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East Shelby home destroyed in morning fire

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 April 2019 at 9:24 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

EAST SHELBY – This house at 5582 East Shelby Rd. is a total loss after fire this morning. The fire started in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the house.

Firefighters were dispatched for a structure fire just after 5 this morning.

“It was pretty much fully engulfed,” said East Shelby Fire Chief Andy Beach. “We saved as much as we could.”

East Shelby firefighter Dan Culver sprays water on hot spots inside the house at about 8:30 this morning.

A husband and wife lived at the house with their five dogs. The husband was at work when the fire broke out, Beach said. The woman and three of the dogs were able to get outside. Two of the dogs died in the fire, Beach said.

The Red Cross is assisting the family with temporary shelter while the Orleans County Animal Shelter temporarily keeps the three dogs.

East Shelby was assisted at the scene in fighting the fire by Alabama, Barre, Medina, Oakfield and Shelby fire departments.

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire.

No other information is available.

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East Shelby recognizes dedicated firefighters, Auxiliary members

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 March 2019 at 7:25 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Todd Ralph, left, was presented with the Chief’s Award by Andy Beach, chief of East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, during their annual awards dinner Saturday night.

EAST SHELBY – The East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company may be one of the smallest in the county, having responded to the fewest calls, but that doesn’t diminish their importance in the community, Fire Chief Andy Beach said at the annual firemen’s banquet Saturday night.

Lifelong member David Green was emcee for the evening, who entertained fellow firefighters and their guests with his usual banter of jokes.

Welcomes were extended by Ladies Auxiliary president Shirley Printup and Fire Company president Mike Fuller. The Auxiliary accepted three new members this year and the Fire Company two.

A moment of silence was observed three Auxiliary members and one fireman who died during the year – Mildred Green, Jeanne Rechkahn Ralph, Cathy Balcerzak and Charles Allen.

In a special presentation, the family of the late David Culver gave the fire company a plaque on which to record the names of those chosen as Firefighter of the Year.

Members of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company who are chosen Firefighters of the Year will be honored with their name on this plaque donated by the Culver family in memory of David Culver. Making the presentation to President Mike Fuller and Chief Andy Beach, right, during the fire company’s annual banquet Saturday night are David’s grandson Nicholas, widow Gail and son Dan (kneeling).

David’s widow Gail Culver, son Dan Culver and grandson Nicholas Culver wanted the fire company to have a proper place to permanently honor Firefighters of the Year. The fire company started choosing a firefighter for that honor in 1975 and David won it in 1976.

Newly elected president of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, Mike Fuller, right, recognized outgoing president Jackie Keller for her years of service during their annual banquet Saturday night.

Officers of the East Shelby Ladies Auxiliary were installed by Rosemary Pray from Shelby Ladies Auxiliary. Officers for 2019 are Shirley Printup, president; Bronwyn Green, vice president; Sawyer Green, secretary; Carol Lonnen, treasurer; Melissa Bonafede, Sharlene Pratt and Elaine Newton, trustees; and Rose Allen and Carol Lonnen, chaplains.

Printup commended Pray, 89, who has been a member of Shelby Firemen’s Ladies Auxiliary for 66 years.

Andy Benz, chief of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, installed the East Shelby Fire Company officers. Administrative officers are Mike Fuller, president; Dan Culver, vice president; Karen Bracey, secretary; Allen Turner, treasurer; Ken Printup, Sharon Grimes, Gordon Reigle and Walter Dingman, trustees; and David Green, steward.

Line officers are Andy Beach, chief; Devin Taylor, 1st assistant chief; Deb Taylor, 2nd assistant chief; Dennis MacDonald, 3rd assistant chief; Jeff Taylor, captain; Julie Taylor, lieutenant; Laura Fields, fire police chief; and Sue Behrend and Mike Fuller, EMS officers.

Andy Benz said he was honored to be asked to install East Shelby’s officers.

“It shows how far our fire companies have come in past years,” he said, no doubt referring to the rift back in the 1950s when several Shelby members split and formed the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Fuller and past president Jackie Keller announced Dan Culver as recipient of the President’s Award.

“It was an easy decision to choose this individual, because of his dedication to the fire company and high quality of service,” Fuller said.

Officers of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company were sworn in Saturday night by Andy Benz, chief of Shelby Fire Company, during the annual awards dinner at East Shelby Fire Hall.

Fuller also present a plaque recognizing Keller for her service as president.

When it came to the fire chief’s award, Andy Beach said there were many deserving individuals, but after a lot of thinking, he named Debbie Taylor as “Firefighter of the Year.”

