, and we will also be evaluating potential new sourcing partnerships as we seek a more flexible operating model.”
Myers Industries said it expects 2017 revenue will be about the same as in 2016.
The company said its enterprise strategy is centered on a niche market focus, flexible operations, and strong cash flow growth.
Myers Industries also will pay a dividend of 13.5 cents per share on April 4 to shareholders of record as of March 17. 

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Akron SCORE offers workshops for new and existing businesses

By Katie Byard Published: March 7, 2017

Akron SCORE, the free mentoring program for new and existing businesses, will offer workshops this month in Akron and Hudson.

The workshops are designed to provide practical advice to help new businesses get started and existing businesses improve their operations and profitability.

SCORE-certified counselors will present the information. SCORE is a non-profit Small Business Administration-affiliated organization.

Four workshops will be at the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing in the University of Akron’s Polsky Hall, 225 S. Main St. in downtown Akron:

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Chevy beats Ford as truck, SUV sales climb in Northeast Ohio

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 7, 2017

Strong light truck and SUV sales propelled a small increase in February new vehicle sales in Northeast Ohio compared to last year while Summit County sales lagged slightly, according to figures released Tuesday.
And for the second month in a row, Chevrolet outsold Ford in a 21-county region of Northern Ohio, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reported.
There were 16,213 new cars, light trucks and SUVs sold in February, up from 16,128 a year ago, the association said.
Dealers sold 7,348 trucks and SUVs last month, up from 5,683 a year ago. Truck and SUV sales are up more than 42 percent compared to the same period a year ago, the dealers’ association said.
“The market in February was basically flat when comparing this year with last,” Louis A. Vitantonio, association president, said in a statement. “However, we continue to see almost explosive growth in truck and SUV sales. It’s obviously a trend that is being driven by moderate fuel prices, but crossovers and SUVs also offer increased functionality.”
Chevrolet was February’s best-selling brand with 2,888 sales. Ford followed with 2,717 sales. Honda was the third best-selling brand in the region with 1,260 sales, followed by Toyota and then Jeep.
Summit County new vehicle sales were down for the month compared to a year ago, according to figures from the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association.
February sales in the county totaled 1,447, down 101, or 6.5 percent, from 1,548 a year ago. New vehicle sales since Jan. 1 total 3,689, up 119, or 3.3 percent, from the same period a year ago.

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New year starts on a bad note for Summit County unemployment rate

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 7, 2017

Summit County began the new year with a higher unemployment rate.

The county’s January jobless rate rose to 6.2 percent, up from 5 percent in December and up from 5.8 percent in January 2016, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Jobless rates rose in the county’s two largest cities as well.

Akron’s unemployment rate hit 7 percent in January, up from 5.7 percent in December and up from 6.7 percent in January 2016.

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SummaCare moving 300-plus employees to East End development, closing downtown Akron HQ

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 6, 2017

SummaCare is returning to its roots.
The Akron-based health plan, originally created to provide managed care for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., is moving its headquarters and more than 300 employees starting this summer from downtown Akron to the former Goodyear campus now known as the East End.
SummaCare has been in its present home, a five-story building put up on 6.9 acres that previously was the site of the former Portage Hotel, since December 2002. Developer Signet Enterprises broke ground on the building at 10 N. Main St. in February 2001.
City officials who said they first learned last week about the upcoming SummaCare move said Monday no new tenants have been found yet for the soon-to-be vacated building at Main and Market streets. Portage Center LLC is listed in county records as the building owner.
All SummaCare employees are expected to have moved into the new site at the former Goodyear headquarters in November. SummaCare declined to say specifically how many employees will move other than it will be more than 300.
SummaCare said its current headquarters is now too large. The health-care business said it signed a three-year lease for 65,000 square feet of space at the East End; all employees will be on one floor.
SummaCare had the option after 15 years to acquire a 25 percent ownership stake in the Main and Market street building.
But that option “had no bearing whatsoever on our decision to move to the East End,” said Anne Armao, SummaCare vice president of marketing and consumer engagement. The lease agreement at the current location did not have a mandatory ownership clause, she said.
This will be the first significant business tenant in the East End complex off East Market Street, according to owner and developer Industrial Realty Group, also known as IRG. IRG, which specializes in redeveloping aging industrial properties, purchased the former Goodyear campus and built Goodyear’s new headquarters just a short distance away on Innovation Way in East Akron.
SummaCare’s move also will create a “medical corridor” along Market Street, according to Summa Health, the insurer’s parent company.
SummaCare’s move to the East End coincides with Summa Health’s plans for a new 300,000-square-foot patient tower and a medical office building on its Akron City Hospital campus. The Market Street medical corridor will include Summa Health’s Akron campus, Summa Rehab Hospital and, later this year, SummaCare.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan on Monday said the city has not yet heard from any prospective new tenants for the Main and Market street building that SummaCare is leaving.
“I look forward to working with Signet to find a new tenant for that prime downtown space and are hopeful it will be reoccupied in short order,” Horrigan said.
“SummaCare is clearly demonstrating its commitment to Akron by keeping its headquarters in the city,” the mayor said in a news release. “The East End neighborhood, with its blend of residences and new companies moving in, is a perfect example of the progress we are making throughout our city. I commend SummaCare for becoming the first tenant.”
Kathy Geier, chairwoman of SummaCare’s board of directors, expressed how important it is for SummaCare to become more efficient in its operations while maintaining its commitment to Akron.
“Our current home on North Main is simply too large for our operations today,” Geier said in a news release.
“Our employees have enjoyed being in that great location for nearly 20 years but the time is right to move,” she said. “Our new East End building will offer even more amenities for our employees and is located in another area of the city that is truly on an upswing.”
Bob Paskowski, SummaCare’s interim president, said the new location will allow all employees to gather in one place.
“In our current location, it was a challenge to all meet together as a team. In the East End complex, we will have access to a large, 300 seat-community room as well as the Goodyear Theater,” he said in a release.
The restored Goodyear Theater can seat more than 1,500 people.
The move by SummaCare as its first major tenant is a key to future development at the East End, said Carol Smith, IRG vice president.
“We expect other businesses to follow SummaCare’s lead,” Smith said in a release. “We expect to have additional exciting developments to announce over the next few weeks and months.”

