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COLORFUL KITTY: Local photographer Nikki Weirs is looking for a publisher for a book of fun pictures of the cats of Charleston. In the photo above is Ms. Kitty, one of two cats who live at the Ace Hardware store on East Bay Street. (Photograph provided by Nikki Weirs.)

Issue 6.02 | Monday, Nov. 11, 2013
Thank a veteran this week

FOCUS Photographing Charleston's cats
BRACK What would Dr. Seuss say?
GOOD NEWS Veterans' center, toast, more
REVIEW Send us a recommendation
HISTORY Middleton Place
SPOTLIGHT Maybank Industries
FEEDBACK Birthday wishes
BROADUS New exhibit
THE LIST Tips on paid online ads
QUOTE On leaders
CALENDAR This week ... and next

Guilty pleasure: Photographing the cats of Charleston
For Charleston Currents

NOV. 11, 2013 -- Over the last several years, I have developed what I now think is a slight guilty pleasure: I love taking pictures of cats in Charleston! Whether at beautiful national historic sites, a magnificent courtyard on Church Street or the banks of the Wadmalaw River, I love to take pictures of these "locals" and share their unique beauty with others.

Arthur, Middleton Place

This hobby has turned into something phenomenal and, might I add, life-changing. Not only have I learned a tremendous amount about photography and how to capture a shot of a moving target (cats are fast!), but I have also met the most amazing people who have unforgettable cats with inspirational stories, which has inspired a book about Charleston cats.

Working on this project has been amazing. I have photographed cats in several different locations, such as The Calhoun Mansion, popular downtown bed and breakfast and Middleton Place. I even found two adorable cats who call Ace Hardware on East Bay Street home.

The stories of the different cats have been both heart-warming and entertaining. For example, there's a cat named Milo who lives on Church Street and reports to "work" every morning a block away at a popular historic house greeting visitors as they prepare for their tours. On occasion, Milo can be found much further than a block away from home. His owner received a call one day from a hotel employee after discovering Milo on the third level in an empty hotel room resting on the bed! He is almost 24 years old and very popular among locals and visitors alike. Locals who know him refer to him as "Charleston's cat". I simply know him as my old friend Milo.

Another story comes to mind about a cat named Turtle. Turtle lives on Gibbes Street and is "so famous" (according to his owner) that he receives dozens of Christmas cards in the mail every year. As soon as I met him, I understood why. He is very charming and will receive a card from me this year!

Cleopatra, downtown Charleston

Another aspect of this ever-changing project I find interesting is what happens for the cats to arrive at their names. For example, Drifter, a beautiful, talkative cat who lives downtown, "just, drifted in one day" according to his owner. Ever since, he has since drifted into the hearts of all who have crossed his path. Then there is the lovely Cleo (short for Cleopatra), whose name came easily after her discovery in a rolled-up carpet brought in by the new owners at her home on New Street. When near Cleo, you know you are in the presence of true Charleston grace and hospitality.

I realized long ago when I first met my old friend Milo that the cats who call Charleston home are very much a part of its story. Just like Charlestonians, their story is full of adventure, hope for a grand tomorrow and' most importantly, love for Charleston, its families and for those who stop to spend time with them. Cats (and dogs), add to the beauty of an already gorgeous place that I love to call home. They bring so much joy and brighten the day of so many. They should be celebrated!

I am now nearing the time to decide the best route for getting these amazing stories and photographs published. This has been a tremendous journey, and just as I had to learn more about photography, I am in the process of learning more about the "do's and don'ts" of getting published. I have many, many more stories to share and beautiful photographs to go along with them. If anyone has suggestions, recommendations or perhaps tips picked up along the way, please let me know!

Nikki Weirs in a Charleston photographer and Realtor. She can be reached at: nikkiweirs@yahoo.com


Oh, the Things You'll Miss
Editor and publisher

NOV. 11, 2013 -- In a restaurant here over coffee or a boardroom there where Perrier chills on a credenza, they smugly jeer, gibe, point and gesticulate.

At the committee hearings, self-important bigwigs full of smarm for C-SPAN and Fox point, gesticulate, gibe and jeer.

Of course, they're talking about the Affordable Care Act and making the case that Obamacare is the worst thing since, say, Medicare or Social Security -- or maybe paper money and heavier-than-air flying machines, all of which they use or plan to tap.

