Monday, May. 6th, 2019

It’s great! It’s big! It’s the Hullabaloo!

Massive, all-new kids event to launch June 1 at the Pablo Center

The Great Big Hullabaloo will be a dynamic day of kid-centric and family-focused fun on Saturday, June 1, at the Pablo Center at the Confluence in Eau Claire. Expect an interactive whirlwind day of music, art, science, technology, theater, dance, and performances in 10 major spaces of the Pablo Center – all geared for creative, curious, community-loving kids and their grownups! The brand-new event is sponsored by Volume One, Chippewa Valley Family, and Associated Bank.

Pablo Center at the Confluence
Spanning 10 areas of the Pablo Center at the Confluence

No joke – we’re taking over the Pablo Center. At The Great Big Hullabaloo, children will discover an array of enriching experiences ranging from experimentation with the sounds of musical instruments to producing a community art masterpiece to dancing off energy in the “kid disco” to quiet moments with a scientific challenge and so much more – more than we can even fit on this page! Plus, a portion of all ticket proceeds go to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eau Claire.

Volunteer Opportunities »

Tickets are on Sale Now »

Here’s everything you need to know about this amazing new event, which is also sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System, Larson Orthodontic Specialists and Marshfield Children’s Hospital:

Basic Info & Tickets

WHEN: Saturday June 1, 10am-4pm
WHERE: Pablo Center at the Confluence, 128 Graham Ave., Downtown Eau Claire
WHO: Families, kids, adults
  Kids (3-12): $7
  Adults (13+): $15
  Kids 2 and under – FREE

Note: All children under 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Live Performances

A number of live performances are included with your ticket! The Great Big Hullabaloo will feature fantastic performances throughout the day ...

  • Jump into a hilarious science comedy show from celebrated performers In Capable Hands.
  • Watch a one-of-a-kind music video and performance by quirky kids performer Beth Jean.
  • Enjoy dance performances from the award-winning Diamond School of Dance.
  • Rock out at a Girls Rock Band performance (a band of local middle school and high school students).
  • Take in a performance from the talented Chippewa Valley Youth Chorus.
  • Get inspired by a showcase of kid stars from the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre.
  • Settle in for story time provided by area public libraries.
  • And don’t miss thrilling, roving performances from Weapons of Brass Destruction and the Memorial High School Band.

Five ‘Districts’ of Fun

The Great Big Hullabaloo will sprawl across five “districts” – large, special areas set up throughout the Pablo Center. If kids visit all five districts and get stamps on their special passport, they’ll get to choose a prize!


  • Belt out a big tune in the karaoke lounge.
  • Dance your butt off in the Kid Disco.
  • Visit the Instrument Petting Zoo and experiment with their sounds with help from the Eau Claire Music School and Memorial High School Orchestra.
  • Enjoy a mini music lesson with the Eau Claire Music School.
  • Craft your very own instrument with Blugold Beginnings.


  • Paint a picture by steering a robot around your canvas – with help from Blugold Beginnings.
  • Get creative with make-n-take projects from your local ArtMobile.
  • Pitch in on a community cardboard sculpture with amazing local artist Ray Kassaleu.
  • Keep it colorful as you paint on silk with local artist Erin O’Brien.
  • Build a birdhouse with your family (with help from 4H kids).
  • Create string art (with help from 4H kids).


  • Interact with green screen television tech from Valley Media Works.
  • Crash and zoom a Sphero Ball robot through an obstacle course*.
  • Test your smarts in a Lego Robotics battle*.
  • Spark your imagination as you experiment with circuits*.
    *Activities provided and run by Blugold Beginnings


  • Act it out with theater arts training from the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre and Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild.
  • Take a seat for a fun performance in the RCU Theatre.
  • Dress up in costumes from the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre and strike a pose in the photo booth courtesy of Laci Eberle Photography.


