Thursday, July 18, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU raises more than $80M for third consecutive year
For three consecutive years, Mississippi State University has raised more than $80 million in outright gifts and pledges of future support from individuals, corporations, foundations, trusts and estates, with the just-ended 2013 fiscal year exceeding $81.3 million Previous record years included FY 2012, in which Mississippi State experienced its largest single giving year total in school history with over $86.4 million. More than $80.3 million was raised in FY 2011. "We deeply appreciate the generosity of alumni and friends who are investing their personal resources to help Mississippi State University carry out its invaluable mission of teaching, research and service," MSU President Mark E. Keenum said.
Neshoba County Fair's speakers announced; lineup includes university presidents
The political speaking schedule has been released for the Neshoba County Fair, set for July 26 through Aug. 2. Speakers this year will also include presidents of East Central Community College, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi. The presidents will address Fairgoers this year to promote their colleges, Fair Association Board member Scott Bounds said. Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State, will speak Thursday morning, Aug. 1, before Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Gov. Phil Bryant.
FBI hosts crisis seminar: Local agencies meet to discuss, prepare for disastrous scenarios
FBI crisis management representatives held a regional conference on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at the Thad Cochran Research Park, which brought together various law enforcement and emergency response agency executives to discuss potential outcomes and available resources in the aftermath of disaster. The conference hosted about 45 participants from northeast Mississippi agencies, including Starkville Police Department, Okitbbeha County Sheriff's Department, MSU Police Department, Starkville Fire Department and the Oktibbeha County Office of Emergency Management.
FBI offers Crisis Response Training in Starkville
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut is what the FBI calls an "active- shooter incident." At Mississippi State University on Wednesday, law enforcement, emergency responders and others have gathered to hear what the FBI has to say about responding to such incidents. "We're discussing best practices, plans, and policies, trying to determine what our common resources are what resources are needed. So that we are in a better position to plan and respond to these events," said Jackson FBI spokesman Jeff Franks.
Mississippi State research hub in Raymond renamed for Butch Withers
Former colleagues, friends and family members used the words loyal, genuine and humble to describe Frank T. "Butch" Withers Jr. during a naming ceremony in Raymond for the center he helped create. Mississippi State University's central Mississippi hub for research and Extension was renamed for Withers, who served as head of the center from 1996 until his retirement in 2006. The name change was approved by the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees in March 2013. MSU President Mark Keenum officially declared the name change effective July 10.
Three people diagnosed with rare disease after eating buffalo fish
The Mississippi State Department of Health recently confirmed three cases of Haff disease, a rare illness caused by an unidentified toxin. The toxin was found in buffalo fish that were caught on the Yazoo River, said Liz Sharlot, director of communications for the Mississippi State Department of Health. The three cases are members of one family who purchased the fish. Dr. Donald Jackson, a professor of fisheries with Mississippi State University, said buffalo fish are primarily found in Mississippi River drainage. Buffalo fish are caught mostly for commercial reasons and are popular to catch in the spring, Jackson said. Buffalo fish are also found in Pearl River drainage.
MSU finds less costly approach to feeding fish
Mississippi State University scientists looking to help catfish producers keep costs low and quality high have found catfish can thrive for the first six weeks after hatching by feeding on naturally occurring zooplankton. Several aquaculture researchers at MSU's Thad Cochran National Warm water Aquaculture Center compared the growth and survival of two groups of recently hatched catfish, called fry. Both groups were raised in ponds, but for six weeks, one group ate commercial feed daily while the other group did not.
Making a difference in education
Teachers -- including Suzanne McKee-Waddell, an instructor at MSU-Meridian and former facilitator of the academically gifted and talented program at Waynesboro Elementary School -- were recognized Wednesday during the Mississippi Arts Commission's Whole Schools Institute at MSU-Meridian for making a different in arts education.
Andrew Londo to succeed Don Breece as OSU Extension assistant director
Ask Andy Londo about his passion, and he says quickly, "I love Extension work." And that's good for Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, where Londo has been named the new assistant director, agriculture and natural resources for Ohio State University Extension. Londo is currently professor of silviculture and Extension forestry coordinator with a 25 percent administrative function at Mississippi State University. He will start his new appointment Sept. 1, pending approval by university trustees.