And the Web site -- Lordy, the Web site that's not working like it should. It's got them so hot and bothered that the spittle at the corners of their mouths must be wiped thrice just moments after they twice hype a sanctimony that's bought and paid for by plutocrats.

You'd think they would realize it makes no sense to get so worked up about the thing they don't want to work anyway -- that by looking like cartoon characters with steam coming out of their ears, they're really showing how scared they are about this coming reality: the Web site soon will work and those now frustrated will start signing up in droves.

But day after day, America suffers from pure political theater fueled by billionaires' millions who want nothing more than nothing done, save a status quo that keeps them near their gazillions.

And where's South Carolina in all of this? At the back of the bus.

Because we have a governor and legislature hell-bent on not accepting billions in federal dollars to expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of our poorest are left behind, financially unable to access the health insurance because they live here. But over there in Kentucky and 24 other states, the poorest of the poor are finally getting some health insurance, which is expected to keep costs lower by trading expensive emergency care for preventive, primary care.

Again, the whole mess doesn't make sense, especially when the same state officials salivate over taking federal money to finish an Interstate, save an unemployment fund or pay for disaster relief.

Instead of looking to lead to improve the overall health of the state, which should increase competitiveness and lower business costs down the road, South Carolina sits on its hands, looking for loopholes through inane exercises like trying to nullify federal laws, strategies that didn't work 150 years ago. You'd think we would have learned our lesson in the Civil War.

Instead of working on ways to make sure hospitals are strong catalysts in rural communities, South Carolina opts for the path that adds more financial stress as health systems potentially will lose up to $200 billion over the next 10 years, according to one report. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to comprehend that losing that much money will cause service reductions and facility closures. And our people: They'll just get sicker and sicker.

What would Dr. Seuss wonder about South Carolina's reaction to Obamacare?

Perhaps, he'd pen a new book, "Oh, the Things You'll Miss!"

Now is your time.
You're off of your rocker
And short lots of dimes.

You don't use the brains in your head.
You ignore the tools in your shed.
You sing only one song
To steer us all wrong.

Oh, the things you'll miss with blinders on!
There are people to help. There is policy fun.
And magical things can happen if you listen and try
to do the right thing and not let people die.

You can move mountains
If you simply choose.
You can change our state
If you try something new.
Just saying no isn't always the best.
Leaders lead. (They aren't just pests.)

Oh, the things you'll miss.

Apologies to Dr. Seuss. Andy Brack is publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report. He can be reached at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.


"Hatpy," happy birthday letters for five years of publication

To the editor:

My Hatpiest Birthday wishes!

I don't know how I was lucky enough to be on the emailing list for your very first issue, but I have loved receiving them ever since. Each issue provides new perspectives. I appreciate your outreach for opinions, photographs and activities that might not have a platform elsewhere.

Hats off to Charleston Currents. Long may you travel over the internet waves!

-- Archie Burkel, Top Hat of The Hat Ladies, James Island, S.C.

Currents is local, happy, manageable and trustworthy

To the editor:

I like Charleston Currents for four reasons: It's local, it's happy, it's manageable, and I trust it. The last one is the most important to me. From what I have seen, many of our smaller media outlets here in the Lowcountry can be pretty weak when it comes to due diligence and journalistic integrity. I feel like you, on the other hand, have above-board ethics. You tolerate a variety of opinions and give people a fair chance to be heard.

-- Robin Welch, SCIWAY.net, James Island, S.C.

Makes me think

To the editor:

Congratulations, Andy, on five years of Charleston Currents. Never fails to teach me something new or make me think.

Kudos to you,

-- Brent Jonas, Charleston, S.C.

Keep Currents flowing

To the editor:

Happy Birthday to Charleston Currents! Thank you for the support you've given to help us tell the unique story at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, America's last large-scale romantic-style garden. Just as the Ashley River streams past our gardens, we hope that in the coming years the Current continues to flow.

-- Herb Frazier, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, S.C.

Currents is fabulous source for what others miss

To the editor:

Happy birthday, Charleston Currents! For the past five years you have been a
fabulous source for the discussion of often-overlooked community issues and
people, historic tidbits and a wide variety of programs. Keep it up - can't
wait to celebrate your 10th birthday and many more!