  • Dive into the Mayo Clinic Health System Gross-ology Exhibit.
  • Keep it healthy with a teddy bear check-up with Marshfield Clinic.
  • Conduct fascinating science experiments with the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire’s special “Let’s Do Chemistry” exhibit.
  • Work with magnets, prisms, and rainbows at Lilly Pad Lab’s “Science of Colors for Curious Kids” exhibit.
  • Make your own bouncy ball, bath bomb, or UV bracelet with Blugold Beginnings.

Even more activities and performances will be added soon!

Prizes and Make-and-Take Projects

Various activities at The Great Big Hullabaloo will allow kids to craft special items to keep. Plus, Marshfield Clinic will offer kids a Wellness Teddy Bear in their teddy bear check-up exhibit – while supplies last! Also ...

  • Make a rain stick with Blugold Beginnings.
  • Create a Sphero Ball painting with Blugold Beginnings.
  • Make a String Art piece on wood with 4H.
  • Build a bird house with 4H.
  • Create projects with the ArtMobile.
  • Craft a UV Bracelet, a Bath Bomb, or a Bouncy Ball with Blugold Beginnings.

Don’t miss the most dynamic day of kid-centric and family-focused fun to ever hit the Chippewa Valley! Learn more online at


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Friday, May. 3rd, 2019

Return of the Dragons: Annual Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival is all about fighting cancer

Five years ago, a new invasive species swam into Half Moon Lake. Forty feet long with brightly colored scales, it was sleek and swift with bulging eyes, flared nostrils and a toothy grin. The dragons of the lake had arrived in the Chippewa Valley as part of the inaugural Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival.

Raising money for cancer programs

Sponsored and hosted by Mayo Clinic Health System, the event initially raised money for hospice programs. Fast forward to 2018, and the fundraising focus switched to cancer programs and continues with this focus at this year’s event on Saturday, Aug. 3.

“We know there is a significant need for local cancer support service funding,” explains Renelle Laffe from Hope in the Valley, which is a Chippewa Valley-based nonprofit cancer advocacy organization. “Bringing the community together to support this need in a fun, deeply meaningful way is both powerful and healing.”

The Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival is going strong as a joint partnership between Mayo Clinic Health System and Hope in the Valley. The mission and goals of this year’s event are to:

  • Fundraise for local cancer programs and services 

  • Educate on cancer prevention, research and healthy living 

  • Celebrate cancer survivors and those currently fighting the disease, and remember loved 
ones lost 

  • Provide a family-friendly event for the community to enjoy 

Half of the proceeds will benefit the Albert J. and Judith A. Dunlap Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, and half will benefit local cancer service organizations and charity care. The proceeds will be given in person on the Day of Giving Hope, which is Dec. 2. 

Why dragon boat racing? 

Equal parts sporting event and spectacle, dragon boat racing is a team sport that has its roots in ancient China. In the last 30 years, dragon boat racing has been revitalized and is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. Each brightly colored dragon boat is propelled by a crew of 20 paddlers, a drummer and steer person working together as a team to finish the race. 

In addition to the excitement of watching and cheering for the dragon boats as they race to the finish line, the festival also includes music and a variety of tasty food vendors to enjoy. The Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival is a high-energy, fun-filled day — proven by being voted the Best 
Sports/Recreation Event (non-run/walk) in Volume One’s Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll three years in a row.

But don’t take our word for it. Check out the hype and fun for yourself. Register a team to paddle, sign up to volunteer or attend as a spectator. The Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival will be held Saturday, Aug. 3 at Half Moon Beach. More information is available at

This post was produced through a partnership
with Mayo Clinic Health System ... Learn more!

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Will UW-Eau Claire Grad Be the First First Gentleman?

Chasten Buttigieg (left) on the cover of TIME Magazine (May 13) with husband and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.
Chasten Buttigieg (left) on the cover of TIME Magazine (May 13) with husband and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.

America’s potential first first gentleman is a Blugold.