Chism: Legislators will address school consolidation in both '14 and '15 sessions
State Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, said lawmakers are expected to use legislative sessions in both 2014 and 2015 to address Oktibbeha County school consolidation issues. Chism referred to the March 1, 2014 deadline for the local consolidation committee's report on merger issues as a driver meant to call the county to action. Legislators, he said, will address any issues lingering from next year's legislative session months before law calls for the Oktibbeha County School District to merge with the city system. Members of the Commission on Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Structure Tuesday expressed concern over the size of their task in regard to the state-mandated deadline.
Committee wants input on school district merger questions
Local representatives say public input is needed before they broach one of the biggest questions surrounding school consolidation: Should the state merge one or a combination of Oktibbeha County's four campuses with a neighboring county's public education system? Committee members mentioned Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes and Webster counties in passing Tuesday when discussing the future of Oktibbeha's four county schools. Starkville School District's territory covers a modified square shape in the middle of the county, while Oktibbeha County School District's campuses are located in the county's four corners.
Starkville School District makes administrative changes
The Starkville School District Board of Trustees has announced several administrative changes for the 2013-2014 school year in an effort to maximize the strengths of SSD's administrative team. "SSD's greatest resource is its people," said Supt. Lewis Holloway. "Our administrators work very hard, and each of them possesses a unique set of strengths that make them the ideal choice for these positions. We are confident that these administrative changes will only lead to greater success in our schools." The principals will assume their new duties and responsibilities at their respective schools as soon as possible in preparation for the new school year.
AG urges high court to settle gun issue
Attorney General Jim Hood says he hopes to file a motion by Monday with the Mississippi Supreme Court asking it to block the ruling of a Hinds County Circuit judge who has halted the enactment of the state's new open carry law for weapons. The Democratic attorney general, who met Wednesday with the news media, said the Supreme Court needs to settle the issue as soon as possible so that law enforcement throughout the state knows how to respond to people who might openly carry a weapon. "Can you imagine getting up every day trying to protect people and not knowing what you can and cannot do?" said Hood of the quandary facing law enforcement.
Open carry law: AG seeks to overturn injunction
Attorney General Jim Hood said he will file an appeal Monday with the state Supreme Court asking it to overturn a Hinds County circuit judge's blockage of an open/concealed gun carry law from taking effect. And for now, Hood said, his advice to all law enforcement outside Hinds County is not to arrest anyone for openly carrying a weapon. On Friday, Hinds Circuit Judge Winston Kidd ruled the open carry/concealed weapon law is unconstitutionally vague and indefinitely extended his temporary injunction on the law. The law, passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, had been set to take effect July 1. Hood said he is asking the high court to lift Kidd's injunction against the law now, prior to the state Supreme Court deciding the case.
Legislators: Open carry controversy should have been avoided
After Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd's ruling on Friday to extend his injunction on Mississippi's open-carry gun law, the battle is likely to continue with Attorney General Jim Hood filing an appeal with the Supreme Court. Kidd's initial injunction on House Bill 2 on June 28 and subsequent continuance on Friday came after legislators passed the bill earlier this year allowing adults to openly carry an un-concealed gun without a permit. District 53 Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, a Democrat, voted for the bill when it passed in the House 111-8 but said in an interview Saturday that he can understand Kidd's ruling. "The wording in the legislation is vague," he said. "All of this came about because we simply wanted to clear this issue about concealed weapons, but it has created more problems than there ever was."
A man on a mission: James Meredith returns to Hernando
Sounding more like a preacher and a prophet than an American icon, civil rights pioneer James Meredith returned to the very place in which he almost lost his life more than 47 years ago. "This is the only place where I ever got shot," Meredith said to nervous laughter inside the Hernando Public Library which was nearly packed to capacity. "But times have changed," Meredith quickly added. Instead of phalanx of federal marshals guarding his every move, Meredith, was escorted into the library by a lone individual, longtime attorney Bill Ballard, who shared classes with Meredith more than 50 years ago at the University of Mississippi.