-- Rachel Chesser, The Charleston Museum, Charleston, S.C.

  • Send us your thoughts. If you have an opinion on something we've offered or on a subject related to the Lowcountry, please send your letters of 150 words or less to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification purposes. We look forward to hearing from you!

Maybank Industries

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Maybank Industries, LLC of Charleston, S.C. With broad experience in commercial and government operations, Maybank Industries applies deep-rooted commitment to teamwork, reliability and personal service to provide innovative business solutions for project development, information technology, logistics, vessel design, vessel construction, shipping agency services and marine terminal operations, both locally and internationally. Maybank Industries applies a powerful blend of professional expertise to research, analyze and develop tailored solutions with thorough plans of action, combining a heavy dose of common sense to solve today's needs that can adapt to changing or evolving requirements.


Crisis Ministries to showcase its new housing center for veterans

What could be more fitting on Veterans Day than showcasing a new space to provide services to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families?

That's what Crisis Ministries is doing today at the new space at 212 Huger Street during an open house of its new Veterans Housing Services center for vets in Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently awarded a $4 million, two-year grant to the organization to assist homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. This is Crisis Ministries' third year receiving funding through the VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.

Over the past two years, Crisis Ministries has assisted 750 veterans and their families. With this new award, Crisis Ministries anticipates serving an additional 500 veterans and their families throughout the Lowcountry with rental and utility assistance. Veterans also have access to case management, legal services, primary healthcare, education and workforce training.

Crisis Ministries partners with Family Services, Inc., which administers the rental and utility assistance, as well as provides financial education and counseling to veterans in the program.

Crisis Ministries provides food, shelter and hope to end homelessness and hunger one person at a time, one family at a time.

Raising a glass to number two

Charleston -- America's friendliest city -- will toast the county's second friendliest city -- Galena, Ill., -- at a special Nov. 22 event at High Wire Distillery, 652 King Street.

The recognitions came from a recent rating by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, which had this to say about Galena (population 3,429), which is in the northwest corner of Illinois: "A 'quaint' city that was once home to President Ulysses S. Grant, Galena, Illinois, is also well known for its 'welcoming' atmosphere. Those who make the trip to this former mining town find it 'relaxing, with plenty to do.' After all, this 'step back in time' has 'neat shopping and historical sites' to spare."

The City of Charleston and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will join the distillery for the creative "Toast the Town" event at 4 p.m. Invitees are asked to be at the distillery by 3:45 p.m. as the toast will occur promptly at the top of the hour.

High Wire Distilling, Charleston's first artisanal craft distillery, opened in September after several months of work. As of September, it offered a special vodka and white rum, but was looking to expand to make gin, whiskey and aged rum.

USC's First Lady to lead cooking class on Tuesday

University of South Carolina First Lady Patricia Moore-Pastides will offer a cooking class on Tuesday that is based on recipes from her new book, "Greek Revival from the Garden." The event will be at 6:30 p.m. at Charleston Cooks on East Bay Street.

According to a publicist, the new book inspires families to participate in the rewarding approach of a garden to table experience with food. Designed for the young and beginning gardener and cook (though equally appealing to those more experienced) "Greek Revival from the Garden" begins with a section titled "Why Food Choice Matters," advances to simple instructions on organic vegetable gardening, and ends with 50 recipes based on the Mediterranean way of eating. The recipes, guaranteed to appeal even to those who never knew they could relish vegetables, emphasizes the gardener's bounty and are organized according to specific vegetables and herbs. The book also showcases each recipe with authentic and tempting photographs.

Moore-Pastides, who has a master's degree in public health from Yale University encourages health and happiness for all ages. Her book especially targets young people because she is concerned with the challenge of "getting more people eating the right way at a younger age so that people won't face as many health problems later in life." She will sign copies of the book after the cooking demonstration.

Charleston Southern students to participate in hunger awareness

Charleston Southern University students are participating in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week during the third week of November to help the National Coalition for the Homeless to promote education, action and awareness about hunger and homelessness.

Julie Jongsma, Charleston Southern's VISTA service learning coordinator, has planned a week's worth of activities to highlight the needs of the homeless and hungry for CSU students.

"We want to open students' eyes to see the needs in the Charleston community, to make them aware, and then to engage them to choose to go out and serve in different ways."

