Quality of Life 24/04/04

Egg-cellent news

The peregrine falcon couple that lives in the nest box atop the Brady Sullivan Building in Manchester has welcomed this year’s eggs — four, brick-red-colored eggs, with the first egg laid March 20 and the fourth laid during the afternoon on March 28, according to the daily log of the peregrine activity (find a link in the chat on the YouTube live feed of the nest box). According to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, peregrine eggs take about a month to hatch, so by May Day, Manchester should have new peregrines to add to its bird count.

QOL score: +1

Comments: A live camera feed of the Brady Sullivan Nest Box can be viewed by searching YouTube for Peregrine Networks Live Peregrine Falcon Feed1.

A cleaner New Hampshire

A recently released report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that toxic pollutants in New Hampshire have decreased over the past decade. The 2022 Toxics Release Inventory (commonly known as a TRI Report) announced that toxic releases and toxic pollutants to the air, land and water have decreased significantly over the past 10 years, and that toxic emissions have “decreased by 71% over the last 10 years, due to the significant reductions of certain TRI chemicals at several manufacturing facilities and significant reductions from power plants,” the EPA reported last week in a press release.

QOL score: +1

Comments: Nationwide, releases of TRI chemicals have decreased by 21 percent. See awsgispub.epa.gov/trina2022/summary.

Faster fire rescue responses

Last week Nashua Fire Rescue announced the launch of a new emergency vehicle traffic preemption system, replacing the outdated Opticom system that has served for nearly 35 years. As reported by Nashua Ink Link on Thursday, March 28, Nashua’s new Glance Traffic Preemption system uses GPS, cellular and 900 MHz signaling technology to alert traffic signals at more than 90 intersections across the city of the approach of a fire apparatus, and changes the lights to allow emergency vehicles through, for a faster response time. In a phone interview, Fire Dispatch confirmed that the new system went online this week.

QOL score: +1

Comments: The $600,000 project was made possible through funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and was approved by the Nashua Board of Aldermen in 2022.

A cold night out

More than 165 people signed up to raise funds for Waypoint’s 10th Annual SleepOut on Friday, March 29, according to a story in the Boston Globe. Participants spent a night sleeping outside to earn money for programs at Waypoint, a statewide nonprofit that provides services for homeless young adults across New Hampshire’s programs, the story said. According to Cindy Stewart, Development Director at Waypoint, money is still coming in from the event, but so far, this SleepOut has raised more than $420,000.

QOL score: +1 for the fundraising and fundraisers

Comments: According to Waypoint, up to 15,000 New Hampshire youth experience homelessness each year.

QOL score: 62

Net change: +4

QOL this week: 66

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/03/28

Not so fast, spring

Winter wasn’t done with New Hampshire. According to WMUR, the Saturday, March 23, storm dropped snow across the state, ranging from a coating to a few inches (often mixed with rain) to more than a foot for some parts of the Granite State. The fallout from the storm: power outages. More than 75,000 customers lost power during the peak of storm outages. On the morning of March 25, more than 20,000 customers were still powerless; by the afternoon WMUR reported that most customers would have their power restored by the end of the day.

QOL score: -2, because we were all set with winter

Comments: OK, who put away all their winter boots and coats and jinxed us? Nobody pull up their driveway stakes until at least mid-April.

Meanwhile…

Ski NH reported Sunday, March 24, that the storm brought more than 2 feet to some ski areas in the state. Wildcat Mountain in Jackson received 30 inches while Cannon Mountain in Franconia and Waterville Valley Resort each reported 27 to 30 inches, according to Ski NH’s press release. Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway received 2 feet and may reopen this coming weekend, the release said.

QOL score: +1

Comments: “23 inches over the last 24 hours, bluebird skies and patrol dropping rope as we speak. Get ready for the best day of the season!” read a Sunday post on the Cranmore Facebook page.

