Federal Disaster Declaration Would Help People, Businessesin Kankakee, LaSalle, Livingston, Peoria and Putnam Counties

SPRINGFIELD - June 18, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today asked President Obama to declare Kankakee, LaSalle, Livingston, Peoria and Putnam counties major disasters areas. If approved, a federal disaster declaration would help people and businesses affected by the June 5 tornadoes recover from the storm's aftermath by allowing them to apply for grants and loans to assist with storm-related losses.

"Many people in these areas are struggling to recover from the tornadoes that ripped their lives apart," said Governor Quinn. "As I said when I toured a devastated neighborhood in Dwight shortly after the storms, we need to do everything possible to get help to these people. Today, I'm asking President Obama to quickly approve federal assistance for these five counties, so people can begin to piece their lives back together."

Earlier this week, damage assessment teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local officials documented the extent of damage in all five counties. Governor Quinn's request for federal assistance is based on the results of those assessments, which determined that 62 homes were destroyed by the storm and 42 suffered major damage. Nearly 160 additional homes were damaged to a lesser extent. 

If granted, the federal disaster declaration would make assistance available, including grants to individuals and households to help with temporary housing, home repairs or replacement and other disaster-related expenses, as well as low-interest SBA loans to residents and businesses.

"The State of Illinois continues to do everything possible to help these communities recover from the tornadoes," said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. "After conducting the damage assessments this week, it's apparent that federal assistance is needed to help many of the storm victims recover."

Governor Quinn previously declared all five counties state disaster areas to ensure affected communities received needed state assistance to recover from the storms. The State of Illinois has been assisting with debris removal in several of the affected communities for the past two weeks.

Several trucks and other pieces of heavy equipment from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are helping with clean up efforts today in Streator and Dwight. In addition, inmate crews from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) are assisting with the debris removal today in Streator.

Additional information about the state's storm response efforts is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 18, 2010 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded Senate passage of legislation to ensure seniors and veterans can continue to receive medical care from the doctors they depend on.  The legislation, which provides a six month extension of the Medicare payment fix for doctors, is fully paid for and was passed by unanimous consent.  The bill now heads to the House for its consideration.

"I am encouraged that the Senate passed an extension of the Medicare payment fix for doctors.  Iowa's seniors deserve to continue to receive the highest quality medical service and stops doctors from taking a 21 percent pay cut," said Harkin.  "I am disappointed, however, that the Medicare fix was separated from an extension of unemployment insurance, a benefit that helps families pay the rent, put food on the table and keep their kids in school as they search for work.  I will continue to fight for this extension and hope that the Senate takes it up expeditiously."

The 21 percent payment cut, which is a result of flaws in Medicare's physician payment formula, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, took effect June 1.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services placed a temporary hold on the processing of Medicare reimbursement claims to delay implementing the reduced doctor payments.  Unfortunately, the agency was forced to begin processing Medicare claims with the 21 percent payment cut today in order to reimburse doctors' offices for their services.

Signs Legislation at the Burroughs-founded DuSable Museum to Designate March 25 as Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery

CHICAGO - June 18, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today commemorated Juneteenth at the DuSable Museum of African American History and proclaimed Dr. Margaret Burroughs Day in honor of the museum's founder. He also signed legislation to designate March 25 as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the state of Illinois.

Juneteenth is the oldest and most widely-celebrated holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

"Juneteenth is a day to remember our past and honor those who have made significant contributions to our present," said Governor Quinn. "I salute Dr. Margaret Burroughs for her incredible work to advance the arts in Illinois and her dedication to ensuring that everyone can experience African American history and culture."

Dr. Margaret Burroughs made the first of her many contributions to African American arts and culture when, at the age of 22, she founded the South Side Community Arts Center as a gallery and studio for artists and students. The center is still active today and Dr. Margaret Burroughs continues to serve on its board.

Then, in 1961, Dr. Margaret Burroughs, her husband Charles and other leading Chicago residents founded the DuSable Museum of African American History. The museum has since grown to be an internationally-recognized museum of African American art. It was originally located on the ground floor of the Burroughs' home on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago and is named for Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, the first non-Native-American permanent settler in Chicago.

"As the founder of numerous community institutions, a fighter for social justice and equality during the Civil Rights Movement, and a respected artist and pillar of the African American community, Dr. Margaret Burroughs has touched the lives of countless individuals and throughout her accomplished life has embodied the spirit of Juneteenth by brightening the futures of children and adults all across the Land of Lincoln," said Governor Quinn in the proclamation.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when Union soldiers led by General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the end of the Civil War, freeing all slaves. Though Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was effective two years prior on January 1, 1863, a lack of Union troops in Texas prevented enforcement.