Roger Wicker against Kirsten Gillibrand military sex-assault bill
Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker said Tuesday he does not support a measure to remove the chain of command from military sexual assault cases. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) gained momentum last night with the support of Republican Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Ted Cruz, who backed the bill in committee. "I don't think it can move forward," Wicker said on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown." Wicker serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which voted against the bill in June.
A New Governing Majority in the Senate?
Senators working together across the aisle is nothing new, but getting together in a group to negotiate is certainly in vogue, and what's more, the "gangs" might have a window to cut through the dysfunction. A loose governing coalition appears to be emerging, with roughly a third of the Senate's Republicans joining nearly every Democrat in various deals to avert the "nuclear option" and pass the immigration overhaul -- and, down the line, potentially avert a budget crisis. A core of Republicans largely in John McCain's orbit have spearheaded the new emerging wing of the GOP interested more in governing than in grandstanding. The next big test will likely come in appropriations, where the parties remain far apart on whether the topline number should be set at levels assuming the sequester remains in place.
Global attitudes reflect shifting U.S.-China power balance, survey concludes
People around the globe believe that China will inevitably replace the United States as the world's leading superpower, but that doesn't mean they like the prospect, according to a new study on global attitudes. The survey that the Pew Research Center conducted in 39 countries confirms much of the conventional wisdom in Washington about the shifting balance of power between the United States and China. Despite the shifting attitudes, however, the United States generally enjoys a better image abroad. On the question of which country they view as a partner, more nations had a majority naming the United States rather than China.
Southern Miss research boat Miss Peetsy B fueled by vegetable oil
The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab is teaching kids about the environmental benefits of alternative energy with a newly converted boat that runs on vegetable oil. GCRL's 33-foot boat Miss Peetsy B was converted to run on waste vegetable oil as well as diesel. Randy Holton, owner of Green World Innovations, performed the conversion. Chris Snyder, director of the GCRL Marine Education Center, said the converted engine gives children a visual prompt for discussion about reducing, reusing and recycling energy.
Vessel donated to USM research lab by Jimmy Buffett, now powered by Lulu's used vegetable oil
The "Miss Peetsy B," a 33-foot boat donated to the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab by Jimmy Buffett, is now being powered by used vegetable oil from Lulu Buffett's Gulf Shores restaurant, according to a report on WLOX-TV. John Holton of Green World Innovations converted the boat's diesel engine to run on old vegetable with the flip of a switch. Holton and the Gulf Coast Research Lab took the boat out on its maiden vegetable oil voyage on Wednesday with a group of children attending the annual Sea Camp.
USM dance department chair to receive prestigious honor
Stacy Reischman Fletcher is having a busy summer and it is only going to get busier. The chair of the Department of Dance at The University of Southern Mississippi was recently featured in a national publication and will be honored at Dance Teacher Magazine's 2013 Dance Teacher Summit in August. Recognized for her work in higher education, Reischman Fletcher will attend the three-day event in New York City next month, which will host dance instructors from across the nation to participate in workshops, seminars and an awards ceremony, where Reischman Fletcher will receive the 2013 Award in Higher Education.
William Carey prof named editor of philological journal
Dr. Lorie Watkins, associate professor of language and literature at William Carey University, was recently named editor of the Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association (POMPA), the journal of the Mississippi Philological Association (MPA). Watkins is taking over the position from J.B. Potts of Mississippi College, who has edited the journal for seven years. For the past 29 years, MPA has hosted an annual conference for professors, graduate students, poets, writers, and others interested in language and literature. Papers presented at each conference are eligible for consideration for publication in that year's edition of POMPA.
