Hunter Mill District Supervisor Candidates to Discuss Business Issues Next Week

Candidates running for Hunter Mill District Supervisor will discuss their ideas about business issues at a candidate forum next week.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on Friday, May 17 from 8-10 a.m. at Cooley Law Offices (11951 Freedom Drive). Candidates vying for the seat vacated by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will touch on issues including budget and taxation, growth and development, transportation, and affordable housing.

Tracy Baynard of McGuireWoods Consulting will moderate the event. After candidates make opening statements, Baynard will ask follow-up questions. No time is allotted to rebut other candidates’ responses.

Questions, which will not be shared in advance with candidates, will be pre-selected by GRCC’s planning committee and can be submitted to [email protected]

Four Democrats are running for Hudgins’ seat: Walter Alcorn, Laurie Dodd, Shyamali Hauth, Parker Messick, and Maggie Parker

Photo by Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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Hudgins Praises Frying Pan Farm Park for Land Use Award

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins lauded Frying Pan Farm Park for its clean water efforts, which recently earned the Herndon park a land-use award.

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) selected the park for the 2018 Fairfax County Clean Water Farm Award because of “its implementation of effective agricultural best management practices and diverse educational and outreach programs, as well as its close interactions with NVSWCD,” according to Fairfax County.

“It’s a fabulous park,” Hudgins said at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday (April 9). “It’s really exciting to be able to recognize them for the stewardship they do.”

Located at 2739 West Ox Road, the park preserves and interprets farm life of the first half of the 20th century. For the last two decades, the park has been working to comply with the Fairfax County’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Program by following the Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan, according to the county.

Chairman Sharon Bulova also added to the praise of the park. “That is pretty impressive,” Bulova said about the farm earning the award. “It is a working farm with lots of animals.”

Hudgins asked that the Frying Pan Farm Park staff get invited to the board for recognition, along with representatives from the county’s Park Authority and NVSWCD.

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Reston Citizens Association Announces Hunter Mill District Supervisor Candidate Forum

Residents in Reston and Herndon will soon get the chance to attend a free forum featuring the candidates running for Cathy Hudgins’ Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat.

The Reston Citizens Association plans to hold the forum on Tuesday, April 23, at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza N.) from 7-9 p.m.

The association is hosting the forum to allow Restonians to learn more first-hand from their potential supervisor’s positions and plans first-hand, according to a press release.

“RCA is very excited to resume our long tradition of connecting the citizens of Reston and the Hunter Mill district with their local leaders and with the information they need to make informed decisions,” Dennis Hays, the president of the Reston Citizens Association, said in the press release. “We expect this to be the first of many such forums.”

Hudgins announced her decision in January to retire after her current term ends.

Four Democrats have entered the race for her seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors, including:

Fairfax Democrats will hold their candidate forum on Monday, April 29, from 7-9 p.m. at the Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road).

Photo via Fairfax County Republican Committee 

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Statewide tornado drill today — Don’t be surprised if your neighbors act there’s a tornado, because there’s a statewide drill starting at 9:45 a.m. [Reston Now]

Reston makes the list — Find out which Reston developments made the Washington Business Journal’s “Best Real Estate Deals” roundup. [Washington Business Journal]

Hudgins interview — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins might be stepping down from her Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s role, but locals can still expect to see her around Reston. Hudgins answered some questions about development, One Fairfax and more. [Inside NoVa]

Photo courtesy @thoroughly.adorable.millie/Instagram

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BREAKING: County Board Approves Hudgins’ Ask to ‘Indefinitely Defer’ PRC Proposal

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ motion to “indefinitely defer” the consideration of a proposed zoning amendment.

The zoning ordinance has been a hotly debated issue among Restonians.

It would have increased the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons to any number up to 15, along with allowing residential development at a density of up to 70 dwelling units per acre in certain areas.

“There are those in the community who do not support this change to the PRC density because they do not support redevelopment of the village centers and are concerned about future growth in Reston,” Hudgins told the board before the vote. “There is also concern that this PRC amendment will somehow support residential development on one or both of the two golf courses in Reston.”

Hudgins also said that misinformation has plagued the push to update the zoning ordinance and thanked the staff for their work educating the community.