Also at the event, Governor Quinn signed a bill into law to designate March 25 as a Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the state of Illinois. House Bill 4586, sponsored by Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously. The holiday will coincide with the annual United Nations' International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which falls on March 25 annually.

A copy of the proclamation is attached.

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Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) met with Cedar Falls High School sophomore Emily Schroeder yesterday to congratulate her on winning the First District Congressional Art Competition. Schroeder visited Washington, DC with her family to attend a recognition ceremony and view her artwork hanging in the Capitol building.

"Emily is an outstanding artist with a very bright future," Braley said. "I'm glad she was able to visit Washington and be recognized with winners from around the country. She and her family were also able to visit the Capitol and see her artwork prominently displayed. I want to congratulate Emily and all the other finalists for their outstanding work.

An Artistic Discovery, the annual Congressional Art Competition, is open to all high school students. One winner is selected from each participating district. Four finalists were selected and their artwork will be displayed in Braley's office in Washington D.C. The six semi-finalists' work will be displayed in Braley's Iowa district offices.

A photo of Congressman Braley and Emily standing next to drawing is attached.

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WASHINGTON - June 18, 2010 - The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a measure sponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) that would increase federal criminal penalties for drug dealers who entice children with candy-flavored methamphetamine, marijuana and other dangerous drugs.

According to law enforcement officers and drug treatment officials, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs are being colored, packaged and flavored in ways designed to attract children and minors.  Some have child-friendly names like Pot Tarts - named after the popular Pop-Tarts snacks.

"This bill sends a strong and clear message to drug dealers - if you target our children by peddling candy-flavored drugs, there will be a heavy price to pay," Feinstein said. "The legislation increases criminal penalties for anyone who markets candy-flavored drugs in an effort to hook our young people.  New techniques and gimmicks to lure our kids into addiction are around every corner.  We must do everything we can to end the practice of purposely altering illegal drugs to make them more appealing to our youth."

"Drug dealers who target children by flavoring drugs to taste like candy have sunk to a new low.  These dealers need to know that when you prey on our youth, you risk serious prison time.  This legislation should make drug dealers think twice about selling candy flavored drugs to our kids," Grassley said.

The bill also has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Narcotics Officers' Associations' Coalition.

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Senator Chuck Grassley made the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released proposed rules to increase competitiveness in the livestock and poultry industry.  Grassley fought to ensure competition was addressed in the 2008 farm bill, which required the proposed rules.  This includes rules for specific legislation that Grassley pushed which required any arbitration provision in a contract be voluntarily agreed upon by both parties to settle disputes at the time a dispute arises, not when the contract is signed.

Grassley has led the congressional effort to address unfair practices, monopsony and vertical integration in agriculture.  He is the author of comprehensive legislation that would help ensure a level playing field for all market participants in the agriculture industry, including the independent producer and family farmer.

"The Department of Agriculture has made a concerted effort to address some of the unprecedented levels of concentration in the agriculture industry.  There's still more work to be done, but these proposed rules are a step in the right direction.  Producers of all sizes will benefit by having more bargaining power and additional rights to negotiate.  It gives producers an opportunity to have some control over a process that has all-too-often skewed against family farmers and independent producers.

"It's also important that the proposed rules for arbitration will be available.   I've fought for several years to allow farmers the opportunity to choose the best form of dispute resolution so they didn't have to submit to packers.  This will help level the playing field for independent producers."  

Here is a copy of USDA's press release.

USDA Announces Proposed Rule to Increase Fairness

In the Marketing of Livestock and Poultry

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2010?Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that on June 22, 2010 USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will publish a proposed rule, as required by the 2008 farm bill and through existing authority under the Packers and Stockyards Act, that would provide significant new protections for producers against unfair, fraudulent or retaliatory practices.

"Concerns about a lack of fairness and commonsense treatment for livestock and poultry producers have gone unaddressed far too long," said Vilsack. "This proposed rule will help ensure a level playing field for producers by providing additional protections against unfair practices and addressing new market conditions not covered by existing rules."