On the other hand…

At 8:03 a.m. on Sunday, March 24, Gilmanton and Alton firefighters responded to a rescue call on Crystal Lake to save a deer that had fallen through the ice about 200 yards from shore, according to the Gilmanton Firefighter’s Association Facebook page. From the pictures the Association posted, it appears that there was only a thin crust of icy snow on the surface of the lake after last Saturday’s snow storm. Rescuers responded in rescue watercraft and pulled the deer from the water.

QOL score: +1 for the assist

Comments: “The deer was rescued, tired, exhausted and shivering but it was last seen up and walking around,” according to the Association’s Facebook page.

Preserving history

Canterbury Shaker Village and the American Independence Museum in Exeter each received grants from Americana Corner, an online resource for education about America in the 1700s and 1800s, according to press releases from the sites. The American Independence Museum was awarded a 2024 “Preserving America” grant for $10,000, which it will use to “fund essential preservation work at Folsom Tavern such as repairs to — and restaining of — various sections of clapboard siding,” the press release said. Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury will use its $7,500 award “to preserve ten windows in its historic Meeting House,” its release said.

QOL score: +1

Comments: See shakers.org and independencemuseum.org for more on the two sites.

QOL score: 61

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 62

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/03/21

Warmest winter

This has been New Hampshire’s warmest winter on record. As reported by New Hampshire Public Radio on March 12, the winter season was 9 degrees warmer than usual on average. According to NHPR’s report, at the National Weather Service’s climate site in Concord the temperature never dropped below 0 degrees, something that has only happened twice since 1868, when weather records started being kept in the state.

QOL score: -1 for the general weirdness of it all

Comments: According to a March 17 story by WMUR, as of Sunday afternoon, March 18, Lake Winnipesaukee is completely ice-free, again setting a new record.

Household bills above average here

According to a recent report, Manchester residents pay $5,547 more per year on their household bills — about 22 percent more — than the national average. According to the 2024 U.S. Household Bill Pay report by Doxo, a bill-paying smartphone app, the average American household spends around $2,126 each month on its most essential household bills, and the average Manchester household pays $2,588, or approximately 42 percent of its household income. These bills run the range from rent or mortgage to cable bills to life insurance. According to the same report, things look better for New Hampshire as a whole.

QOL score: -1

Comments: The average monthly cost of bills statewide was $2,052, about 4 percent lower than the national average, the report said.

Missing something?

According to a March 15 Facebook post, a brewer at To Share Brewing Co. in Manchester found something unexpected as he was processing the grain for a batch of smoked IPA last Wednesday: a wedding ring. Brewery co-owner Aaron Share reports that he found the ring as he was straining out the grain from the beer he was brewing, and was briefly afraid that the ring was his, but his own ring was still on his finger.

QOL score: -1 for some anonymous grain malter

Comments: According to the Brewery’s Facebook post, To Share has reached out to its suppliers to try to track down the ring’s owner, but at this point it is still a mystery.

A dramatic rescue

A worker at a construction site on Canal Street in Manchester was rescued after he became trapped under an excavator last Tuesday, March 12. As reported on March 12 by Manchester Ink Link, Manchester fire companies responded to an accident on the worksite and found an excavator upside down in a trench, with its operator pinned on the underside. According to a March 12 from the Fire Department, Manchester crews performed a technical rescue that involved “stabilizing, lifting, cribbing and shoring up the machine.” The fire companies used hydraulic rams, high-pressure airbags and hand tools to free the worker, who was transported to Elliot Hospital with what the Union Leader’s story about the event described as serious injuries.

QOL score: +1 for the rescue, and hopefully a speedy recovery for the worker

Comments: The department’s press release described the rescue as a “high-risk, low-frequency event” and noted, “A successful extrication under the circumstances requires a well-trained, highly focused, and professional team working in a complex and dynamic environment.”

QOL score: 63

Net change: -2

QOL this week: 61

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/03/14

Slow down!

