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by Adrian Cruz — July 14, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Arlington Presbyterian Church (photo via Google Maps)

After spending the past 86 years in the same location at 3507 Columbia Pike, the Arlington Presbyterian Church has gathered its share of items. This weekend, in advance of the redevelopment of its property, the church is giving many of those items away.

“We can’t take it all with us, so we invite you to come by and see if there is anything you can use or re-purpose,” the church said in an email. “All items are FREE and must be removed that day. We will have filing cabinets, books, desks, chairs, other furniture, kitchen items, and lots more!”

The giveaway event will take place on Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The congregation is relocating due to the church building being torn down and redeveloped for affordable housing.

The church has temporarily moved to a new worship location, at the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road) in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. Services are taking place Sundays at 11 a.m.

by ARLnow.com — July 13, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Original Columbia Pike streetcar rendering. The streetcar plan has since been scrapped.(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) A group of Columbia Pike civic association leaders are speaking out against what they say is an inadequate plan to enhance bus service along the busy corridor.

The Pike Presidents’ Group sent is sending a letter to Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey yesterday, saying that the county is not delivering on its promise to communities along the Pike to “provide services that are equivalent of the abandoned streetcar plan.”

The letter was drafted in advance of a presentation by county staff on Arlington’s 10-year Transit Development Plan and its plan for a “Premium Transit Network” along the Pike and through Pentagon City and Crystal City.

The county’s plan “does not even come close,” to providing transit service similar to the original streetcar plan, wrote the chair of the group, Adam Henderson.

“We ask that you uphold to your prior statements and instruct staff to honor the commitment to Pike… to achieve the Pike transit system we have all worked diligently to achieve,” said Henderson.

The full letter, which we’re now told was a draft and not the final version, is after the jump.

File photo (above) shows rendering of the since-canceled Columbia Pike streetcar.


by ARLnow.com — July 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Firefighters and a couple of extinguisher-wielding workers made quick work of a smoky garage fire along Columbia Pike this morning.

Arlington County firefighters were dispatched to a report of a fire on the 1800 block of Columbia Pike, near Washington Blvd, around 9:45 a.m.

Upon arriving units found a small fire in a screened-in patio area attached to a home’s detached garage. The fire had scorched the roofline of the patio and part of the garage, but had been kept in check by an off-duty Prince George’s County firefighter and a Dominion Power worker who were working on the block and spotted the smoke, according to a fire department spokesman.

The workers used a fire extinguisher to battle the flames. A resident was inside the home at the time and may have been alerted to the fire by a passerby. No injuries were reported.

Deputy Fire Marshal Paul Frank described the damage as minimal, mostly confined to the roof of the structure. He said a preliminary investigation indicates that the fire may have been caused by Christmas lights that were being used as “permanent mood lighting” for the porch. The lights likely ignited some plastic blinds, he said.

Using Christmas lights as permanent lighting is “inadvisable,” said Frank.

by Adrian Cruz — July 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Kennan GarveyCounty Board Chair Libby Garvey will join other cyclists for the third annual Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride, dedicated to her late husband.

It will take place on Saturday, August 6 from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

The full 100 mile-long ride, described by organizers as a “Sizzling Suburban Century,” begins at the Phoenix Bikes shop on Four Mile Run Drive. It goes out to Purcellville in Loudoun County and back along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

The ride is open to cyclists of all ages and skill levels with shorter course options available:

  • 15-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Falls Church (turnaround at rest stop located at Bikenetic Full Service Bicycle Shop)
  • 30-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Reston and back (turnaround at rest stop located at Sunrise Valley Elementary School)
  • 60-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Leesburg and back (turnaround at rest stop located at Douglass School)
  • 90-mile course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Purcellville and back (turnaround at trail’s end, stopping at rest stop at Veloville USA Bike and Coffee Shop)
  • 100-mile/century course: Ride from Phoenix Bikes to Purcellville and back (as above), starting east on Four Mile Run Trail around Arlington Loop to W&OD trail

The entry fee is $25 and there is also a $500 fundraising goal for each rider. Riders and volunteers will receive a free shirt and boxed lunch and riders who exceed the $500 fundraising goal will receive an incentive prize.

As of today, $1,115 has been raised towards the event’s fundraising goal of $20,000.