The proposed rules address concerns that have been discussed for many years and were developed at the direction of the 2008 farm bill, which requires USDA to carry out specific rulemaking to improve fairness in the marketing of livestock and poultry.  During farm bill discussions in 2007, over 200 organizations across the country urged Congress to include a livestock title to improve market fairness and competition for producers.  Additionally, USDA identified other areas where new rulemaking is needed to ensure the marketplace is fair and competitive for producers.  Many of the concerns addressed in the rule were raised during the dozens of Administration Rural Tour stops attended by Secretary Vilsack last year, and the joint USDA-Department of Justice Competition Workshops held this year.  Additionally, GIPSA held three public meetings in 2008 to gather comments, information, and recommendations from interested parties.

Many of the concerns were related to increasing consolidation and vertical integration in the livestock and poultry marketplace, and shrinking farm numbers.  For instance, there were over 666,000 hog farms in 1980, but only roughly 71,000 today.  In the cattle industry, there were over 1.6 million farms in 1980, but only roughly 950,000 today.  In the hog industry, producers received 50% of the retail value of a hog in 1980, but only 24.5 percent in 2009.  For cattle, producers received 62 percent of the retail value of a steer in 1980, but only 42.5 percent in 2009.  In the poultry industry today, a grower makes 34 cents per bird, while the processing company however on average makes $3.23 a bird.

The proposed rule announced today would provide the following protections:

· Provide further definition to practices that are unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive, including outlining actions that are retaliatory in nature, efforts that would limit a producer's legal rights, or representations that would be fraudulent or misleading.  Additionally, the proposed rule reiterates USDA's position that a producer need not overcome unnecessary obstacles and have to always prove a harm to competition when they have suffered a violation under the Act ;

· Define undue or unreasonable  preferences or advantages;

· Establish new protections for producers required to provide expensive capital upgrades to their growing facilities, including  protections to ensure producers  have the opportunity to recoup 80 percent of the cost of a required capital investment;

· Prohibit packers from purchasing, acquiring or receiving livestock from other packers, and communicate prices to competitors;

· Enable a fair and equitable process for producers that choose to use arbitration to remedy a dispute.  Additionally, clear and conspicuous print in the contract will be required to ensure producers are provided the option to decline the use of arbitration to settle a dispute.

· Require that companies paying growers under a tournament system provide the same base pay to growers that raise the same type and kind of poultry, including ensuring that  the growers pay cannot go below the base pay amount;

· Provide poultry growers with a written notice of a company's intent to suspend the delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement at least 90 days prior to the date it intends to suspend the delivery;

· Improve market transparency by making sample contracts (except for trade secrets or other confidential information) be made available on GIPSA's website for producers;

· Outline protections so that producers can remedy a breach of contract;

· Improve competition in markets by limiting exclusive arrangements between packers and dealers.

The proposed rule will be published in the June 22, 2010, Federal Register. GIPSA will consider comments received by August 23, 2010.  Comments may be sent via email to comments.gipsa@usda.gov or sent by mail to Tess Butler, GIPSA, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 1643-S, Washington, D.C. 20250-3604.  Copies of the proposed rule and additional information can be found at: http://www.gipsa.usda.gov by clicking on Federal Register.

ROCK ISLAND, IL (06/18/2010)(readMedia)-- Twenty-two Augustana students will spend two weeks in mid-July administering medical care to impoverished Nicaraguans. The service trip gives students hands-on experience in the medical fields and immerses them in Latin American culture. It is organized through JETS (Joining Education Through Service), a student organization at Augustana. The students will be accompanied by Dr. Darrin Good, professor of biology, and three doctors-two alumni and one the spouse of an alumna.

The students will set up their free medical clinic-usually in a tent or covered pavilion-in six small Nicaraguan towns. The students will work with translators to evaluate patients' symptoms and make a preliminary diagnosis. Before prescribing treatment, they will consult with one of three Nicaraguan doctors or the three American doctors who confirm the students' diagnosis.

From your area, this includes:

Andrew Spyrow, a first year from Bettendorf, Bettendorf majoring in general studies.

Mark Stumphy, a junior from Moline, Moline majoring in general studies.

Good founded the JETS program in 2008 and has since been to Nicaragua three times. He started JETS because he saw the need for an international program that was shorter than traditional programs and would fit the interests of pre-medicine students. He also wanted the program to be a service learning opportunity and to capitalize on Augustana's excellent Spanish department.

"Students on the trip really do begin to understand how truly lucky they are to have been born in a wealthy, developed nation," Good said. "They return with a love of the people of Nicaragua and a sense that impoverished people don't choose to be poor or become poor because they are lazy. They gain an understanding of world poverty and health disparity around the world."