Chasten Buttigieg – husband of Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (if you’re curious, it’s pronounced “Boot-edge-edge”) – graduated from UW-Eau Claire in December 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts. His husband, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has been moving toward the top of a crowded field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination that includes well-known political veterans like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. But Pete Buttigieg has made a big splash in recent weeks, drawing attention both for his policy proposals and personal story: Harvard and Oxford graduate, Afghan War veteran, millennial mayor, and now the first prominent gay presidential candidate in U.S. history.

Chasten (that’s “Chas-Ten”), 29, has been right beside “Mayor Pete,” literally and figuratively, sharing the podium with him when he officially launched his candidate April 14 and posing with him for the cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine.

“Chasten’s humor and openness have been his defining features since the national spotlight found him and ‘Mayor Pete’ earlier this year,” Ellen McCarthy wrote in a recent Washington Post profile article. “It has made him a force on Twitter, where he has more than 300,000 followers, and a not-so-secret public-relations weapon for his husband.”

Chasten and Pete Buttigieg meeting former US President Jimmy Carter last year. (Image: Twitter)
Chasten and Pete Buttigieg meeting former US President Jimmy Carter last year. (Image: Twitter)

The former Chasten Glenzman grew up in a working-class family in Traverse City, Michigan. According to the Washington Post profile, he loved theater and struggled with his sexuality as an adolescent, at one point moving out of the house and sleeping in his car. He later reconciled with his parents. “Eventually, they would proudly walk him down the aisle at his wedding to another man,” the Post noted.

Chasten and Pete married in June 2018 at an Anglican Church in South Bend, Indiana. They had met in 2015 through a dating app. The previous year, Chasten had graduated from UW-Eau Claire, where he studied theatre arts and global studies. After graduation, he moved to Milwaukee, where he worked at a youth theater academy and at Starbucks. Later, according to the Indianapolis Star, he earned a master’s degree at DePaul University in Chicago before teaching at a Montessori school in South Bend.

These days, Chasten is spending his days on the campaign trail, literally and digitally. As Elle magazine noted in March, “Chasten Buttigieg’s Relentlessly Cheery Twitter Is the Best Thing to Come Out of the 2020 Election.” Chasten’s timeline is filled with pictures of the couple’s rescue dogs (Buddy and Truman), “Game of Thrones” memes, and musings about the bizarre side of political/Internet fame. A sample tweet: “This new exposure can be very weird, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to teenagers taking pictures of me and then running away giggling when I look up and see them pointing their phones at me. This is why I can no longer smell deodorants at Target. They’re always watching.”

However, as the Washington Post noted, “it’s a pressure-filled role, even for a former drama kid. ‘There’s so much more on the line than, “Man, I don’t want to forget a line and mess up the show,” ’ Chasten says. ‘It’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to say the wrong thing and ruin my husband’s political career.” ’ ”

In the coming 18 months, that pressure will undoubtedly mount, but that career could take the couple all the way to the White House.

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Friday, Apr. 19th, 2019

Infamous “Walmart House” FINALLY Hits the Market

Above: $2,500,000
Above: $2,500,000

Looks like that old, single-story brick house standing in front of Walmart on Eau Claire’s southeast side (3801 Gateway Drive) is FINALLY up for sale (see listing). A noble holdout from when the area was developed decades ago, the house has inspired comparisons to the iconic property which may have inspired the movie Up! 

The home was occupied for many years by a single owner – a local woman who stood her ground against swelling development as she refused to sell. She passed away last fall.

It's sad to see such a remarkable local resident pass, but hey, if you’ve got a mere $2,500,000 on hand, your dream home awaits. It's been on the market since mid-April. So, you know ... act now.

Sure, the property listing seems geared toward developers looking to install a Kwik Trip or a Taco Bell or a Dunkin’ Donuts or a mattress store. But don’t let that stop you, Potential Homeowner.

In a house like this you can let the gentle woosh of nearby U.S. Highway 53 lull you to sleep each night. All night. And all day. The irregular, 2.3 acre lot will surely attract new parents. Imagine the amazing games of hide-n-seek your kids will have in the adjacent parking lot(s).