“I had hoped that we could have found a way to provide the necessary zoning tool to implement the adopted Reston Plan,” Hudgins said.

Hudgins said that she will work with staff and community representatives to outline a process and timeframe to reexamine the plan for the village centers before reconsidering the PRC amendment — the Planning Commission’s suggested solution.

The vote came shortly after noon on Tuesday (March 5) during the board’s meeting.

Chairman Sharon Bulova told Hudgins that she understands the PRC amendment has been difficult for her and the Reston community.

“This is not easy, and I know that folks have asked for the opportunity to maybe step back and try to revisit the process that will allow things to move forward in a way that has more community engagement and more community support for a path forward,” she said.

Photo via Fairfax County 

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Town Hall on Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Heading to Herndon

This month marks the beginning of Fairfax County’s fiscal year 2020 budget process. Locals in the Hunter Mill District can attend a town hall in Herndon on the first Saturday of March to get more information on the proposed budget plan.

Projections expect the county’s revenue to grow by 2.9 percent, generating more than $156 million in additional revenue for FY 2020, according to the county.

The town hall is set to take place from 8:30-11 a.m. on March 2 at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center (2709 West Ox Road).

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Executive Bryan Hill and Fairfax County Public Schools staff will give the presentations, according to Hudgins’ newsletter.

After coffee and a conversation starting at 8:30 a.m., the elected officials and county staff will be available to answer questions.

The next steps in the budget process include posting the proposed tax rates, followed by public hearings in April held by the county’s Board of Supervisors.

The FY 2020 fiscal year begins on July 1.

Image via Fairfax County

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After ‘Difficult’ Decision to Retire, Hudgins Shares Priorities for Year

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins used her newsletter this month to give a glimpse into her “difficult decision” behind her decision to not run for re-election to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999. Her retirement announcement came during the Board of Supervisors meeting last month, adding to the list of supervisors who have also said they are leaving.

Now in her 20th year on the board, Hudgins used the newsletter as an opportunity to share her priorities for a “vigorous” year, including renewable energy and Silver Line Phase 2’s progress.

Here is her full note:

Dear Hunter Mill Friends,

On Jan. 22, during the first Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting in 2019, I was struck by the thought: I am beginning my 20th year as Hunter Mill Supervisor with the mixed emotions of excitement and joy in serving the community and the reality that even good things must end. At that moment, I felt compelled to speak and share my intention not to seek reelection to be the Hunter Mill District representative. Believe me it was a difficult decision and an equally difficult announcement. However, I do intend to have a vigorous 20th year and continue to enjoy the kind of work that we’ve been able to do with this board.

One thing that will greatly contribute to a vigorous year is an improved public transit system, connecting the Metrorail system to Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County. I am excited to share that the first trains rolled along the Silver Line Phase 2 tracks around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The test train traveled from Wiehle-Reston Station to Innovation Station at a speed of about 15 mph! There is an interesting story behind that spectacular speed. Because the third rail is not yet electrified for this test, the trains were pushed by a small diesel locomotive. Once the rail polishing phase — necessary to remove rust that can accumulate on unused rails — is complete, additional trains, equipped for Safe-Braking and Control-Line Communications trials, will begin the “dynamic testing” process. This is required before the rail line begins commercial operation.

This testing work, is a significant milestone and will continue for several months before public service commences in 2020.

Another area of significant relevance and impact is the environment. In 2017, the BOS adopted an Environmental Vision “to promote and encourage energy efficiency and conservation efforts and renewable energy initiatives by county employees, employers and residents.” In 2018, the board adopted an Energy Strategy for county operations with the goal of
reducing “fossil fuel consumption through the application of innovative concepts & technologies.” In 2019, the BOS is raising awareness of its achievements already made — two Solarize campaigns conducting free on-site solar assessments that led solar panel installations, totaling 398 kW — and the county commitment to a third campaign in the spring of 2019. With the assistance of the SolSmart program, we will do just that. SolSmart is a national designation program for solar friendly communities, their commitments, and their accomplishments.