For Brett Anderson, a junior biology and pre-pharmacy major, the trip will be his first time out of the country. "This is the perfect opportunity for me to experience a different culture," he said. "I am looking forward to bringing help to people who really need it."

Augustana students, faculty, and alumni travel to Nicaragua twice a year through the JETS organization. They partner with Global Medical Training (GMT), a non-profit organization that provides medical services to poor communities in Central America. GMT determines where the Augustana clinics are needed and also arranges several tourist experiences that expose students to the history, food, economy and ecology of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but it is also one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. According to the United Nations 2007-08 human development report, 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and a large number of households are headed by woman. Quality medical aid is either unavailable or unaffordable to much of the population.

The students leave the United States on July 11 and return on July 23. For more information on the Nicaragua trip, please visit www.augustana.edu/Nicaragua.

For more information, contact Kamy Beattie at kamybeattie@augustana.edu or 309-794-7721.

ROCK ISLAND, IL (06/18/2010)(readMedia)-- Six hundred and twenty-seven students of the class of 2010 graduated from Augustana College with their Bachelor of Arts degree. Augustana's 150th commencement convocation was held on May 23, 2009 at the iwireless Center in Moline.  The following local students were among the graduates:

Faria Ahmed from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in psychology and biology and pre-medicine.

Kristin Albrecht from Moline, IL, who majored in communication studies.

Drew Allen from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in international business.

Samuel Alvarado from Davenport, IA, who majored in chemistry.

Britney Anderson from Reynolds, IL, who majored in religion.

Isaac Anderson from Moline, IL, who majored in biology.

Carrie Bestian from Taylor Ridge, IL, who majored in elementary education.

Katherine Bieber from Davenport, IA, who majored in history.

Nicholas Borchert from Rock Island, IL, who majored in English and philosophy.

Benjamin Borhart from Illinois City, IL, who majored in English.

David Brickner from Rock Island, IL, who majored in accounting and business finance.

Andrew Brown from Port Byron, IL, who majored in business management.

Katherine Caldwell from Moline, IL, who majored in theatre arts.

Nicholas Camlin from Rock Island, IL, who majored in political science.

Kevin Carton from Moline, IL, who majored in communication studies and French and Africana studies.

Brittany Dalton from Eldridge, IA, who majored in pre-medicine.

Darin Decker from Moline, IL, who majored in business marketing.

Jacquelyn Engel from Davenport, IA, who majored in biology.

Megan Ferris from Moline, IL, who majored in elementary education.

Melissa Fobert from Rock Island, IL, who majored in accounting and business finance.

Kai Frazier from Moline, IL, who majored in psychology.

Adam Friedrich from Port Byron, IL, who majored in philosophy and English writing emphasis.

Andrew Fritch from East Moline, IL, who majored in accounting and business finance.

Monica Glancey from Moline, IL, who majored in communication studies.

Melissa Goode from Davenport, IA, who majored in music.

Clayton Holst from Davenport, IA, who majored in biology.

Sara Howell from Milan, IL, who majored in biology.

Olivia Husman from East Moline, IL, who majored in communication studies.

Monica Johnson from Davenport, IA, who majored in business marketing and Spanish.

Michael Kendall from Silvis, IL, who majored in biology.

Paul Lambrecht from Moline, IL, who majored in history education.

Thomas Larrison from Davenport, IA, who majored in religion.

Thomas Lemon from Moline, IL, who majored in history and business management.

Megan Lonergan from Davenport, IA, who majored in elementary education and mathematics.

Emilie Malone from Davenport, IA, who majored in sociology and art history.

Benjamin Marine from Coal Valley, IL, who majored in biology and pre-medicine and business.

Peter Marogil from Moline, IL, who majored in biology and pre-medicine.

Tiffany Massey from Rock Island, IL, who majored in communication sciences and disorders.

George Mathew from East Moline, IL, who majored in philosophy.

Daniel Meden from Davenport, IA, who majored in biology.

Olivia Menage from Moline, IL, who majored in history.

Sara Michaletti from Rock Island, IL, who majored in classics with Latin emphasis.

Emma Moran from Rock Island, IL, who majored in biology and pre-medicine.

Allison Mulherin from Moline, IL, who majored in biology.

Seneca Munos from Moline, IL, who majored in biology.

Cara Neary from East Moline, IL, who majored in psychology.

Zachary Newcomb from Rock Island, IL, who majored in philosophy.

Anthony Nobiling from Moline, IL, who majored in sociology.

Luke Osborne from Moline, IL, who majored in classics with Latin emphasis.

John Patton from Rock Island, IL, who majored in English.