East Shelby Fire Chief Andy Beach presented his Fire Chief’s Award to Debbie Taylor.

“We have an outstanding line of officers on our team, but Debbie is always on top of things,” Beach said. “She reminds me of meetings and goes above and beyond. She even cleaned my office last week. She is available for calls day or night and is often the first person on the scene. I have no doubt that in a couple of years, Debbie will be the first female chief of the East Shelby Fire Company.”

Certificates were presented to members for years of service. Several had five and 10 years, with Mike Smith, Louise Covey and Wanda Dingman being recognized for 25 years. Bronwyn Green with 30 years and Mary Zelazny with 35 years also received citations from Senator Robert Ortt, Assemblyman Mike Norris and Michael Hicks, representing Congressman Chris Collins.

Beach announced the fire company had received a $150,000 grant through Ortt and a $20,000 grant from Rural Development to help with the purchase of a new pumper/tanker. Dan and Nicholas Culver worked on the $150,000 grant and Allen Turner worked to secure the $20,000.

While the money is taxpayer dollars, Ortt said he was privileged he was able to get some of it back for the community. He praised the firefighters, saying how much more difficult it is being a volunteer firefighter today, with all the required training hours, than it was 35 or 50 years ago.

The fire company hopes to have delivery of their new truck by the Orleans County 4-H Fair the end of July.

Mike Norris weighed in on the pending legislation in Albany banning gun raffles.

Dave Green gets a big hug from Sharlene Pratt after naming her as recipient of his Steward’s Award.

“This is the type of aggressive agenda coming out in New York state,” Norris said. “The folks in New York City don’t realize how these fire departments depend on gun raffles to fund their companies.”

Todd Ralph was presented with the Fire Chief’s award for volunteering to teach the OSHA refresher class each year.

“One thing I always dreaded was having to find a location and go and take the eight-hour class,” Beach said. “Then Todd said he was certified and could teach it in-house.”

Printup and Sawyer Green recognized Debbie Green for serving as secretary of the Auxiliary and then named her as “Auxiliary Member of the Year.”

Jessie Green was acknowledged as an outgoing trustee.

It is customary for the Auxiliary to present the firemen with a gift each year, and this year they decided on new tables for the dining hall. Fifty eight-foot plastic tables have been purchased, which will be much easier to move around, Printup said.

David Green made the final presentation of the evening, giving his Steward’s Award to Sharlene Pratt.

“She is continuous here helping us,” Green said.

Debbie Green, left, was chosen Auxiliary Member of the Year by Shirley Printup, president of the East Shelby Ladies Auxiliary, and vice president Bronwyn Green.

Bronwyn Green, left, vice president of East Shelby Ladies Auxiliary, and president Shirley Printup recognized Mary Zelazny for 35 years of membership.

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County planners will consider Shelby proposals for regulating solar, food trucks

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2019 at 10:51 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday to consider proposals from the Town of Shelby for regulating solar energy and also a law for regulating mobile food vehicles.

Local municipalities submit referrals to the County Planning Board, which offers its opinion, whether or not to recommend approval. If the county recommends against the proposal, towns and villages can override that negative opinion with a super-majority vote.

Besides the proposals for laws regulating solar energy and food trucks in Shelby, the County Planning Board will look at Kendall’s application to amend its comprehensive plan to rezone Peter Smith Road. That also will require a change to the town’s zoning map for Peter Smith Road.

In addition, the Planning Board will consider an amendment to Carlton’s zoning ordinance to establish a private airport through a special use permit in RR, WR, WD and B Districts.

The meeting Thursday is in Conference Room C at the County Administration Building at 14016 Route 31 West.

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Composer from Shelby takes 1st in national competition

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 January 2019 at 7:40 am

Provided photo: Composer Steve Shewan of West Shelby recently won two national choral composition contests. Most recently, he flew to Minneapolis for the “Vocal Essence” premiere of his The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight.

WEST SHELBY – With a father who directed the Roberts Wesleyan Chorale for more than 30 years and his mother who conducted children’s choirs, Stephen Shewan comes by his musical talent naturally.

His father Robert once conducted the Orleans All-County Choir in Lyndonville, Shewan said.

His brother Paul is currently conductor of the Roberts Wesleyan Band and Choir and plays trumpet in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Music is a family trade,” Shewan said. “My whole life I knew I was going to do something with music.”

Shewan, who grew up in the Rochester area and now lives in West Shelby, got his bachelor of science in music education at Roberts Wesleyan, his master’s at Ithaca College with an emphasis in French horn and piano and a doctorate in composition at the Eastman School of Music. He is honored to recently win several prestigious awards for his chorale compositions.

