Morning Notes

Reston Company Adds New Domains — Public Interest Registry is adding .giving, .charity, and .foundation to its network. The Reston-based company hopes to give more options for nonprofits, mission-driven organizations, and other entities. [Technical.ly]

Where to Find the Best Holiday Trees — There are many options to find the biggest and brightest trees in Northern Virginia. One local option is Reston Town Center, which is also hosting horse-drawn carriage rides and min train rides. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

County Issues Guidance on COVID-19 — The county is encouraging residents to maintain social distancing as the holidays draw near. Cases of COVID-19 are increasing. Northern Virginia has returned to a high transmission level this week, although the Omicron variant has not been identified locally. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Morning Notes

Herndon workers put a wreath on the front of the town’s government center. (Photo by David Taube)

Park Authority Snags Honors — The Fairfax County Park Authority won three GIS excellence awards during the county’s annual Geographic Information System Day contest. The park authority was one of 19 government agencies competing. [Fairfax County Government]

Local Holiday Celebrations Begin in Reston Town Center — The annual Reston Holiday Parade returned in late November to Reston Town Center. The Connection provides an update on the festivities, including comments from one of the emcees, Angie Goff, a news anchor at FOX 5. [The Connection]

County Hypothermia Program Now Open — The county’s hypothermia prevention program is open through March 31. Shelters are available for individual adults and adults with children at several locations across the county. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by David Taube

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The weekly planner is a roundup of interesting events over the next week in the Herndon and Reston area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note. Want to submit a listing? Submit your pitch here!

Monday, Nov. 29

  • Baby Lapsit — 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at Great Falls Library — Enjoy songs, stories and more to help build your child’s literacy skills. Registration required.

Tuesday, Nov. 30

  • Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights— 5:30-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens — Enjoy lights and holiday scenes in this annual transformation, which will stick around through Jan. 2. Tickets start at $16.

Wednesday, Dec. 2

  • The Sisters — 6-9 p.m. at Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar — An acoustic duo from Fairfax performs a variety of melancholic and upbeat sounds, playing genres that include folk, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and more.

Friday, Dec. 3

  • “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” — 8 p.m. at NextStop Theatre Co. with recurring performances throughout December — A three-member cast brings together this satirical and irreverent holiday production featuring traditional carols to pop cultural references and of course, Christmas icons ranging from Santa to the Grinch. Tickets start at $25.

Saturday, Dec. 4

  • Jingle on the Lake — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lake Anne Plaza — An annual staple returns, featuring Santa arriving by boat at noon for pictures, live music and holiday specials from merchants.

Sunday, Dec. 5

  • Holiday Arts & Craft Show — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Herndon Community Center — Over 70 artisans and crafts people will display and sell their handmade work. Free admission and parking.
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Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn helps a Cornerstones effort to get bags that have food and gift cards as well as other bags with toiletries to those in need. (Photo via Cornerstones/Instagram)

With giving Tuesday on the horizon, the season of charity and gift-giving has arrived.

A number of local organizations have launched year-end campaigns and donations drives. We’ve rounded up some ways to help your neighbors and local nonprofit organizations.

Santa’s Ride

Drop off new unwrapped toys, games, books, and gifts to any Fairfax County police station through Saturday, Dec. 11. The items will be donated to Fairfax Hospital, the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center and other children in the community. The Town of Herndon’s police department is also participating.

Toys for Tots

The county’s fire and rescue department is taking part in the annual campaign. Residents can drop off unwrapped and new toys at any Fairfax County fire station through Sunday, Dec. 12.

Knitting Communities Together

Donate new or gently used handmade hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, and socks for adults and children. Items are distributed to local nonprofits like Cornerstones, Homestretch and ShelterHouse. Donations can be made through Jan. 5 at a number of locations, including the Herndon Senior Center in Herndon and the Pimmit Hills Senior Center in McLean.