Prior to his death, Kennan Garvey, a cycling aficionado, had planned to volunteer for Phoenix Bikes, a non-profit that serves as a community bike shop and an education program. This year, it was named the “Best Nonprofit” by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

“[Phoenix Bikes] is a group which teaches kids how to repair bikes and was one of the organizations Kennan was planning to devote time to in his upcoming retirement,” said Libby Garvey. “As many of you know, Kennan was an avid cyclist and always did most of the maintenance on his bikes himself. He loved working with kids and passing on his knowledge in so many areas. He would have taken great satisfaction in teaching kids to be self-reliant operators of his favorite environmentally-friendly vehicle,”

Photo courtesy Libby Garvey

by ARLnow.com — July 6, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Deer in Four Mile Run (photo courtesy B. Heather)

Steamy Stretch Starting — It’s hot and humid outside today and through the end of the week. Afternoon storms are possible each day. During this hot stretch, authorities are warning people to stay hydrated and to make sure their air conditioners are in good working condition. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]

Ultra-Nationalist Group Based in Arlington — The National Policy Institute, the “institutional center” of the nationalist movement that has come out of the woodwork in the U.S. thanks to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, is based here in Arlington. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the think tank a “white supremacist” group. [Forward]

New Book About Arlington — Local author HK Park has published another book about Arlington. This kid-oriented, 44-page paperback is called “How Your City Works!! Behind The Scenes In Arlington, VA.”

Discussion of Pike Development — Arlington County Board members Libby Garvey and Christian Dorsey discussed the approval of the Rappahannock Coffee site redevelopment in the county’s Board meeting wrap-up video. [YouTube]

Signature Theatre Announces New Cast — The cast for the Signature Theatre production of “Jelly’s Last Jam” includes a Tony Award winner, a Helen Hayes Award winner and a star jazz pianist. The musical begins at the Shirlington theater in August. [Playbill]

Arlington’s Got Talent Winner — Lyfe, a spoken word artist, is the 2016 winner of the Arlington’s Got Talent competition. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy B. Heather

by ARLnow.com — June 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

It’s being billed as Columbia Pike’s first beer garden.

BrickHaus, a new beer-centric watering hole and restaurant, is coming to the former Blanca’s Restaurant space at 2900 Columbia Pike, at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive.

News of the opening comes a year after ARLnow first reported that the long-vacant Spanish Revival-style building was perhaps getting a renovation to accommodate a restaurant with a rooftop seating area. A look inside the window reveals that some work has been performed, but there’s a long way to go before it will look anything like a beer garden.

The building was once briefly considered for a “southside” version of the popular Clarendon cafe Northside Social. But prospective tenants worried about the poor condition of the interior and other challenges, not the least of which is the age and relatively small size of the building and the challenge of setting up any substantial level of outdoor seating on the small adjacent lot or roof.

The potential downsides were not enough to deter Tony Wagner, the owner of BrickHaus, who’s also the owner of Twisted Vines Bottleshop and Bistro, which is located across the street at 2803 Columbia Pike.

“Columbia Pike is such a thriving and growing community, we want to make sure there are great [dining and drink] options out there,” he said. “We’re going to make BrickHaus a great gathering spot for the community… It’s very exciting, this is going to be a fun one.”

Wagner said BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor — the mezzanine — will be a sit-down steakhouse.

Wagner said extensive renovations will be getting underway on the “beautiful, historic property,” which was once a bank before becoming a restaurant and then, most recently, serving as the construction office for the next-door Halstead apartment building. The interior will be pretty much all new and the exterior will be rehabilitated. Plans for rooftop seating fell through after it failed to receive Arlington County’s approval, he said.

Beer-wise, BrickHaus will offer almost all regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers, Wagner said. Just as Twisted Vines offers wine for sale and a special wine club, BrickHaus plans to offer beer for retail sale and, eventually, a beer club. BrickHaus’ ABC permit application would also allow the business to sell kegs of beer.

Wagner said he got the idea for BrickHaus after listening to feedback from customers at Twisted Vines, who said they wanted an outdoor option on the Pike and were also looking for better beer options. Staring out the front window at the vacant building on the other side of the intersection also sparked his interest.

It’s because of the success of Twisted Vines that Wagner is looking to expand on the Pike. Since taking over ownership last summer, Wagner says Twisted Vines has “had a really fantastic year.” An anniversary celebration is being planned for Aug. 10.

Whereas Twisted Vines has “one of the best wine-by-the-glass and whiskey selections” in Arlington, in Wagner’s estimation, he’s hoping BrickHaus can be its beer counterpart, filling a void in the community.

“We wanted to keep it local,” he said. “We said, let’s give Columbia Pike another great option with great beer.”

BrickHaus is hoping to open by late summer, in time for Oktoberfest.

by Jackie Friedman — June 28, 2016 at 9:40 am 0

Arlington's Got Talent

Talented local entertainers will participate in the fourth annual Arlington’s Got Talent competition tonight.