One award was the 2018 first-place winner of the Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition at North Dakota State University’s Challey School of Music. The competition honors the legacy and traditions of noted choral composer and longtime NDSU choral conductor Edwin Fissinger.

Shewan won the award for his composition of “Mother Goose Gems” set to music.

He was inspired for the piece from a book of nursery rhymes he picked up at the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina.

“I wrote the six short movements for my mom, who was an elementary choral director,” Shewan said about his mother, who passed away in 2007.

On Dec. 1, Shewan flew to Minneapolis for the “Vocal Essence” premiere of The Little Cradle Rocks Tonight. In March he will travel to North Dakota to hear the North Dakota State University perform Mother Goose Gems, which will be published by Pavane Music Company as part of the Jo Ann Miller Choral Series.

Another of Shewan’s choral pieces, Silent Night, won the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay’s 2016 Christmas Carol Contest.

“I write a lot of Christmas music,” Shewan said.

The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones of Medina, has performed one of his pieces. Shewan just finished a piece for wind ensemble which premiered a week ago by the Williamsville East Wind Ensemble.

Shewan has also composed music for orchestra, string quartet, chamber ensembles, symphonic band, solo voice, choir and piano. His music has been performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, U.S. Army Strings, Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Vrije Univeriteit Amsterdam Choir and numerous other musical groups across the United States, Europe and Australia.

His music has been broadcast on more than 200 radio stations in America.

Shewan continues to teach in Williamsville and said today’s kids are as nice as any.

“How fortunate I am to get paid to teach these kids a subject I love,” Shewan said.

He added he loves living in the country, having moved with his wife Ruth to the former Jay Brackett home when he got the job at Williamsville.

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Shelby goes tobacco-free at town hall property

Posted 16 January 2019 at 3:07 pm

Provided photo: Shelby Town Supervisor Ed Houseknecht and bookkeeper Miranda Bennett say the decision to declare tobacco-free grounds was to protect the health of all citizens, especially cancer survivors.

Press Release, Tobacco-Free GLOW

SHELBY – Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to improve their health in some way. This January, the Town of Shelby made good on a healthy, tobacco-free grounds resolution that will benefit the entire community for 2019 and beyond.

The new law, which was drafted by town bookkeeper, Miranda Bennett, and submitted to the Town Board by recently elected Town Supervisor Ed Houseknecht, prohibits the use of tobacco products on town grounds. Town Board members Kenneth Schaal, Stephen Seitz, William Bacon and Jeff Smith passed the resolution unanimously.

As of Jan. 1, there will be no smoking on the Shelby Town Hall grounds, which also serves at the town court for Shelby and Ridgeway.

The decision to make the grounds smoke-free was simple, according to Houseknecht.

“There are cancer survivors in our community, some awaiting to appear in court and some who are Shelby Town staff, who are required to walk into the doors past smokers,” he said. “Second hand smoke is a risk for these folks. They shouldn’t have to walk through a cloud of smoke to come to work or come in and wait for court.”

For more information on how to make your municipality or business smoke-free, contact Tobacco-Free GLOW at 585-219-4064.

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Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrates 70th anniversary

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dale Watts of Medina swears in members of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company during their 50th installation banquet Saturday night at Shelby Firemen’s Recreation Hall. The Fire Company is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 January 2019 at 9:20 am

Organization honors firefighters, supporters at annual banquet

Fire Chief Andy Benz gets emotional as he presents Hunter Sturtevant with his Chief’s Award at Shelby’s Firemen’s Banquet Saturday night. Sturtevant is the first four-generation member of the 70-year-old fire department.

MEDINA – Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrated two milestones at its annual installation banquet Saturday night.

The banquet was the fire company’s 50 annual event and also marked the 70th anniversary of the forming of the fire department.

A special feature was the attendance of Congressman Chris Collins, who presented chief Andy Benz with a certificate commemorating the 70th anniversary. Collins said his support of fire companies goes back a long way, having supported building fire towers for training in Erie County. He also co-sponsored the first firefighters’ cancer registry act, which directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters and launch research into the connection between their work and the disease. It provides for tracing the residue of chemicals a firefighter might encounter while fighting a fire.

Assemblyman Mike Norris said this is the third year he has represented the town of Shelby. He praised volunteer firefighters, saying they save taxpayers $3 to $4 million a year by their service.

Guests were welcomed by fire company president Tim Petry and auxiliary president Patricia Fuller, followed by introduction of special guests by Dale Banker, director of Orleans County Emergency Management.

Fire company officers installed by Dale Watts are chief, Andy Benz; deputy chief, David Moden; assistant chief, Scott Petry; firematic captain, Crystal Luckman; firematic lieutenant, Zach Petry; and EMS captain Jeff Lyons.