Reston Winter Coat Closet

The Hunter Mill District Office and Cornerstones are collecting new or gently used winter coats and new hats, scarves and gloves for neighbors in need. Donations can be dropped off at the North County Governmental Center in Reston between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 11 and Jan. 8.

Reston Elf Store

The recently renamed Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate and the Reston Teen Center are collecting a wide variety of items. Suggested donations include candles, robes, nail polish, home goods, gloves, shaving kits and flashlights. Donations can be dropped off through Dec. 10 at the center in Reston.

Gift Cards

The county’s domestic and sexual violence services office is also accepting gift card donations. Mail cards by Thursday, Dec. 9, to Vanessa Cullers at the Domestic Violence Action Center or Gulira Alieva at Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

The police department’s victim services division is also collecting gift card for child victims and witnesses of domestic and sexual violence. Residents can drop off gift cards or send them to Saly Fayez, Victim Services Section, 12099 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035.

Know of any other local opportunities to get into the giving spirit? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Town of Herndon has released its official roster of events for this holiday season.

Residents can choose from several options, including craft pop-ins, improv events, a German-inspired market, and holiday performances. Below is a rundown of events that are expected to run from Saturday, Nov. 27 through the end of the year.

Every Thursday except this Thursday and Dec. 23, residents can enjoy a holiday craft pop-in, which includes crafts for children and parents at Arts Herndon. The event takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and a donation of $5 is suggested.

A holiday market by local artists and artisans gives residents the chance to purchase unique Christmas and holiday presents at Arts Herndon. The market takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An open-mic event is set at Arts Herndon later than day at 7 p.m. It is open to all.

But if you’re looking for something more structured, Santa Clause, Rudolph and a wide array of other seasonal characters make an appearance in NextStop Theatre’s performance, “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!). The show runs from Friday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 19. General admission is $25, with additional fees on top of that.

The Wicked Olde Band will kick off a holiday performance with a mix of folk, blues, Celtic and light jazz at Arts Herndon on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 7-9:30 p.m. The event is free, but a donation of $10 is recommended.

At the Town Hall Square, all can join for a holiday tree lighting and sing-along that day. The hour-long event begins at 5 p.m.

A arts and craft show with more than 70 vendors comes to Herndon Community Center. Admission and parking are free for the show, which takes place on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents can also enjoy a holiday performance by Treble Clefs and Friends that day at Arts Herndon from 5-7 p.m. A donation of $10 is recommended.

The Wintermarkt, which brings the old world charm of Christmas in Europe to Herndon, returns to the Herndon Municipal Center on Saturday, Dec. 11 from noon to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to all.

The holiday model train show also returns to Arts Herndon on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The caboose will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A New Year’s Ev golf tournament is also planned for Friday, Dec. 31. The shotgun starts at 10 a.m. and the entry deadline is Dec. 26. The fee is $75 per player.

Photo via Herndon Wintermarkt/Facebook

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Morning Notes

All Adults Eligible for Booster Shot — Any adult who received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months earlier is eligible to receive a booster dose. The recommendations come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the eligibility criteria for both vaccines. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Board Adopts New Budget — Reston Association’s Board of Directors has approved a $19.8 million budget for 2022. The assessment was set at $740. [RA]

Local Ways to Give This Holiday Season — Local residents can embrace the spirit of giving this holiday season by donating toys, clothes, gift cards, and more. Options in the county include toys for tots by the fire and rescue department and the Reston Winter Coat Closet. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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American flag (Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash)

Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is today, which means several facilities will be closed to the public to observe the holiday. 

While President Joe Biden and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam have made executive moves in honoring the new name (following a sea of changes by states and cities), Congress would need to follow suit in terms of renaming the federal holiday — or at least create a joint holiday — to fully recognize it.

Notably, Fairfax County had removed the day off from its holiday calendar, meaning operations are largely open. Fairfax County government offices and facilities, including libraries, are open, but courts are closed.