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RPM International to issue $450 million in new debt

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 2, 2017

RPM International Inc. will sell $450 million in new debt in part to pay off older debt and for other corporate purposes.
The Medina company, which makes coatings, adhesives and other products under numerous brand names, will sell $400 million aggregate principal amount of 3.75 percent notes due March 15, 2027. It also will sell an additional $50 million aggregate principal amount of 5.25 percent notes due June 1, 2045.
 The sale was expected to close on Thursday.
The 2045 notes offered will be consolidated with the $250 million principal amount of 5.25 percent notes due 2045 issued by RPM on May 29, 2015. They will form a single series of 2045 notes.
Expected net proceeds, after expenses, will be approximately $448.9 million, the company said.
RPM intends to use the net proceeds to repay a portion of its revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes. 

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Montrose losing HHGregg appliance store; 87 other stores also closing

By Katie Byard Published: March 2, 2017

Financially struggling appliance and electronic retailer hhgregg Inc. said Thursday  it plans to close 88 of its underperforming stores, including the location in Copley Township, as part of the company's plan to become profitable again.

The Indianapolis-based company also said it was closing three distribution centers, none of which are in Ohio.

Hhgregg said the store shutdowns will be completed by mid-April and result in the elimination of about 1,500 jobs.

The Copley store is at 160 Rothrock Road, near a store operated by the Best Buy chain, among hhgregg's competitors.

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Goodyear selling $700 million of 10-year senior notes

By Katie Byard Published: March 2, 2017

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said Thursday it is selling  $700 million of unsecured 10-year senior notes.

The Akron tire maker said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with current cash and cash equivalents, to redeem in full its $700 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.0 percent senior notes due in 2022.

Goodyear said issuance and sale of the notes is subject to market and other customary closing conditions.

Here is the the complete news release from Goodyear:
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT) today announced that it has commenced a public offering of $700 million aggregate principal amount of 10-year senior notes. The notes will be senior unsecured obligations of the company. Issuance and sale of the notes is subject to market and other customary closing conditions.

Goodyear (GT) intends to use the net proceeds from this offering, together with current cash and cash equivalents, to redeem in full its $700 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.0% senior notes due 2022.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC; Barclays Capital Inc.; BNP Paribas Securities Corp.; Citigroup Global Markets Inc.; Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc.; Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated; and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are acting as the joint book-running managers for the offering. Natixis Securities Americas LLC; BB Securities Limited; Capital One Securities, Inc.; MUFG Securities Americas Inc.; UniCredit Capital Markets LLC; Regions Securities LLC; and The Huntington Investment Company are acting as co-managers for the offering.

The offering will be made under an effective shelf registration statement that was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and became automatically effective on November 2, 2015. The offering of the notes may be made only by means of a prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus, copies of which may be obtained from:

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC                 
c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions       
1155 Long Island Avenue                     
Edgewood, New York, 11717                
telephone: 866-803-9204                       

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Investor Relations Department
200 Innovation Way
Akron, OH 44316
telephone: 330-796-3751

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