Riley named ECCC Personal Development Specialist/Site Coordinator
Matthew Riley of Walnut Grove was recently selected Personal Development Specialist/Site Coordinator at East Central Community College in Decatur, announced ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. Riley, who began his new duties on July 1, previously served the College as Community Based Job Training (CBJT) Grant Coordinator, a position held since 2010. In his new position, Riley is assigned to coordinate day-to-day activities of the ECCC Career Advancement Center (CAC) in Carthage. He also owns Riley Consulting Group of Walnut Grove. He received a bachelor's degree in sociology from Mississippi Valley State University in 1995.
ECCC Day set July 29 at Neshoba County Fair
East Central Community College invites its many alumni, students and prospective students to attend "EC Day" activities scheduled Monday, July 29 at the Neshoba County Fair. Activities begin at 1 p.m. at Founders' Square Pavilion and features performances by the Collegians, Ac'cents Show Choir, Warrior Cheerleaders and the Centralettes, the dance line for the Wall O' Sound Marching Band. Signed copies of "The East Central I Knew: A History of East Central Community College," compiled by retired EC English instructor Ovid Vickers, will be available for purchase during the performances.
Teenagers study potential of engineering education at U. of Alabama camp
High school student Logan Mills of Camby, Ind., thinks she wants to get a chemical engineering degree, then go to medical school. But to make sure an engineering degree and the University of Alabama are right for her, the 17-year-old is spending a week on campus as part of Student Introduction to Engineering, an annual summer camp provided by UA's College of Engineering for high school juniors and seniors interested in engineering. Mills is one of 138 students from across the country attending the program, which has three week-long sessions. So far, Mills said campus has lived up to her expectations.
Free tuition, virtually guaranteed job placement could be in store for some two-year college students
The Alabama Community College System is in talks with Alabama employers to develop new public-private partnerships that would enable students to attend school for free and virtually assure them a job upon graduation. ACCS Chancellor Mark Heinrich declined to name companies the two-year college system is working with, but he said "there seems to be a good interest for those kinds of programs. "Absolutely, I think you're going to see more of that," he said. The two-year college system already has one such program upon which to model future public-private partnerships.
U. of Florida retreat to show employers how to snag graduates
Recruiters from more than 50 companies will get a crash course Friday on how to pitch themselves to graduating University of Florida students and how to get around the sprawling campus. It's the second year the UF Career Resources Center, which was ranked first for student resources by the Princeton Review in 2010 and '12, has held the "employer retreat," said Dana McPherson, the center's assistant director for marketing and communications.
U. of Florida PD blames officers for not citing deputy chief's son for DUI
The University of Florida Police Department says officers did not follow protocol in an incident late last month in which the son of the deputy chief was stopped for suspicion of drunken driving but was allowed to go home with his dad without so much as a traffic citation, despite registering a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit. UPD's statement that the actions of responding officers "were not in line with our department's established directives and procedures" came in response to a public records request filed Wednesday by The Sun in connection with the incident.
U. of Tennessee frats start implementing changes as result of butt-chugging incident
A 20-something college graduate will soon move into the Phi Sigma Kappa house on the University of Tennessee campus as its first house director in over a decade. The Interfraternity Council raised the grade point average requirement for members to 2.75. And all advisers and housing corporations are working together to hire extra weekend security in Fraternity Park. Some of the changes are part of sweeping recommendations made in March by a University of Tennessee greek life task force. Others are initiatives from the fraternities themselves as alumni push to shift both the culture of the young men who live in the houses and the public perception of them after the hospitalization of 20-year-old Pi Kappa Alpha brother last fall. The incident, which police reports blamed on a wine enema the member allegedly took in September, garnered international headlines and jokes on late-night television.
Professors, Columbia parents want U. of Missouri museums to return after renovations
About 50 professors, museum docents and other stakeholders convened Wednesday evening in Jesse Wrench Auditorium to discuss their concerns about renovations that will close Jesse, Swallow and Pickard halls in the fall. To accommodate the $22.85 million Renew Mizzou project, MU's Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Art and Archaeology will move two miles north to the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center on Business Loop 70 West. The center's space is now known as Mizzou North. Forum attendees said they were concerned about vague details surrounding Pickard's future. Because it is unknown how long radiation testing will take, there is no set timeline for the Museum of Art and Archaeology's return, said Jackie Jones, vice chancellor of administrative services.