Great for romping.
Great for romping.

According to the scant listing, the 1,064 square foot structure is built upon a block foundation and includes a full basement. Additional interior features include “restrooms.” Plural.

Yes, it’s a bit of a fixer-upper and taxes last year came in at $9,651, and your estimated monthly payment is $11,163, but who can put a price on convenience? Not us. In a home like this, you’d literally be a hop, a skip, a jump, and a short stroll from the front doors of the world’s largest big box retailer. And Sam’s Club. And Petco. And Kohl’s. And Fazoli’s.

And right across the street you’ve got the neighborhood Best Buy, Office Max, and T.J. Maxx. All the best Max’s are right there – if you’re agile enough to sprint across a U.S. Highway and scale at least one chain link fence.

The property lies within the Eau Claire School District.

Also: detached garage.
Also: detached garage.

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Wednesday, Apr. 17th, 2019

Watch Local Tiny Desk Concerts from Converge Radio

Check out the press release from Converge Radio 99.9 FM on the great videos they produced for National Public Radio's Tiny Desk Contest ...

EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN – April 16, 2019– Converge Radio 99.9 FM is proud to present the National Public Radio (NPR) Tiny Desk Contest featuring talented artists from Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Since its launch in 2008, hundreds of performances have been recorded by artists for the Tiny Desk Contest. 

Tiny Desk Contest is the creative concept of NPR Music host Bob Boilen, where he invites the winners– a diversity of guest artists to perform in his festive workspace adorned with years of music mementos and memorabilia. 

The series has provided a welcoming stage for artists at all points in their career and from across the music genre spectrum.

The winner of the contest will go to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. to play their very own Tiny Desk Concert.  In the summer of 2019, the winner will go on a tour of the U.S. with NPR Music.

The team at Converge Radio 99.9FM has produced, directed and edited the music videos for the 23 talented artists from the state of Wisconsin.

Each video presentation features a song that is the entrant’s original work.

Meet the Artists:

Billy Krause
Caitlin McGarvey*
D. Janakey
Davey J
Greg Gilbertson
Histrionic Creature
Howard "Guitar" Luedtke
Jim Pullman
Loi!L Pride
Miles Blvd
Olive Sings
Past & The Present
The Outlaw Renegades
The Third Ward*
Travis Lee

* Artist is UWEC Student

Converge Radio 99.9FM, has created a unique, artistic set (including a tiny desk!), where the 23 music videos were produced, located at The Venue, at 209 Graham Avenue in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

The Venue is owned by Benny Haas, who is known in the community and a champion of the music and cultural scene in Eau Claire.

You can see all of these talented artists perform for the NPR Tiny Desk here: 

The Judging Period begins on April 15, 2019, and ends on or about May 10, 2019. More:


Cinematographer – Sarah Ferraro (20 bands)*
Assistant Cinematographer - Eli Klatt (3 bands)* 
Set Design – Karen Wells Verlander
Live Audio Engineers – Brent Kuechenmeister, Brad Murphy*, Alex Stadtlander*
Audio Mixing – Scott Morfitt, Evan Middlesworth, Justin Andersen, Neal Sipress, Kyle Culver
Audio Mastering – Sprinter Studios
Video Editors – Jack Ross Bertelson, Phil Dedman, Bre Ferraro*, Lindsey Kvern*, Sarah Ferraro*, Eli Klatt* 
Set Assistants – Sarah Ferraro*, Patric Tillery*, Vanessa Nielsen*, Caitlin Plaisance*
Executive Producer – Scott Morfitt

* Team member is UWEC Student


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Tuesday, Apr. 16th, 2019

Work Begins to Light up Grand Ave. Bridge

The revamped Grand Avenue Bridge  during last year’s Grand Evening on the Bridge
The revamped Grand Avenue Bridge during last year’s Grand Evening on the Bridge event.