Data from the New Hampshire Department of Safety and Division of Motor Vehicles showed more than 100 drivers were ticketed in the last year for driving 100 miles per hour or more in the state, according to a WMUR online news story on March 8. According to WMUR, State police ticketed 56 drivers in a three-hour span during the traffic operation on Friday, March 1; seven of those drivers were clocked going more than 100 miles per hour. One Massachusetts man was pulled over on Interstate 93 after allegedly being clocked at 128 miles per hour.

QOL score: -1

Comments: WMUR reports that according to state data 116 drivers were ticketed over the past year for driving between 100 and 109 miles per hour, and 10 for driving between 110 and 120 miles per hour.

It’s electric

The Concord Monitor reports that Manchester-Boston Regional Airport has installed a charging station for electric vehicles — both cars and airplanes. In a March 11 story, the Monitor reported that the new 320 kW DC Fast Charging station with two connections is located on the ramp at Signature Aviation, a fixed base operator that services private airplanes, so the general public will not have access to it. The airport already has electric chargers in its short-term parking lot, however, so electric car drivers will be able to top off their batteries.

QOL score: +1

Comments: Electric airplanes are expected by 2026, the story said.

Math is delicious

QOL was on the hunt to find local eateries celebrating Pi Day (March 14, celebrating the first three digits of the number pi, 3.14), which led QOL to Presto Craft Kitchen (168 Amory St. in Manchester, 606-1252, prestopastanh.com) which is offering a Pi Day Pie Flight of five mini cream pies from Mount Washington Pie Co. Presto challenges pie (and pi) enthusiasts to see how many digits of the number pi they can write out before finishing the Pi Flight. The Pi Flight is available to order online from Presto’s Facebook page at facebook.com/prestocraftkitchennh.

QOL score: +1

Comments: Now what date and tasty food items can we pair with the Pythagorean theorem?

Young poets

The top 10 participants in the 2024 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud competition will be at Representatives Hall in the Statehouse in Concord on Friday, March 15, where competing high school students will square off to represent New Hampshire at the national Poetry Out Loud championship in Washington, D.C., later this spring. The competition will begin at 5 p.m. and is open to the public. For more information, see see nh.gov/nharts, or call 271-2789.

QOL score: +1

Comments: It will be livestreamed on the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts’ Facebook page.

QOL score: 61

Net change: +2

QOL this week: 63

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/03/07

Nestflix

According to a March 4 newsletter from the New Hampshire Audubon Society, the mated pair of peregrine falcons is active in the nest box at the top of the Brady Sullivan Building in downtown Manchester. They have successfully defended the nesting spot from interlopers, such as an adult falcon and the NH Audubon during a cleaning, the newsletter said. Dedicated webcams have monitored the nest since the spring of 2003. According to The Peregrine Fund (peregrinefund.org), peregrine falcons faced extinction in the 1960s and ’70s, due to the widespread use of DDT, an insecticide that worked its way through the food web and weakened peregrines’ egg shells. Since the banning of DDT, peregrine populations have rebounded, particularly in urban areas where there are plenty of ledge-like nesting places and a large supply of pigeons, the website said. Manchester’s peregrine nest box can be seen from three angles on their own YouTube channel: youtube.com/@peregrinenetworks5080.

QOL score: +1

Comments: Manchester pigeons give it a QOL score of -5.

Scroll saws for shop class

The nonprofit Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers has donated four new scroll saws to the Shop program at Franklin Middle School. In a Feb. 29 press release, Franklin Middle School Tech Ed teacher Kate Evans said that within a week’s time, seventh and eighth grade students in woodshop have been able to independently and safely create projects using the new scroll saws, changing blades as needed, and work collaboratively to create cut-outs and puzzles. The Guild hopes to partner with other schools across the state. For more information or to donate, visit www.gnhw.org.

QOL score: +1

Comments: According to Guild president Elliot Savitzky in the statement, “It’s all part of our effort to expand the diversity of the Guild. We are bridging our rich history of furniture and cabinet making since the 1700s by promoting woodworking and passing the torch to our future generations.”