RECenters are open and other parks programming will occur. The Herndon Community Center is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the pool and locker rooms are closed.

The Fairfax Connector is running on its holiday service, where several routes are not operating at all.

Metro has also listed a holiday schedule.

You can expect in-person services at most banks to be unavailable, given closings for the federal holiday.

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles locations are among the state entities closed.

Fairfax County Public Schools students have the day off while staff have a professional development day.

Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash

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Lake Newport Pool (via Reston Association/YouTube)

Labor Day weekend has almost arrived, unofficially bringing summer to an end with an occasion to recognize the achievement of workers and the labor movement.

For students, the weekend has already begun, since Fairfax County Public Schools has designated both today (Friday) and Monday (Sept. 6) as holidays.

While Reston Association’s summer pool season has mostly come to a close, a handful of pools will be open over Labor Day weekend, with the North Shore and Ridge Heights heated pools remaining open through Sept. 19.

RA announced on Tuesday (Aug. 31) that the North Shore, Ridge Heights, Lake Newport, and Glade pools will all open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 4-5) as well as from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.

“We are happy that we were able to open and operate the majority of RA pools safely this summer for our members enjoyment,” RA Director of Recreation and Environmental Education Laura Kowalski said in an email. “In addition, RA swim lessons, water exercise and pool events were well attended. And of course, our annual end of season Dog Paddles for our furry friends was a big hit.”

Elsewhere in Fairfax County, many public facilities and services will be closed or have altered schedules for Labor Day. Here are some of the changes that Reston and Herndon residents should be aware of for the federal holiday:

Fairfax County Government

Fairfax County Courts

Town of Herndon

  • Town offices and the Herndon Community Center will be closed for Labor Day.
  • There will be no recycling collection that day. Residents whose recycling is typically collected on Mondays will instead have pick-ups on Tuesday (Sept. 7).
  • The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open on Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

County Libraries and Recreational Facilities

Public Transit

  • Fairfax Connector buses will operate on a Sunday schedule for Labor Day. Check the transit system’s website for the specific routes that will be in service.
  • Metro will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight throughout Labor Day weekend, with trains serving 87 of 91 stations normally on the Red, Blue, and Silver lines and scheduled maintenance on the Orange, Yellow, and Green lines.
  • On Labor Day, Metrorail, buses, and MetroAccess will follow a Sunday service schedule with off-peak fares and free parking in effect all day.

County Trash and Recycling

  • Labor Day will not affect trash and recycling collections for county customers. However, the customer service center will be closed in observance of the holiday.
  • The I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex will both be open.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Fourth of July celebrations (via Sheri Hooley/Unsplash)

The Fourth of July is coming up this weekend, and with Monday (July 5) as a designated federal holiday, many public facilities and services will be shaking up their schedules.

The Fairfax County Health Department announced today (Friday) that all of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be closed on Independence Day, but walk-in services will be available at the Fairfax County Government Center and the former Safeway at Mount Vernon Square in Alexandria on Saturday.

A vaccine site at Springfield Town Center will also be open for walk-ins on Monday.

Here are some other closures that county residents should keep in mind this holiday weekend:

Fairfax County Government

Fairfax County Courts

County Libraries, Recreation Centers, Parks

Public Transit

  • Fairfax Connector buses will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday. Check the link for details on specific routes.
  • WMATA Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Details on routes and closed stations can be found on the Metro website.
  • WMATA Metrobus will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday.

County Trash and Recycling

Reston

Herndon

  • Town offices and the Herndon Community Center will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
  • Recycling will be collected on Monday as normal.
  • The farm at Frying Pan Park and the indoor arena will be open, but the visitor center will be closed.
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The Spring Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) For the second year in a row, Fairfax County will observe Juneteenth as an official county holiday.