Trustees for one year include Marcus Watts; two years, Lee Hellert; and three years, Jason Watts. Executive board members are president, Tim Petry; vice president, Gary Lamar; treasurer, Kirk Myhill; secretary, Serena Blair; sergeant-at-arms, Hunter Sturtevant; chaplain, Phil Keppler; assistant chaplain, Karl Haist Jr.; and steward, Gary Watts.

Congressman Chris Collins presents a certificate to Fire Chief Andy Benz in honor of the fire company’s 70th year. At right is master of ceremonies and longtime member Howard Watts of Medina.

Town Justice Dawn Keppler installed officers of the ladies auxiliary. They are president, Patricia Fuller; vice president, Cindy Robinson; secretary, Robin Watts; sergeant-at-arms, Brianna Wheeler; chaplain, Elaine Watts; three-year trustee, Delores Wolters; two-year trustee, Sharon Wright; and one-year trustee, Rosemary Pray.

Junior firefighters installed by Andy Benz are president, Alex Benz; vice president, Mark Riegle; treasurer, Andrea Benz; secretary, Sydney Watts; and sergeant-at-arms, Jacob Miller.

Dawn Keppler swears in members of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s Auxiliary during their annual banquet Saturday.

Fire company president Tim Petry said the fire company is an active and large group, and any one of several members could be eligible for an award.

Tim Petry, president of Shelby Fire Company, chose Marcus Scribner as the Junior Firefighter of the Year.

“Everyone does more than one thing, so I knew after last year’s banquet who I was going to recognize,” Petry said, calling Steve Seitz, Jason Watts, Tim Fearby and Howard Watts, with their wives to the podium. There the men all received plaques and their wives bouquets of roses.

For his Chief’s Award, Andy Benz selected a younger member, who he said is always begging to sign up for training and bugging the chief to allow him to drive the truck.

“He is always challenging older members and is the first four-generation member of Shelby Fire Company,” Benz said, presenting the award to Hunter Sturtevant.

Three members re-certified as EMTs, Joe Kyle, Lori Kyle and Miranda Miller.

EMTs Jeff Lyons, Gary LaMar and Tiffany Petry received medic bags.

Benz reported that Jeff Lyons, Scott Petry and Jason Watts were sent to Ohio for auto extrication training.

Petry chose Marcus Scribner as Junior Firefighter of the Year.

“Since the day he walked into this fire company, he has been an outstanding member,” Petry said.

It is customary for the Junior Firefighters to present a gift to the fire company each year, and this year they chose to donate a search kit for large area searches.

Auxiliary awards were presented by Pat Fuller to Rosemary Pray for 66 years of membership and Shirley Fuller for 62 years.

“We owe them a lot of gratitude,” Pat Fuller said. “They have worked and worked to make us what we are today.”

Fire chief Andy Benz swears in officers of the Shelby Junior Firefighters during their banquet Saturday night.

Fuller also thanked other auxiliary members who work all year long at fundraisers and keeping the kitchen clean. It is customary for the auxiliary to adopt a fireman who lives at the Firemen’s Home on the Hudson, and she encouraged other members to consider adopting a fireman who might not have family and send him cards or little gifts.

The auxiliary each year earns money with various fundraisers, which enables them to give a monetary gift to the fire company in appreciation of all they do for the auxiliary and the community. This year, Fuller presented Petry and Benz with a check for $10,000.

The final award of the evening was Petry’s President’s Award, which he gave to a group he called “Friends of the Fire Company.”

Jeff Lyons, his sister Kim and niece Alexa received the award for Lyons’ help with new fire police equipment.

Shelby Fire Department president Tim Petry chose several active members to receive his President’s Award at the annual installation dinner Saturday night. Honored with plaques were Steve Seitz, Jason Watts, Tim Fearby and Howard Watts, shown here with their wives, who all received bouquets of roses.

Fire Chief Andy Benz, left, presents medic’s bags to EMTs Gary Lamar, Jeff Lyons and Tiffany Petry.

Shelby Ladies Auxiliary president Patricia Fuller presented Shelby Fire Company President Tim Petry, left, and Fire Chief Andy Benz with a check for $10,000 during the annual installation dinner.

Shirley Fuller, left, and Rosemary Pray were recognized at the annual installation dinner for 62 and 66 years of membership, respectively, in Shelby Fire Company Women’s Auxiliary. At left rear is auxiliary president Patricia Fuller.