The event, organized by Leadership Arlington, is being held at the Salsa Room (2619 Columbia Pike) starting at 6:30 p.m. After a social hour, the performers will take the stage starting at 7:30.

Arlington’s Got Talent offers exciting and fresh performances from some of the most vibrant and dynamic performers from the D.C. metropolitan area,” said Leadership Arlington.

Tickets to the event are $30 in advance, $40 at the door, and benefit the Leadership Center for Excellence’s Young Professionals Program scholarship fund.

Tonight’s seven scheduled performers are:

The performers will be judged by Susan Anderson of the Arlington County Treasurer’s Office; MTFA Architecture owner Michael Foster, Nate Robertson of Datapipe and Marymount University President Matt Shank. Audience members will act as the fifth judge by voting for their favorite act.

by ARLnow.com — June 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm 0

Libby Garvey at 2016 State of the County addressArlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey addressed transportation and affordable housing on Columbia Pike at her State of the County address Tuesday morning.

Garvey said the county needs to “fix the transportation” on the Pike, “not that it’s too bad now.” She referenced the Transit Development Plan for enhanced bus service on Columbia Pike, which the Board is expected to consider at its July meeting.

Garvey noted that there has been continued development along the Columbia Pike corridor. The cancellation of the streetcar project — Garvey led the charge against it — “hasn’t affected people as much as some would suggest,” she said.

Garvey also said the county needs to “slow down a bit” the pace of affordable housing development along Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike, to avoid an over-concentration of affordable housing in one place.

“It’s great what we’re doing, but I think we have to be aware that you don’t want to concentrate it too much,” she said.

That should be welcome news to the Coalition of Arlingtonians for Responsible Development (CARD), a particularly vocal civic group formed last year in opposition to what it views as a clustering of affordable housing on Columbia Pike. The group says it favors a more even geographic distribution of affordable housing throughout Arlington.

by ARLnow.com — June 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Arlington has more to do to make the county friendlier to small businesses, particularly those with brick-and-mortar storefronts.

That was one of the messages sent by Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey during her State of the County talk this morning.

Garvey discussed the county’s efforts to compete economically during the talk, which is hosted by the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce. While Garvey lauded the county’s push to attract large employers — particularly tech-related firms — to Arlington, she lamented that small businesses are still encountering regulatory road blocks. As an example, she cited the experience of former Democratic state delegate Rob Krupicka, who opened a Sugar Shack Donuts location along Columbia Pike in February.

Garvey noted that Krupicka — who served in the House of Delegates for four years, representing parts of Arlington and Alexandria — had been expressing frustration on Facebook with the process of opening a shop in Arlington. She later reached out to him, asking that he share his experience with county staff.

“It was a little hard as a Board member to sit there and hear it,” she said. “He had to come in six times to get approval for a sign… And this was a small business, [Rob] is the one doing it all. [He also] had to come in to pay for permits and things because you can’t pay online.”

“We need to be thinking of the big guys, going to China [to attract businesses],” said Garvey, “but we also need to be down on the very granular level and make sure people don’t have to come six times for a sign — and can pay online. We’re working on it, we’re not there yet, but we’re absolutely committed to making it work.”

Asked about his experience, Krupicka said it was “definitely easier” to open his first donut shop in Alexandria than it was to open his second in Arlington.

“Both have their issues. Both have good staff. Alexandria has put a lot of effort into streamlining and it shows,” Krupicka told ARLnow.com. “The Arlington permitting process is in need of streamlining and modernization.”

There were five areas in particular where Arlington County could improve, according to Krupicka.

  1. “Payments have to be made by mail or in person rather than online and for some things you can’t move forward without payment, so that means waiting in line in the planning office for hours to get your name called so you can hand a check to somebody.”
  2. “Planning, Zoning, Health, etc. don’t talk to each other and it appears they don’t understand where each other fits in the process. The process actually seems to assume the small business person will force that communication and coordination. That is crazy, as the small business person shouldn’t have to be an expert on government process, the process should be designed to be easy. The big guys just hire lawyers. Small businesses should not have to.”
  3. “Many permits need to be applied for in person. You can’t just submit them online. You have to sit in the office and wait to be called, wasting hours of time. I have spent days waiting in the county offices. I have overheard a lot of very unhappy individuals and business people. The elected officials should spend some time walking through this process.”
  4. “In Alexandria you only need one permit to put up a building sign. It takes 20 days or so. In Arlington, you need two permits, zoning and construction, and it takes 60 days plus. In Alexandria you can apply online and never have to go into the office. My Arlington sign had me to to the County Offices at least 5 times wasting a lot of money on parking and more importantly time.”
  5. “There is an online system for some things, but in my experience, it was very cumbersome and I spent hours working with tech support to get it to work. I’m hoping that is fixed now.”