Nobody’s searching for ‘X’ apparently

According to a recent study by digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital, New Hampshire is the ninth most social media-obsessed state in the country. According to a March 4 press release, the research studied the average number of internet searches for “Facebook,” “Instagram,” “TikTok,” “YouTube,” “Reddit,” “LinkedIn” and “Pinterest” in each U.S. state. New Hampshire, with 133,911 searches per 100,000 people per month, seems to be less enthusiastic about social media than eighth-place Georgia with 134,690, but slightly more fixated than 10th-ranked North Carolina with 133,110.

QOL score: -1

Comments: Oregon seems to be the most preoccupied state with 140,376 such searches per 100,000 people per month, according to the press release.

QOL score: 59

Net change: +2

QOL this week: 61

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/02/29

Not the Disney direct!

According to a Feb. 22 report from WMUR, Spirit Airlines is suspending service at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport effective May 8. The change affects two routes — to Orlando and to Myrtle Beach — the story said. The airline blames “ongoing operational constraints related to Pratt & Whitney GTF engine availability and seasonal demand for our MHT (Manchester–Boston Regional Airport) flights” for the suspension, according to the WMUR report. In a Feb. 23 story, Ted Kitchens, airport director of aviation, said he hopes Spirit will come back in the winter.

QOL score: -2

Comments: At least the suspension of service hits after April school vacation.

More meals on wheels

Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County cut the ribbon on their new nutrition site and headquarters on South Main Street in Manchester, the former home of Blake’s Restaurant and Creamery, on Feb. 20, according to a press release. The state’s largest Meals on Wheels agency, Hillsborough County’s Meals on Wheels served more than 380,000 meals to more than 4,100 people throughout the 31 towns and cities in the county in 2023, the release said. The Meals of Wheels of Hillsborough County is currently raising money to renovate former Blake’s restaurant in the coming years to offer community dining, the release said.

QOL score: +1

Comments: Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County is holding a fundraiser called Festival of Fives on Thursday, April 11, 6 to 8:30 p.m., at LaBelle Winery in Amherst. The event features a buffet dinner, live music, a silent auction and more. Tickets cost $90; see hcmow.org, where you can also find information about volunteering as a driver.

The best state capital in our state

Citing Concord’s low crime rate, the personal-finance website WalletHub has ranked it as the 10th most livable state capital in the country. According to the website, Concord has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 13.3 times lower than in Little Rock, Arkansas, the capital city with the highest.

To identify the most livable state capitals, WalletHub rated each city, using 48 key measurements, ranging from the cost of living to K–12 school-system quality to the number of attractions.

QOL score: +1

Comments:It’s good to get recognition for what we’ve already known — that Concord is a solidly good place to live.

QOL score: 59

Net change: 0

QOL this week: 59

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/02/22

Helping wheels

As mentioned at the bottom of this page, we welcome your QOLs. Michael McDonough of Catholic Charities of NH writes: “The CareGivers needs volunteers to help homebound and disabled seniors in Greater Manchester. Ninety-three percent of CareGivers’ clients live alone, facing social isolation and food insecurity regularly, negatively impacting their health and emotional well-being. These seniors rely on our volunteer-driven Caring Rides services for essential trips to medical appointments, doctors’ offices and grocery stores. Unfortunately, the demand for the program’s services is increasingly surpassing the number of available volunteers, and we need volunteers more than ever. Volunteer opportunities are flexible and tailored to your schedule.”

QOL score: +1 for the service

Comments: See caringrides.org for information on volunteering; see cc-nh.org for more on Catholic Charities of NH.

Helping wings

The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road in Londonderry; aviationmuseumofnh.org, 669-4820) honored Karen Hannigan-Machado, retired principal of the Manchester School of Technology, on Jan. 24 at an event at the Common Man in Windham for her role in establishing the school’s plane-building partnership with the museum, according to a press release. The program was the first of its kind in the northeastern U.S. and the school constructed a specialized workshop/hangar for the plane-building program, which led to the establishment of the school’s Aviation CTE program, the release said. Hannigan-Machado received a model of the Van’s RV-12iS aircraft (which is the airplane the students are building), the release said.