Moreover, Fairfax County is committed to improve solar market conditions, making it faster, easier and more affordable for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems. Currently, the county is considering the creation of a local Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Depending on the ordinance language, a C-PACE loan
could finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on industrial, commercial, agricultural, multi-family and non-profit/religious properties. So as you can surmise, it will be another busy year.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that representing the Hunter Mill District continues to be challenging and thrilling and I am looking forward to a dynamic 2019 indeed. It is an ongoing honor to serve and I fully intend to continue being engaged with the work of the community.

— Cathy Hudgins

File photo

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Hudgins Calls for More Streetlights in Rapidly Urbanizing Reston

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says there’s a clear need around Reston for new streetlights.

Hudgins believes residents are currently dissuaded from taking pedestrian paths through Reston because the sidewalks are poorly lit, she said during a discussion about new lighting across Fairfax County in an Environmental Committee Meeting today (Tuesday).

“There are dark skies in parts of Reston, but now there is a greater demand for light,” said Hudgins. “Now, people are walking [around Reston] and there are no lights.”

The topic of streetlights in Reston emerged from a discussion of Fairfax County’s arrangement with Dominion Energy to begin replacing existing lights with LEDs. Fairfax County will be responsible for the costs to convert functioning streetlights, though any that are damaged or fail prematurely will be converted to LED at no cost to the county.

“If the poles get hit by trucks, that’s on Dominion,” said Kambiz Agazi, environmental and energy coordinator for Fairfax County. “I’m not suggesting we go out and hit these poles, but if a snow plow hits the poles, Dominion will cover the cost of replacing them.”

While Agazi said the county would reduce $1.4 million in annual costs if all of Fairfax’s 58,000 streetlights were replaced with LEDs, some of that savings would be offset by the cost of adding new streetlights throughout Reston. Hudgins said more research needs to be done on how many lights would be needed and what advantages it would bring to the community.

Streetlights are not a new topic of discussion in Reston. In 2017, the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee expressed concerns that increased lighting could have an adverse effect on wildlife.

Agazi said staff will begin working on a report on the possibility of adding streetlights to Reston.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Reston Lawyer Vies for Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Seat

Laurie Tyler Dodd, a lawyer in Reston, is the third Democratic candidate to enter the race for the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Dodd is running on a campaign to maintain low density outside the Reston transit corridor, according to a Facebook post she wrote on Jan. 17. Reston’s density has recently been the focus of a contentious zoning proposal that would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community district from 13 persons to any number up to 15.

Other major issues she wants to address include:

  • preserving Vienna’s “small town feeling”
  • protecting the environment
  • ensuring the district is “welcoming to all and supportive of its families and business”

The Washington Post reported that Dodd joined the race as a Democrat before Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins announced on Jan. 22 that she won’t seek re-election this year.

Dodd currently is an attorney primarily practicing in Loudoun and Fairfax counties, according to her LinkedIn. She represents the best interests of children, addressing issues such as custody, visitation and foster care planning.

She has lived in Reston for 23 years.

Two Democratic candidates have already joined the race for her seat, Reston Now previously reported.

Shyamali Hauth, a United States Air Force veteran and community advocate, has her campaign focused on transportation, affordable housing, construction practices, budgets, security and education systems. Parker Messick, a recent graduate of Roanoke College, is running on a platform to “stop big development.”

The election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5.

Photo via Laurie Tyler Dodd/Facebook

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to Retire After Term Ends

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said today (Jan. 22) that she will not seek re-election this year.

The announcement came shortly after 11:30 a.m. during the Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Her planned retirement adds to list of supervisors who have also said they are leaving.

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999.

Her colleagues on the board took to Twitter shortly after the announcement to share the news and praise her work.

Chairman Sharon Bulova, who announced her plans to retire in December, tweeted that Hudgins “will be sincerely missed when she retires from the Board at the end of 2019.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity posted — and then deleted — a tweet saying, “At today’s Board meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has announced that she will not seek re-election. It was a pleasure serving with her and I wish her the best on her future endeavors.” A few minutes later, he wrote, “At today’s Board meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has announced that she will not seek re-election.”

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was the chairman before Bulova, tweeted that Hudgins has been a “tireless advocate for the Hunter Mill District,” pointing to her work on affordable housing.