“All of this could be streamlined without impacting the proper county regulatory role,” Krupicka concluded. “I was impressed the way Libby Garvey reached out to me, tried to help and then made time and organized county staff to listen to my experience in order to try and fix it. She, [County Board member John] Vihstadt and Commissioner [of Revenue] Ingrid Morroy were the three that made a real effort to help me.”

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Crystal Car show in Crystal City on Father's Day 2016

Courthouse, Columbia Pike Developments Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a 90-unit condominium building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse. The Board voted 4-1, with John Vihstadt voting against, after hearing objections from residents of the nearby Odyssey condo tower. Also on Saturday, the Board unanimously approved a 105-unit condo building on the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike. [Arlington County, Arlington County]

Plans Filed for New Affordable Complex in Rosslyn — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing has filed preliminary plans to redevelop the 39-unit Queens Court apartment complex into a new, 12-story, 250-unit affordable apartment building, with underground parking and a 9,000 square foot public park and playground. The redevelopment was included in 2015’s Western Rosslyn Area Plan, or WRAP. [Washington Business Journal]

Woodlawn Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board has approved a $616,000 contract for improvements to Woodlawn Park in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood. The improvements to the 3.2 acre park includes “replacing the playground equipment, updating the trails and better protecting Lubber Run stream.” [Arlington County]

Couple Gets Engaged at Local Event — A San Antonio, Texas couple got engaged at Friday night’s Wine in the Waterpark event in Crystal City. [Twitter]

Stream Restoration Project OKed — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.5 million contract to restore the lower portion of the Four Mile Run stream. Work on the project, which has been in the works since 2000, is expected to begin later this summer and may result in some trail detours over the course of a year. [Arlington County]

First Day of Summer Today — Today is the first day of astronomical summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. [Capital Weather Gang]

Leadership Arlington to Run Volunteer Arlington — The nonprofit group Leadership Arlington will be taking over the administration of Volunteer Arlington from Arlington County. Leadership Arlington won the contract in a competitive bidding process. Volunteer Arlington is “the County’s clearinghouse for volunteerism, matching volunteers with non-profits and government programs that rely on volunteers in carrying out their work.” [Arlington County]

by Tim Regan — June 17, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

The Arlington County Board will consider planned residential developments in Courthouse and on Columbia Pike this weekend.

The Board will discuss a new residential tower planned in Courthouse and the redevelopment of the Rappahannock Coffee site on Columbia Pike during its monthly meeting Saturday.

A developer is seeking the Board’s approval the Bush Construction building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd to build a tower with 14 floors of apartments or condos, a rooftop terrace, ground floor retail and five levels of underground parking and storage.

At the Rappahannock Coffee site, developer B.M. Smith seeks a use permit to tear down a trio of buildings at 2330, 2342 and 2406 Columbia Pike and replace them with a six-story mixed-use building with 105 new residential units, 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and a 140-space parking garage.

County staff is recommending approval of both projects. The Board is scheduled to meet at 2100 Clarendon Blvd tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

by ARLnow.com — June 17, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

View from the rooftop of the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City (photo courtesy @rydaka)

Some Developers Are Pessimistic About the Pike — “The mood is not good,” Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization chairman John Murphy said of developers. “Some of them made big investments, big bets based on the county saying we’re going to do the streetcar. They feel betrayed, they’re not happy at all.” [Bisnow]

Board to Buy Bungalow to Bolster Benjamin Banneker — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve the purchase of a $637,500 property on 17th Street N. in order to expand Benjamin Banneker Park, near the East Falls Church Metro station. [InsideNova]

DCA Flight Path Changes — The Federal Aviation Administration is considering changes to flight paths for planes departing Reagan National Airport, in response to complaints from D.C. residents. Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is organizing a community meeting to discuss “recent changes to departure procedures for aircraft taking off to the south of the airport.” [WTOP, Rep. Don Beyer]

Chaplain at DCA Mourns Son — Rev. Nace Lanier, the chaplain at Reagan National Airport, is mourning the loss of his 10-year-old son to a brain tumor. [Washington Post]

Clarendon Salon Closed Due to Flooding — Casal’s at Clarendon, a salon and day spa, has been closed for a week “due to a water pipe breaking and flooding the salon.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Sehkraft Makes ‘Hottest New Bars’ ListSehkraft Brewing in Clarendon is one of the 10 hottest new bars in the D.C. area, according to Zagat, which writes: “This sprawling, pulsating Arlington brewhouse, gastropub, butcher shop, beer garden and live-music venue is powered by the brilliantly colored art on the walls, robust smoked and grilled American fare and curated craft beers.” [Zagat]

Free Smoothies Today — Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which has a location at 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, is celebrating National Flip Flop Day by raising money for charity and giving out some free smoothies. The store will offer free smoothies to customers wearing flip flops from 2-7 p.m. [Tropical Smoothie Cafe]

Photo courtesy @rydaka

by Adrian Cruz — June 17, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Columbia Pike Blues FestivalThe blues will return to Arlington as the 21st annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be held on Saturday from 1-8:30 p.m.