The county and Virginia first recognized the occasion as a paid holiday in 2020, and the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation making the holiday permanent in October. Juneteenth will be a federal holiday for the first time this year after Congress approved a bill earlier this week.

Juneteenth falls on June 19 every year to mark the anniversary of the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned that the U.S. Civil War had ended and that the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery almost two years earlier.

Because June 19 is a Saturday, Fairfax County will instead close government offices and give most employees a day off tomorrow (Friday). Closures include health department COVID-19 vaccination clinics, the circuit and general district courts, and Fairfax County Public Library, which will also be closed on Saturday.

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services says there will be no change in its trash and recycling collection services, but county residents who utilize private collectors should contact their hauler directly to find out their hours.

DPWES offices will be closed tomorrow before reopening at 7:30 a.m. on Monday (June 21). The I-66 Transfer Station at 4618 West Ox Road and the I-95 Landfill Complex at 9850 Furnace Road will both be open tomorrow.

Reston Community Center is observing Juneteenth, but the Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities will both be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Most Fairfax County Park Authority facilities will remain open with the exception of the Green Spring Gardens historic house in Alexandria and the visitor center for Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon.

As part of a series of commemorative activities organized by the park authority, Frying Pan will host a Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday with crafts, food vendors, and a talk by author Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz, who will discuss her book “Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine.”

According to the Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park, the park is currently looking for volunteers to help direct parking during the event. There are eight open spots for a shift from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and will be provided with training and safety equipment.

Fairfax County’s celebration will also include its inaugural Juneteenth Resiliency Award to recognize people between the ages of 13 and 21 “who have exhibited true perseverance to strive towards meaningful contributions and outcomes in their lives and/or the lives of others in the Black community,” according the county news release.

The 10 award recipients will be announced during a ceremony at 7 p.m. on Saturday that will also feature remarks from Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk. The ceremony will air live on TV and online through Channel 16.

While all of its branches will be closed, Fairfax County Public Library has compiled a reading list and other educational resources for anyone interested in learning more about Juneteenth.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority

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As Memorial Day approaches on Monday, May 31, a few community and government facilities will be closed or have altered schedules.

Fairfax County Government:

Fairfax County Courts:

County Libraries, Recreation Centers, Parks:

  • All Fairfax County library branches will be closed.
  • All Fairfax County RECenters will operate at their regular hours.
  • Colvin Run Mill and Sully Historic Site grounds will be open from noon to 4 p.m. for strolling, but all the buildings will be closed.
  • The E.C. Lawrence, Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond, and Huntley Meadows nature centers  will be open from noon until 5 p.m. on May 31.
  • The Riverbend Park visitor center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Green Spring Garden’s horticultural center will be open from noon to 4:30 p.m., and its historic house will be closed.

Public Transit:

County Trash and Recycling:

Reston

Herndon

  • The town offices and Herndon Community Center will be closed Monday.
  • Recycling normally collected on Monday will be collected Tuesday, June 1.
  • The farm at Frying Pan Farm Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the indoor arena will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The visitor center at the park will be closed Monday.

As a head’s up for anyone planning to renew their driver’s license soon, all DMV offices will be closed Monday.

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Morning Notes

Nats Season Opener Canceled Due to COVID-19 Cases — At least three Washington Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team to postpone their Opening Day game. The Nats were supposed to play the New York Mets in their first regular-season game in front of fans since they won the World Series in 2019. [WTOP]

Faraday Park Apartments Now Leasing — Leasing recently began for apartments in the West Tower of the mixed-use project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, with the East Tower expected to be complete in May. When finished, Faraday Park will have about 400 apartments total, along with a rooftop pool, lounges, a fitness center, maker’s workshop area, and other amenities. [The Washington Post]

Reston Telemedicine Company Makes Major Acquisition — “Reston-based SOC Telemed Inc. announced this week it has purchased Texas-based medical practice Access Physicians for $194 million in cash and stocks. The acquisition will create the largest acute care telemedicine provider in the United States.” [Virginia Business]