Two Democratic candidates have already joined the race for her seat, Reston Now previously reported.

Shyamali Hauth, a United States Air Force veteran and community advocate, has her campaign focused on transportation, affordable housing, construction practices, budgets, security and education systems. Parker Messick, a recent graduate of Roanoke College, is running on a platform to “stop big development.”

The election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5.

File photo

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Democrat Launches Campaign for Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Seat

Parker Messick is running on a platform to “stop big development” to unseat Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

Messick, a Democrat, announced his campaign on Sunday (Dec. 16).

Messick told Reston Now that he wants to stop big development in Reston and Vienna, which “is on track to make Reston look more like Tysons or Arlington.”

“Reston was always meant to be a planned mixed-use community per the vision of Robert E. Simon, Reston’s founder,” Messick wrote in an email. “Despite this vision, developers have desired to build endless new high rises, with even more on the way, if they are allowed to continue.”

He added that while Reston was meant to have some big development, it “was always meant to be relegated to the Reston Town Center.”

Controversial paid parking is another top priority for him. Messick said he would negotiate with Boston Properties, the owners of Reston Town Center, to end the paid parking there.

“I agree with Boston Properties that people should not be able to use their parking for free simply as a way to avoid metro parking, but the approach that has been taken has caused many people to avoid RTC altogether and has harshly hurt the businesses located there,” he said.

Other major issues he wants to address include:

  • alleviating traffic congestion
  • increasing affordable housing
  • allocating available funds to improve the county’s public school system
  • preventing pollution and protecting the environment

He is a recent graduate of Roanoke College, where he studied political science. His website says he has a “background in the facilitation of political campaigns” and “experience engaging with the local community through volunteering and being receptive to the community’s voices.”

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will include a few new faces in 2020, with the recent announcement of Chairman Sharon Bulova’s upcoming retirement adding to the list of the supervisors leaving.

The election for the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place on Nov. 5, 2019.

Photo via Parker Messick for Supervisor

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Donations Sought for Blanket and Coat Drive for Refugees

A blanket and coat drive for refugees fleeing Syria kicks off on Saturday (Nov. 10). The drive, which is organized by the NOVA Relief Center, will run through Dec. 8.

Donations collected this year will go to three refugee camps in northern Jordan, with shipping costs covered by Paxton Van Lines and Maersk.

Drop-off locations are available throughout the region. Options in Herndon and Reston include the following:

  • Office of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive)
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1515 Poplar Grove Drive) – Sundays only
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Franklin building (2727 Centerville Rd. Herndon, VA 20171) – Sundays only
  • Oak Hill Elementary School 3210 Kinross Circle Herndon, Virginia Town of Herndon Town Hall (777 Lynn Street Herndon)
  • The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (3301 Hidden Meadow Drive)
  • Congregation Beth Emeth (12523 Lawyers Road) 

All sizes and fabric are accepted for the blanket and coat drive, but items must be clean and in new or gently-used condition. Interested residents can also donate funds for the drive, allowing the center to purchase high-quality blankets and coats in bulk and at non-profit discounts.

The drive is in its fifth year of operation. NOVA Relief Center is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for refugees abroad and in northern Virginia.

Photo via NOVA Relief Center

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County Board Approves Lake Anne Fellowship House Redevelopment

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, a 240-unit project that offers affordable housing for seniors.

County officials and the development team called the approval, granted on Tuesday (Oct. 16), a win for seniors seeking affordable housing in Reston. For years, community partners and Fellowship Square Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and maintains the current buildings, have contemplated ways to replace the aging buildings with a new facility.

All affordable units, currently distributed between two aging buildings built in the 1970s, will be replaced with a new 240-unit building along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road. The eight-story apartment building is 200,000 square feet and includes a garage. The plan also adds 36 market-rate townhouses to the west side of the property that will help finance the construction of senior housing.

Lake Anne’s current tenants will stay in their apartment during the two-year construction of the new building. After residents move, the old buildings will be torn down and converted into townhouses.

“The residents are excited and they are looking forward to a brand-new facility,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, adding that the addition of townhouses “brings in another neighbor to the community to coalesce with this current group of citizens and those that will come in the future.”