Weekday walkers, bikers, and other peddlers and perambulators will have to find a new way around downtown for the next few weeks because of the second phase of work on the Grand Avenue Pedestrian Footbridge. The installation of architectural lighting on the bridge began April 8, and will continue for between two weeks and a month, depending on weather conditions, the City of Eau Claire said. For safety reasons, the bridge will be closed 7am-5pm weekdays (although it will be open at other times and on weekends). Those who use the bridge to get around are encouraged to follow a detour path that goes east on Grand Avenue to Graham Avenue, north across the new Confluence Crossing Bridge, west across the Phoenix Park Bridge, then south along the trail toward Grand Avenue. The bridge was completely closed for several months last year during the first phase of a $1.7 million renovation project that included replacing the bridge’s decking and railings and widening its surface. The latest phase includes the installation of lighting on the bridge’s piers, overlooks, and abutments, City Engineer David Solberg said. These lights – as well as those that illuminate the bridge’s walking surface – will be able to change colors, similar to the lights on the Phoenix Park Bridge. Eventually, the downtown light show will encompass a continuous strip including the Phoenix Park Bridge, the Confluence Crossing Bridge, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, Haymarket Plaza, and the Grand Avenue bridge, Solberg added. 

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Wednesday, Apr. 3rd, 2019

2019 Election Results: Eau Claire City Council Will Have a New President

Later this month, Terry Weld will trade his at-large seat for the president’s chair.
Later this month, Terry Weld will trade his at-large Eau Claire City Council seat for the president’s chair.

Eau Claire has a new City Council president after Tuesday’s election, although he will only hold the title for one year. With 53 percent of the vote, Terry Weld beat acting President Andrew Werthmann, who will nonetheless retain his seat on the council.

Weld will serve out the remaining year of former President Kerry Kincaid’s council term. Kincaid resigned last summer, which elevated Werthmann, then the council’s vice president, to acting president. Werthmann has served on the council 10 years, making him the body’s longest-serving member, while Weld was originally appointed to fill a vacancy two years ago.

According to unofficial election returns, Weld received 6,790 votes while Werthmann got 6,087.

Later this month, Weld will trade his at-large seat for the president’s chair. If he wants to retain the job after 2020, however, he’ll have to run for a full three-year term next year. Meanwhile, Werthmann will keep his District 5 seat until 2021.

City voters also elected five at-large council members Tuesday, several of them newcomers. The top vote-getter was John Lor, a first-time candidate who had his name checked on 7,622 ballots. The other winners were Kate Beaton (6,215 votes), David Klinkhammer (5,803), Laura Benjamin (5,394), and Catherine Emmanuelle (5,190). Beaton and Emmanuelle are incumbents, while Klinkhammer is a former councilman who served for 11 years before losing his District 2 seat last spring. Benjamin, a business owner, joins Lor as the only political newcomer on the council. (Two current incumbents, Michael Xiong and David Strobel, didn’t seek re-election.)

“I’m excited for our new council members, and I look forward to sitting down with them,” Weld told the Leader-Telegram after the election results were clear.

Werthmann posted the following on his official Facebook account: “I want to congratulate Terry Weld on becoming the new President of the Eau Claire City Council. While it was a close race – I am proud that we kept it positive and focused on issues that will lift up our entire community. As I continue to serve on the City Council I look forward to working with him, with all of our City Councilmembers, and with all of you to make Eau Claire a place that works for everyone.”

Candidates who did not win seats on the council were challengers Dale Poynter (4,514 votes), Kate Martin (4,340), Kirk Ausman (4,010), Don Motzing (3,442), and Kyle Woodman (3,408).

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Monday, Apr. 1st, 2019

5 Biggest Political Plays in Wisconsin History

A schoolhouse in Ripon, WI was the birthplace of the Republican Party.
A schoolhouse in Ripon, WI was the birthplace of the Republican Party.