The festival will feature a mix of local and nationally recognized blues talent throughout the day. Admission is free.

Here is the list of acts scheduled to perform:

  • Little Bit A Blues @ 1:00 p.m.
  • Bobby Thompson Project ft. Ron Holloway @ 2:00 p.m.
  • Bosley @ 3:30 p.m
  • Davina and the Vagabonds @ 5:00 p.m.
  • Jesse Dee @ 6:30 p.m.

Along with the music, the festival will also have have local food vendors. Some of the cuisines on offer include Moroccan, Nigerian, Mexican, Caribbean.

Here is a list of vendors:

  • Mazagan Restaurant — Modern Moroccan cuisine
  • Cantina Mexicana — Mexican and Tex-Mex
  • Suya To Go — Nigerian
  • BubbleTeaLicious — Bubble teas, shave ice, ice cream
  • Mac’s Donuts — Fresh-made donuts and lemonade
  • Carol’s Concessions — Caribbean and American festival fare
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ — Barbecue and all the sides

Arts and crafts vendors and other local businesses will also represented.

The festival will take place at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive. There will also be street closures for the event.

Here is a the list of street closures according to Arlington County:

  • Walter Reed Drive will be closed from Columbia Pike to 9th Street S. Vehicles can use 7th Street to Highland Street as a detour.
  • 9th Road will be closed from S. Garfield Street to Walter Reed Drive.
  • 9th Street will be closed from S. Highland Street to Walter Reed Drive.

Attendees are encouraged to take public transportation with many ART and Metrobus lines serving the area. The weather forecast for the festival is sunny with a high of 82 degrees.

by ARLnow.com — June 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Police car (file photo)A woman who was staying in a hotel along Columbia Pike woke up early Monday morning to find a burglar in her room.

Police say the man stole items from the woman’s suitcase, in a room at the Sheraton hotel near the Air Force Memorial.

The burglar was reportedly wearing slippers at the time of the crime.

From an Arlington County Police crime report:

LATE BURGLARY, 160615013, 900 block of S. Orme Street. Between 4:10 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on June 15, a female victim awoke to a male suspect entering her hotel room. She observed him steal objects from her suitcase and then flee when she confronted him. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall and weighed 160 lbs. He was wearing a gray shirt, orange/khaki shorts, and slippers.

by ARLnow.com — June 15, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

The Washington Monument is seen in the distance, above Arlington County's fire training facility near Shirlington

Shark Tank Casting in Crystal City — ABC’s “Shark Tank” is holding a casting call today at the 1776 incubator in Crystal City. “Applicants will have roughly 90 seconds to make their initial pitches to casting producers, with about three minutes for a Q&A portion.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bill Clinton Visits the Pike — Former President and possible future First Gentleman Bill Clinton met with Virginia Latino leaders at Cafe Sazon on Columbia Pike over the weekend. [Facebook]

Arlington Man Is Suspected Serial Bank Robber — Police have identified a serial bank robbery suspect who was arrested Friday in Falls Church as 42-year-old Arlington resident Amin Huie. Police say Huie is the “Forever Loyal Bandit” who has robbed seven banks since 2014, including a Capital One Bank on Columbia Pike last year. [Fairfax County PD, WJLA]

More on Garvey’s Win — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey’s “unorthodox, controversial” strategy of appealing to non-Democrats in the Democratic primary is “likely to alter future campaigns,” writes Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey, in an analysis of Garvey’s decisive primary win last night. [InsideNova]

Repairs to Westover Branch Library — Work to repair water damage and install new windows at the Westover Branch Library will take place from mid-July to late September. The library will remain open during that time. [Arlington Public Library]

County Touts Increase in Trail Usage — “After a week of single tracking along the Orange/Silver Line between Ballston and East Falls Church, automated counters in the County’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor show an increase of between 70 and 90 percent in bike ridership from the same period last year. Capital BikeShare use in Arlington is up between 20 and 50 percent.” [Arlington County]


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