The project is led by Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corp., a nonprofit real estate developer. The development team navigated through many difficult issues to bring the project to fruition, including preserving the number of affordable units and maintaining housing for all current tenants, according to Lynne Strobel, representative of Fellowship Square Foundation. A previous partnership with Novus Residences failed to gain traction in 2004.

The need for the project intensified recently as subsidies from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development expired or will expire within the next five years, Strobel said. The current buildings were also becoming difficult and costly to maintain, she said.

The units offer different levels of affordability, with the first tier beginning at 50 percent of the area median income or about $41,050 per person. The plan also includes eight publicly-accessible parks and transportation improvements. The development team plans to dedicate land for the future alignment of Village Road, which will include a new northbound lane, an eight-foot-wide raised median and 10-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Michael Scheurer, a Fellowship Square Foundation board member, said the redevelopment effort was complicated, difficult and serves as a growing number of aging residents in Reston in need of affordable housing opportunities. The foundation has another 220-unit affordable senior housing project that is undergoing renovations.

“You can see that we have a longterm and substantial investment in the community,” Scheurer said.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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New Members Appointed to Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed three members to Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors Tuesday (Oct. 16).

Incumbents Lisa Sechrest-Ehrhardt and William G. Bouie were appointed to the board alongside newcomer Richard Stillson. Sechrest-Ehrhardt had the most votes in this year’s preference poll with 1,426 votes. Stillson had 1,221 votes while Bouie had 1,194 votes. Other candidates were Gerald Zavala (1,036 votes) and April Tan (755 votes).

Three-year terms for the newly-appointed members begin on Nov. 5. Zavala, who unsuccessfully ran for a board seat, will leave the board after serving for six years, including four as treasurer.

RCC offered the following background information about the new members:

William G. Bouie has served on the RCC Board since 2003, and served as the Board Chair from 2006 until 2008. He is also the current chair of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board, and vice chair of the Board of Directors for Public Art Reston. He has served in formal and informal roles in many other community organizations, including the Wolf Trap Associates Board of Directors, Reston Hospital Board of Trustees, Reston Little League, Reston Youth Baseball, Reston’s YMCA Board of Management, Friends of Reston and the United States Olympic Committee’s Project Gold, among others.

Lisa Sechrest-Ehrhardt has served on the RCC Board since 2012. She is a professional social worker and diversity trainer. In addition to her experience as a former RCC employee, Lisa and her family have participated in numerous RCC programs as patrons. Her experiences as an educator and communicator have focused on celebrating diversity and engaging community members of all backgrounds.

Richard Stillson is a 46-year Reston resident and longtime International Monetary Fund staffer. He was the first president of the advocacy group Reston 2020 and was former chair of Reston Association’s Lakes Committee. He has been active at RCC as an instructor of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) courses.

RCC is governed by a nine-member board that is appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors after residents and businesses of Small District 5 note their preferences in an annual poll. The board is responsible for key oversight functions, including strategic planning, community relations, fiduciary oversight and policy administration.

Logo via Reston Community Center

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County Officials Mull How to Boost Housing Affordability

County officials are seeking the public’s feedback on how to increase housing affordability in Reston and surrounding areas.

At a meeting on September 20 (Wednesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, will discuss the second phase of the county’s Housing Community-wide Housing Strategic Plan.

The meeting will take place in the lecture hall at South Lakes High School from 7-9 p.m.

The second phase of the plan aims to offer ways resources can”act as a catalyst for new affordable housing production and quality affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation,” according to the county.

The overall plan, recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors, was drafted by county staff and a group of stakeholders, including nonprofit leaders and the business community, to pitch strategies to address future housing needs. The policy is designed to reinforce the county’s economic development strategies and approaches to ensure racial and social equity across all county services.

The plan seeks to end homeless in a decade, provide affordable housing to special needs population, meet affordable housing needs for low-income, working families and increase workforce housing through creative partnerships and policy arrangements.

Phase one of the plan includes 25 short-term strategies that can help create more housing options without major policy changes or significant revenue sources. Phase two of the plan will offer longer-term strategies to develop new tools, policies, and resources to boost affordable housing options.

File photo

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