1. 2020 DNC

While the 2020 Democratic National Convention hasn’t happened yet, it undoubtedly will be one of the biggest political events ever to occur in Wisconsin. In early March, the Democratic National Committee chose Milwaukee to host the 2020 convention that will pick the party’s nominee. With dozens of potential candidates and a party eager to unseat Donald Trump, expect fireworks in Milwaukee.


An 1854 gathering of 53 voters in a Ripon schoolhouse may have been modest in size, but it was momentous in impact. Foes of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill – which would have allowed new states to decide whether they wanted to allow slavery – met there and decided to form the new Republican Party. The party soon spread nationwide, and the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, was elected six years later.


“It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose,” declared Theodore Roosevelt to a Milwaukee audience in 1912. Just a few minutes earlier, Roosevelt – an ex-president again seeking the Oval Office on the Progressive (a.k.a. Bull Moose) Party ticket – had been shot by a mentally ill assailant. A thick speech and an eyeglass case in the candidate’s pocket likely saved his life. Teddy delivered the speech, lost the election, and spent the rest of his life with a bullet in his chest.


Another Progressive Republican, Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette, served as Wisconsin’s governor and U.S. Senator in the early 20th century. A firebrand opponent of monopolies and proponent of higher taxes on the wealthy, La Follette led the Progressive ticket in the 1924 presidential race. La Follette won nearly 17 percent of the vote nationwide – one of the best third-party showings in U.S. history – and won his home state’s 13 electoral votes.


In the wake of his legislation that virtually eliminated the power of public-sector labor unions, Republican Gov. Scott Walker became the focus of a recall effort in 2011. By the following spring, Walker opponents had collected more than 900,000 signatures, prompting a recall election. On June 4, Walker won 53 percent of the vote, defeating Democratic opponent Tom Barrett and becoming the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt. Walker was re-elected in 2014 but was defeated in a bid for a third term last fall.

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Tuesday, Mar. 19th, 2019

WATCH: Night’s Still Young (a short film by a local writer and his brother)



You can now watch a short film written and c0-produced by Chippewa Valley author and UW-Eau Claire English professor B.J. Hollars. The film – entitled Night’s Still Young – was directed and co-produced by Hollar’s brother, Brooklyn-based Brian J. Hollars.

The film, which runs just under 15 minutes, is set in Louisiana and focuses on Kate (Shanna Vincent), a woman who decides to host a 26th birthday party for herself. Surrounded by close friends. The guests (apart from Kate’s  brother Austin and her lifelong friend Jeanie) are unaware the get-together also functions as Kate’s farewell party.

The film’s world premiere took place in May at the ninth annual NYC Independent Film Festival, and it was screened at the NYCIndie Film Fest and selected for the the New Hope Film Festival. The film’s Midwest premiere took place July 5 in UW-Eau Claire’s Davies Center. The film was released online on March 18.

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Friday, Mar. 15th, 2019

How Ya Doin'?: Michael Perry takes his wisdom and comedy to the small screen

“How YA Doin’?”
“How YA Doin’?”

There are only 24 hours in each day and Michael Perry fans might be wondering if the guy ever gets some sleep. The author, singer, and “itinerant pig farmer” returns to the small screen this month in Wisconsin Public Television’s “How Ya Doin’?” – a special that debuted in March. Long-time Perry fans may remember his “Clodhopper” series that ran several years ago on WPT. “How Ya Doin’?” is kind of a fresh take on that show.

In the preview, Perry jokes that this time around his hair is shorter – sorry, the old trademark is gone for good – and his beard is whiter. What hasn’t changed, though, is Perry’s trademark wit. At the heart of “How Ya Doin’?” is humor, what it means to be a Wisconsinite, and yes, a tractor or two.

You can catch “How Ya Doin’?” on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17.

WPT Passport members can watch the show online anytime. If you’ve been putting off becoming a WPT member, now’s a great time to join. As thank you gifts, the station is giving new members a DVD of the special.

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