Senate Reaches Deal to End Fight Over Student Loan Interest Rates
Senators negotiating a bipartisan deal to keep student loan rates low reached a deal on Wednesday night that could end the partisan feud on Capitol Hill that has threatened to permanently double interest rates. Two Senate aides said that the new proposal, which had been the subject of tense negotiations since the rates doubled on July 1, would include both a cap on federal Stafford and PLUS loans and a relatively low interest rate pegged to Treasury notes. Undergraduates would pay the 10-year Treasury note rate, 2.49 percent on Wednesday, plus 2.05 percent, with a cap of 8.25 percent, to protect them from inflation. Graduate students would pay the 10-year Treasury rate plus 3.6 percent, with a cap of 9.5 percent. Loans to parents of students would be given a rate of 4.6 percent plus the 10-year Treasury rate, with a cap of 10.5 percent.
Revamping education act looms as another divisive test for Congress
The House of Representatives is expected to vote Friday on an overhaul of No Child Left Behind that would greatly reduce the federal government's role in K-12 education. The nation's elementary and secondary education law expired in 2007, and efforts to update it since then have stumbled. Debate in the Republican-controlled House, likely to begin Thursday, is expected to show a deep partisan divide and maybe even some dissension between conservative and moderate Republicans. The GOP legislation would eliminate more than 70 federal education programs, while allowing states to come up with their own accountability systems.
Editorial: Roger Wicker helps forge compromise in Senate
The Sun Herald editorializes: " We commend Roger Wicker for bringing a bit of bipartisanship back into the United States Senate. Along with fellow Republican John McCain, Wicker was praised by Democrats this week for helping avoid 'the nuclear option' from being invoked. ...One deal will not end deadlock. But one deal, one compromise, could lead to another and then another, until the U.S. Senate burnishes its tarnished image."
Capitol's leaders have always recognized role of the press | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "I believe strongly my profession plays an integral role in the activities that occur in this structure -- the people's building, as former Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, used to call the Capitol. Through decades, numerous politicians have held sway in this building. They have fought over everything imaginable -- big issues, such as integration, public kindergartens and health care, and small issues, such as whether a bill sent to the governor for his signature would be one originating in the House or Senate. Politics, by its very nature, creates conflict -- even among politicians of the same party. But through all the conflict -- whether grandiose or trivial -- those political leaders have agreed on at least one thing: The important role the press plays in a representative democracy. And because of that recognition, all, going back decades and continuing through the present day, have placed the press room in a visible spot in the state Capitol."

MSU QB takes responsibility for collapse down the stretch
Tyler Russell hopes to turn his regrets into better results. The way he finished last season still stings. Mississippi State lost five of its final six games, with Russell throwing six interceptions over the final two games -- losses to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl and to Northwestern in the Gator Bowl. Russell, who spoke at SEC Media Days on Wednesday, said he called a team meeting when the team reconvened after the bowl game.
Mississippi State senior QB Tyler Russell ready to shoulder the load
Tyler Russell gathered a players-only meeting after the 2012 Mississippi State football season ended with a 34-20 loss in the Gator Bowl. The quarterback addressed his teammates inside the Shira Fieldhouse regarding the Bulldogs' losses to Ole Miss then Northwestern. "I told those guys, 'Look that's on me. I take that blame. I should've been better prepared. I should have studied harder. I should have made some throws that I made earlier in the year that I didn't make in those last two games,'" Russell said. Russell enters his fifth and final year with Mississippi State. He wants to leave Starkville without repeating his "should have" speech.
Bulldogs' Mullen, Russell set sights on SEC title game
Coach Dan Mullen and quarterback Tyler Russell have both been at Mississippi State for five seasons. The duo hopes that experience can help lead the Bulldogs back to a bowl game for a fourth straight season and contend for a Southeastern Conference Western Division title. Mullen said Wednesday at SEC Media Days that the seasoned Russell "understands what has to get accomplished" for the Bulldogs to meet their goal of making the SEC championship game.