Srividya Prabhu from Moline, IL, who majored in biology and pre-medicine.

Andrew Randone from Davenport, IA, who majored in political science.

Bridget Reich from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in psychology.

Cristal Rios from Moline, IL, who majored in Spanish.

Sydney Royal from Rock Island, IL, who majored in accounting and German.

Kelli Schledewitz from Davenport, IA, who majored in elementary education.

Geoffrey Schoon from Rock Island, IL, who majored in accounting and business finance.

Alyssa Schroeder from Coal Valley, IL, who majored in business finance and accounting.

Bryan Schuldt from Rock Island, IL, who majored in physics.

Alex Sieg from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in biochemistry.

Darla Smith from Port Byron, IL, who majored in elementary education.

Nicholas Stader from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in communication studies.

Amber Staes from Moline, IL, who majored in business.

Henry Stauffenberg, from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in Geology.

Sarah Taylor from Moline, IL, who majored in accounting and business finance.

Amanda Thomas from Rock Island, IL, who majored in political science.

Kevin Tracey from Moline, IL, who majored in political science.

Angel Traman from Moline, IL, who majored in business management.

Alison Tunnicliff from Rock Island, IL, who majored in political science.

Katherine Vander Vennet from Rock Island, IL, who majored in business marketing and communication studies.

Bret VanDeWoestyne from Silvis, IL, who majored in biology.

Lucie VanHecke from Moline, IL, who majored in political science.

Maria Vital from Moline, IL, who majored in Spanish.

Emily Weller from Rock Island, IL, who majored in art education.

Jacob Wells from Moline, IL, who majored in biology.

Emily Welser from Moline, IL, who majored in biology.

Brandon West from Moline, IL, who majored in history.

Eric Wigand from Moline, IL, who majored in business finance.

Nicholas Wilczynski from Moline, IL, who majored in pre-medicine and biology.

Joshua Woodham from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in biology.

Catherine Ziegler from Bettendorf, IA, who majored in English.

For more information, contact Kamy Beattie at kamybeattie@augustana.edu or 309-794-7721.

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 60 majors and areas of study. Augustana employs 226 faculty and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it always has done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.



Discussions to be Held Statewide on Issues Impacting Latinos

CHICAGO - June 18, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the start of "Diálogos" with Illinois' Latino community. Beginning today in Aurora, Latino residents throughout Illinois will have the opportunity to meet with members of the Illinois Latino Family Commission and state officials to discuss issues relevant to the Latino community.

"It is important that Latino residents in Illinois are able to express ideas about topics impacting the Latino community, and these 'Diálogos' will give them the opportunity to do that," said Governor Quinn. "This forum will help build a bridge between organizations and coalitions in the community and state agencies."

The first of the "Diálogos" will take place today in the Aurora area, which is home to over 65,500 Latinos who make up 39.9 percent of the city's population. Various state agency representatives, members of the Illinois Latino Family Commission, Compañeros en Salud and other community organizations will be present to discuss topics affecting Aurora Latinos, such as health, education, jobs, housing, youth and family services.

"I look forward to hearing first-hand the issues affecting the Latino communities throughout Illinois and how that opportunity for interaction will translate into more effective services and resources," said Henry Martinez, Illinois Latino Family Commission chairman.

The Illinois Latino Family Commission advises the Governor and the state Legislature on how best to improve and expand existing policies, services, programs and opportunities to better serve Latino residents across the state.

For more information on the Illinois Latino Family Commission, please contact Dr. Layla Suleiman-Gonzalez at (312) 793-3970 or laylasuleiman@illinois.gov.

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Senate Democrats Unable to Overcome Republican Filibuster

Washington, DC - June 18, 2010 - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement after the US Senate failed last night to pass the Biodiesel Tax Credit as part of the tax extenders package.  The bill fell when Senate Democrats were unable to overcome a Republican filibuster. All Senate Republicans and two Democrats voted against cloture.

"Six months after the House first passed the biodiesel tax credit extension, Republican obstructionism in the Senate is once again preventing hard-working Iowans from getting back to work," Braley said.  "It is completely inexcusable for Senate Republicans to play more political games while the hard-working employees of Iowa's biodiesel facilities remain out of work. I strongly encourage my colleagues in the Senate to put partisan politics aside, do their jobs and pass this tax credit as soon as possible."

Braley voted in December to extend the biodiesel tax credit. Although that legislation passed the House, the credit expired when the Senate failed to take action until March. The House voted again to renew the extension on May 28.

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