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month — “Governor Ralph Northam has officially recognized April as Alcohol Awareness Month in Virginia. In issuing a proclamation, the governor emphasized the need to increase public awareness and understanding about the dangers associated with alcohol misuse.” [Virginia ABC]

What’s Open and Closed in Herndon on Easter — “Another pandemic Easter calls for a low-key day with close family. Whether you’re skipping the big meal, heading to a movie, or crossing items off your spring to-do list, it’s helpful to know which libraries, restaurants, and stores are open before you head out.” [Herndon Patch]

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As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18, there are a few community and government office closures to be aware of.

Fairfax County

County offices and the County Circuit Court will be closed Monday.

The Fairfax Connector will operate on holiday weekday service. A full list of routes affected is available online.

County libraries will be closed. Colvin Run Mill and Sully Historic Site will be closed.

All county RECenters will operate at regular hours. The following nature centers will be open from noon to 4 p.m.: E.C. Lawrence, Hidden Oaks, Hidden Pond and Huntley Meadows.

The visitor center at Riverbend Park will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

The farm at Frying Pan Farm Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the indoor arena will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment. The visitor center at the park will be closed Monday.

Green Spring Garden’s horticultural center will be open from noon to 4:30 p.m., and its historic house will be closed.

Reston

The Reston Community Center Hunters Woods will host its 36th Annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration with events on Saturday, Sunday and Monday that can be found online. The location will also be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday.

Reston Community Center Lake Anne will be closed all day Monday.

Herndon

The town offices and Herndon Community Center will be closed Monday.

Recycling normally collected on Monday will be collected Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Metro, DMV and more

WMATA will have an altered schedule from Saturday through Monday. Metrorail will operate from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Sunday. On Monday, trains will run from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. operating on Saturday service frequencies, every 12-15 minutes on the Red Line and every 15-20 minutes on all other lines.

All DMV offices will be closed Monday.

Photo courtesy of Center for National and Community Service

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An end to 2020 is almost upon us. If ever a year deserved a send-off of champagne and confetti, it was this one, but as they did with many other traditions, concerns about COVID-19 have curtailed or put on hold many of the usual New Year’s Eve parties.

Still, there remain plenty of options for ringing in the new year.

Many local restaurants are offering special meals to eat in or take home as well as festive cocktails created by local bartenders and mixologists that you can order or try to recreate yourself.

For people who like to close out the year with a song, the Times Square Ball Drop will feature singer Andra Day headlining an evening of live performances. The event is closed to the public this year, but it will still be broadcast on TV and online.

The great outdoors also offers a world of possibility.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is turning its annual First Hike Fairfax program into a three-day affair that starts on New Year’s Day. People who send in a photo of their hike by Jan. 3 will be entered into a contest to celebrate the park authority’s 70th anniversary.

How do you plan on ushering in 2021? If you have a special New Year’s tradition that’s not included below, feel free to share in the comments.

Image via Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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As the holiday season comes to a close and the new year approaches, it may be time to throw out your old Christmas tree and greenery.

Residents of Fairfax County have between Jan. 11 and 22 for recycling Christmas trees. Live Christmas trees of less than eight feet will be collected curbside outside of single family and townhouse communities on regular garbage collection days during the time period.

Residents may schedule a brush pickup for a tree removal after Jan. 22.

Fairfax County residents can also drop off their trees at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex. There is a $7 recycling fee per tree at the recycling center. All decorations and stands must be separated before disposing of trees.

In the Town of Herndon, Christmas trees will be collected curbside on residents’ individual trash days between Jan. 8 through the 15. The town requests that all decorations be removed from the tree and placed as close to the curb as possible.

The National Christmas Tree Association lists other recycling options as follows:

  • Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management.
  • Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
  • Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
  • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
  • Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers.
  • Living, rooted trees: Get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and plant it in your yard. (It’s a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.
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