QOL score: +1

Comments: See aviationmuseumofnh.org for more on the “Student Plane Build” program.

Near-perfect angels, apparently

According to a press release from the personal finance website WalletHub, New Hampshire ranks 49 in the 50 states in “Sinfulness” as measured by seven (naturally) factors, including greed and vanity, the two sins on which the state scored highest (22nd and 23rd respectively). Vanity in particular was measured by things like “number of plastic surgeons per residents aged 18 and over” and “number of manicurists and pedicurists per capita,” according to the website.

QOL score: +1

Comments: No mention in the “Vanity” section of our vanity license plates, which the New Hampshire Department of Safety reported that 13 percent of motorists have, according to a 2022 article on nhmagazine.com. But then, being wiseguys for the benefit of fellow drivers isn’t really a “sin.”

QOL score: 56

Net change: +3

QOL this week: 59

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/02/15

Smarties, part 1

New Hampshire has been ranked as the 8th most educated state in America for 2024, according to a study released by the personal finance website WalletHub. The study evaluated all 50 states based on 18 metrics across educational attainment, school quality, and achievement gaps between genders and races. New Hampshire excelled in several key areas, ranking 4th for the percentage of high school diploma holders, 10th for associate’s degree holders or college-experienced adults, and 8th for bachelor’s degree holders. The state also stood out for having the smallest gender gap in educational attainment, taking first place.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Neighboring Massachusetts, home to prestigious institutions like MIT and Harvard, tops the list as the most educated state in the U.S., boasting the highest percentages of adults with bachelor’s and advanced degrees and leading the nation in high school math and reading scores.

Smarties, part 2

Spark Academy, situated on Manchester Community College’s campus, recently hosted Dean Kamen, Gov. Sununu and other dignitaries to celebrate the creation of 200 Experiential Robotics Platform (XRP) robots by the academy’s student-led 3D print farm. According to a press release, this initiative aims to supply low-cost robotics kits to New Hampshire classrooms, fostering skills in problem-solving, teamwork and engineering among students. Spark Academy, which integrates robotics into its curriculum, enabled students to gain hands-on manufacturing experience through this project. The involvement began when fourth-year students participated in a capstone project testing the XRP prototype, leading to the production of kits for global distribution at the FIRST Global Conference in Geneva. The Academy plans to continue producing XRP kits, with future projects potentially originating from student ideas.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Spark Academy is currently open for 2024-25 admissions, with an info night for prospective families scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22. For more details, visit sparkacademynh.org.

The gas station roller coaster

In New Hampshire the average price of gasoline has increased by 1.9 cents per gallon over the past week, reaching $3.08/g, according to GasBuddy’s analysis of 875 stations. This marks a 4.1-cent rise from last month and a 23.0-cent decrease compared to the previous year. Meanwhile the national average for diesel has climbed 6.9 cents, now at $3.99 per gallon. GasBuddy’s survey identified the price range in New Hampshire from the cheapest station at $2.76/g to the most expensive at $3.89/g. Nationally, the average gasoline price has gone up by 5.2 cents, averaging $3.17/g, which is 9.6 cents higher than last month but 20.0 cents lower than last year, based on data from more than 150,000 gas stations.

QOL score: -1

Comment: “We’ve seen the national average price of gasoline inching higher now for three straight weeks, but I’m afraid the worst is yet to come. With several major refinery issues persisting across various regions, the eventual transition to summer gasoline is likely to continue to put upward pressure on prices, with larger weekly increases likely coming in March and April,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, commented in the price update.

QOL score: 55

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 56

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire?

Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/02/08

Child care aid

The New Hampshire Department of Health of Human Services (DHHS) has launched “Child Care Accelerate,” an 8-week business support initiative designed to aid child care providers in the state. According to a press release, the program, created in collaboration with Seed Collective, aims to help these providers improve their business operations and financial management to ensure their long-term viability and to enhance the availability of quality child care. Participants will have the chance to apply for the Opportunities to Succeed (OTS) grant, supported by $5 million from American Rescue Plan Act Discretionary funds, to fund projects like facility improvements. This initiative is a continuation of the state’s efforts to utilize $29.7 million in ARPA-D funds for critical needs within the child care sector, which includes various capacity-building and workforce expansion projects.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Since March 2020, more than $150 million in federal relief funds has been invested in the New Hampshire child care system.

UNH deadline extension

Students and their families will have more time to make decisions about their higher education, as the University of New Hampshire (UNH) has extended the application deadline for the 2024-25 academic year. This change comes in response to recent updates to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), providing applicants with a buffer to understand their financial aid options fully.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Despite the challenges posed by the FAFSA changes, the university has noted an increase in applications.

Sewage in the river

The Merrimack River faced a significant environmental challenge last year, as around 2 billion gallons of raw sewage mixed with stormwater runoff entered the river, surpassing previous sewer overflow records, NHPR reported. This increase is attributed to factors such as climate change impacts, increased rainfall and ongoing riverfront development. Outdated combined sewer systems struggled to handle heavy rain, leading to untreated sewage entering the river. Sewer overflow advisories were in place for 39 days during June and July. Approximately 500,000 to 700,000 people rely on the Merrimack River for drinking water.

QOL score: -2

Comment: Manchester, one of the most affected areas, is working on a project aimed at reducing sewer overflows into the river, estimated to cost over $300 million and extend over two decades.

QOL score: 55

Net change: 0

QOL this week: 55

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

Quality of Life 24/02/01

Democracy and stickers!

Voters in last week’s presidential primaries were able to score some pretty great “I voted” stickers. Three different options were available: an Old Man in the Mountain profile in front of an American flag, a happy-face-having state of New Hampshire fishing and a moose in front of an autumnal landscape. The artists behind these stickers are New Hampshire fourth graders Grace of Milton, Jacob of Auburn and Rilynn of Mont Vernon, respectively. New Hampshire Secretary of State David M. Scanlan and Deputy Secretary of State Erin T. Hennessey announced the winners of a statewide sticker-making contest for fourth graders back in October 2023. The stickers will appear at all state elections in 2024.

Score: +1

Comments: QOL did — after asking permission — take one of each.

Students helping out

The University of New Hampshire has introduced the “Semester for Impact” program, a unique experiential learning initiative designed to benefit students and New Hampshire organizations, according to a press release. This program enables UNH undergraduates to work 30 hours a week for 15 weeks with local businesses, nonprofits and municipalities, focusing on projects with positive environmental and social impacts. Students earn academic credit and engage in complementary workshops and courses. The program, which embeds immersive learning into the academic curriculum, is a collaboration with the nonprofit College for Social Innovation. It builds on the success of the Semester in the City program in Boston and aims to develop key competencies, professional skills and career networks for students. Host organizations are invited to apply to participate in the program.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Previously, 190 UNH students have participated in the Semester in the City program in Boston through this collaboration, focusing on community-based learning experiences.

Tax help

Granite United Way has launched its free tax prep program for New Hampshire residents with annual household incomes of up to $64,000. According to a press release, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, supported by a $50,000 contribution from Citizens, connects qualifying low-to-moderate-income individuals and families in the state with IRS-certified volunteers who can help them access the greatest amount of tax refunds. This initiative helped participants collectively receive more than $5.5 million in federal tax refunds last year, including significant amounts through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To schedule an appointment near you visit nhtaxhelp.org, or go to MyFreeTaxes.com for self-preparation with guidance.

QOL score: +1

Comment: IRS data revealed that about one in five eligible New Hampshire residents don’t file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), leaving an estimated $31 million unclaimed, according to the release.

QOL score: 52

Net change: +3

QOL this week: 55

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at adiaz@hippopress.com.

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