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Lyons Collision donates traffic signs, traffic cones to Shelby Fire Company

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 January 2019 at 4:18 pm

Provided photo

SHELBY – Representatives from the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company today accepted a donation from Lyons Collision in Medina. Lyons donated new traffic cones and LED stop and slow signs that will be used by the fire police.

“It’s very helpful,” said Tim Petry, president of the Fire Company. “They will help at accident scenes.”

Pictured from left include: Scott Petry and Tim Petry of the Shelby Fire Company, and Kim Patterson and Jeff Lyons of Lyons Collision.

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County planners back addition for Aldi in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2018 at 8:47 am

ALBION – The Aldi grocery store on Maple Ridge Road in Medina is planning a 2,062-square-foot expansion on the front side of the building.

The Orleans County Planning Board on Thursday voted in favor of the site plan for the project at 11248 Maple Ridge Rd. The application goes to the Town of Shelby Planning Board for a final OK.

The store expansion will occur within the existing parking area and sidewalks, and will add more space for groceries and also backroom storage, the company said in its application. The current building is 16,567 square feet.

The company anticipates construction in April-May 2019.

The number of parking spaces will be reduced from 89 to 87, which is more than the town’s requirement of at least one for every 300 square feet of gross floor area, or a minimum of 62 for the expanded store.

In other action at Thursday’s County Planning Board meeting:

• The board recommended the Town of Barre approve an area variance, site plan and special use permit for a pole barn at 4627 Oak Orchard Rd., which is in the General Business District.

Susan Sherman of Pavilion will run a business, Rice’s Country Haven Modification, from the site.

Sherman also plans to replace an existing mobile home with a new one.

She needs a 40-foot front setback variance for the pole barn, so it would be 35 feet away from the road instead of 75 feet. The Planning Board said the variance is needed for the pole barn to be in an accessible area.

• Recommended the Town of Shelby approve the site plan and special use permit for a riding arena at 11205 West Shelby Rd. in the Agricultural/Residential District.

Haleigh Clarke has proposed a 9,800-square-foot building that would 140 by 70 feet.

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Community welcome for East Shelby church’s old-fashioned Christmas on Sunday

Provided photos: The Morse family donated a 35-foot high Christmas tree, which has been decorated inside the East Shelby Community Bible Church.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 December 2018 at 8:07 am

A seamstress works on her handicraft last year at the Old Fashioned Christmas sponsored by East Shelby Community Bible Church. This year’s event on Sunday will follow an old-fashioned church service at 10:30 a.m.

EAST SHELBY – The East Shelby Community Bible Church will sponsor its annual Old Fashioned Christmas from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The festive day will have a very special feature this year. The celebration is designed to give visitors the true meaning of Christmas and will follow an old-fashioned Christmas service at 10:30 a.m. in the historic church, with a giant Christmas tree donated by Stephen and Patricia Morse of Medina.

In 1992, the Morse’s daughter got a sapling with a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Her folks planted it in the garden at the front corner of their house, where it has been growing all these years.

The Morse’s have become dedicated followers of the East Shelby Church, where they sit in the front pew every Sunday. They decided to donate the 35-foot tree for the church’s Christmas celebration, where it sits proudly, all covered with festive lights and ornaments.

The day will feature a Christmas concert by the church’s band, known as the Band of Renown, followed by swag and garland making, demonstrations of old-time handicrafts, Dickens-style Christmas caroling in the miniature village of West Jackson Corners, horse and buggy rides, sampling of foods cooked over an open fire, kids’ crafts and hot chocolate and other Christmas treats.

A visit from Santa at 4 p.m. will conclude the day.

Pastor Erik Olsen leads the signing of Christmas carols during last year’s Old Fashioned Christmas celebration in West Jackson Corners, the miniature village built by the East Shelby Community Bible Church. This year’s celebration will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the church at 5278 East Shelby Rd.

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Metro 10 presents $4K to Warrior House

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 December 2018 at 6:13 pm

Provided photo

SHELBY – Some members of the Metro 10 race committee presented a check for $4,018 to the Warrior House, the largest donation from the Metro 10 since it started in 2015.

Pictured from left include Peter Zeliff, founder of the Warrior House; race director Thom Jennings and Warrior House volunteer; and race committee members Erin Smith and Wayne Litchfield.

Metro 10 hosted about 300 participants in Albion for the fourth annual race on Aug. 18, pitting runners from Rochester and Buffalo. This year’s event also included a biking component for the first time.

The race has now donated over $7,000 to the Warrior House in the past three years.

The Warrior House is a hunting retreat in West Shelby for wounded veterans. Zeliff donates use of a farmhouse and property on Salt Works Road for veterans. The site hosted six veterans this past weekend for a deer hunt.

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