McKinney leading the mayhem at MSU
Benardrick McKinney will be at the heart of Mississippi State's "defensive mayhem." That's a term being used by first-year defensive coordinator Geoff Collins this offseason. McKinney, a sophomore middle line- backer, will be a key part of a scheme that's expected to be more aggressive than in the past. McKinney, the team's top returning tackler with 102 stops, is taking on more responsibility this year. Part of that extra load is setting the chaotic tone Collins is seeking. "We're going to be more active, we're going to be more juiced," McKinney said Wednesday at SEC Media Days. "The defense is going to create more mayhem. It's going to be more live."
Collins to bring freewheeling style to Mississippi State
Four new coaches make their debut in the Southeastern Conference this season. Each new introduction revealed programs' schemes and sets during the first two sessions of the conference's media days. Mississippi State reveals a new defensive coordinator, Geoff Collins. When his name came up Wednesday, customary terms like nickel, dime and 3-4 never appeared. "We're going to be more active. We're going to be more juiced," sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney said. "Our defense is going to create more mayhem. We're just going to be live-er." The goal is to translate the catchy words into big plays.
Southern Miss to name new AD at noon today
Southern Miss will announce its new athletic director in a noon press conference at the Trent Lott Center on the Hattiesburg campus, school officials said Thursday morning. The new AD will replace Jeff Hammond, whose contract was not renewed after it expired June 30. School president Rodney Bennett said at the time he wished to "assemble my own administrative team."
Johnny Manziel slammed with questions at SEC Media Days
Johnny Manziel showed up early. He was scheduled to do an 8:15 a.m. interview on ESPN Sportscenter, which was to kick off a three-hour journey into the jungle otherwise known as SEC Media Days. Dressed sharply in a navy blue suit and arriving nine minutes early, Manziel was flanked by the Texas A&M athletic department staff. He got to the corner of the set and waited as a throng of more than 50 media members holding video cameras and cellphones began to scurry over. Lead host Joe Tessitore looked over to the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and asked, jokingly, "Anything going on this morning?" On the television set, with Manziel in earshot, longtime SEC talking head Paul Finebaum declared, "This [Manziel's appearance] is the biggest moment in the history of SEC Media Days."
SEC Network official launch date is Aug. 21, 2014
The SEC Network has an official launch date: Aug. 21, 2014 at 6 p.m. CST. SEC Network head Justin Connolly announced the start date Thursday at SEC Media Days. With 399 days until the start of the network, ESPN and the SEC continue to work on distribution and content for the channel.
NCAA will not renew EA Sports football video game
The NCAA announced Wednesday it will not renew its contract with the popular Electronic Arts Sports NCAA Football video game, citing litigation costs and the best interests of the NCAA. The decision comes as a federal judge considers whether to certify the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit, which in part claims EA Sports and the NCAA illegally used the likenesses of college players in the game without permission. EA's contract with the NCAA didn't expire until June 2014 and the NCAA said its timing is based on providing EA notice for future planning.
'Visit Mississippi Day' at Sanderson Farms Championship features food, music and more
Friday is "Visit Mississippi Day" at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The PGA tournament, scheduled July 18-21 at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, will partner with the Mississippi Development Authority to offer tournament spectators a taste of the food and music that make Mississippi such a unique destination. "As one of the state's two PGA tournaments, the Sanderson Farms Championship is the ideal venue to showcase Mississippi's diverse outdoor, culinary, musical and cultural attractions," said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen.
Taking some time off at Annandale, Saints' Payton eager to get season started
When 2-year-old Andrew Cross met Sean Payton at Annandale Golf Club on Wednesday, his response was like that of a typical Saints fan. "Who dat?" Cross said. Saints coach Payton had just finished an 18-hole round in the Trustmark Wealth Management Pro-Am -- the final event before the first round of the Sanderson Farms Championship starts today -- and walked over to meet Cross and his family. It was a special treat for Cross, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March. He is a patient at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, one of the Sanderson Farms Championship's beneficiaries.

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