Charleston Southern University's vision is integrating faith in learning, leading and serving. Service is a vital part of the Charleston Southern education. Last year, CSU students contributed 74,467 hours of service, earning a spot for the third time on The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Events planned at Charleston Southern November 18 to 23 are designed to increase awareness and provide students with an opportunity for service:

  • Homelessness documentary: 8 p.m., November 18, CSU Dining Hall. "It's a Great Day in South Carolina?" will be shown. Admission is three canned goods or $2, which will be donated to the Lowcountry Food Bank.

  • Service work: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Summerville Habitat ReStore. Students will be serving at the facility.

  • Operation Christmas Child Packing Party: 8 p.m., Nov. 21, CSU Dining Hall. Students are planning to pack 2,000 shoeboxes which go to needy children around the world. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse.Last fall, CSU students packed more than 1,000 boxes.

  • Sleep Out for the Homeless: 7 p.m. November 22, to 7 a.m., November 23. Phi Beta Sigma is organizing a cardboard mansion competition; students will build cardboard shelters where they will spend the night. No pillows or sleeping bags are allowed at the event. Students will also collect clothes to donate to The Beacon Shelter and canned goods and donations for Lowcountry Food Bank.

"Increasing the awareness and plight of America's homeless population while underscoring gratitude for the blessings of a shelter we often take for granted is the core of this initiative," said Dr. Rick Brewer, vice president for student affairs and athletics. "Students will be reminded that homelessness is not only a distant, big city problem but is very much part of the greater Charleston area.


Send in your recommendation

An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us a short paragraph review of why you liked a recent visit to a restaurant or a book that you recently read.


Middleton Place

Middleton Place is an Ashley River plantation located on Highway 61 (Ashley River Road) just outside Charleston. It was established on land originally granted in 1675 but probably not settled until it passed to John Williams in the early eighteenth century.

Middleton Place, photo by Michael Kaynard

Henry Middleton (1717-1784) acquired the property through his marriage to Williams's daughter Mary in 1741. Middleton added to the original acreage and began the elegant gardens that have made Middleton Place internationally famous. As the birthplace of Henry Middleton's son Arthur (1742-1787), a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Middleton Place was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

The gardens, thought to be the oldest surviving formal landscaped gardens in the United States, are renowned for their collection of Camellia japonicas, introduced about 1786 by the French Royal botanist André Michaux.

In 1990, the United Nations International Committee on Monuments and Sites named Middleton Place one of six United States gardens having international importance. Burned by Union soldiers in 1865, Middleton Place continued in the Middleton family until 1984, when ownership was vested in the nonprofit Middleton Place Foundation.

Middleton Place includes a museum housed in what was originally the south flank of the former three-building main residence; a plantation chapel built in 1850 above the eighteenth-century springhouse; a rice mill built in 1851; and an 1870s African American freedman's house in the reconstructed stable-yards complex. It is open for public visiting every day of the year except Christmas.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Barbara Doyle. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)


New exhibit

Cuban artwork from the Pinar del Rio section of the country will be on display starting November 16 at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. The collection includes work by Reynier Llanes and other Cuban artists, such as "The Termite's Hill (2008) by Juan C. Morales. According to Llanes' studio in Charleston, "The keen eye of Mr. Llanes has afforded him the ability to acquire a range of artistic visual expressions that reflect the perception of Cuban artists who are living in an atmosphere of political and cultural challenges under most difficult times." More: www.reynierllanes.com

Stump us. If you have a picture that you took that you think will stump people, send it along and we'll publish it as a mystery picture. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Make sure to include your name and a description of the photo (in case we're not good enough to guess.)

More photos: If you want to see a neat photo of the rural South, sign up to receive photo emails at: www.SouthernCrescent.org. And tell your friends too!


We encourage you to check out our sister publications:

Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the Statehouse. It's free.

SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. Sign up for a free trial subscription today.

TravelOrMove.com -- a fun, interactive site where you can input your travel or retirement preferences and find places you might not have considered.

Georgia Clips offers a similar daily news compilation for the scores of newspapers in Georgia's 159 counties.

GwinnettForum -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.


Charleston Currents offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally.

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Getting a bang for your click

It's not uncommon for people to put money into a pay-per-click Internet campaign and not see any positive returns so they think it's not worth it. Local Internet strategist Tina Arnoldi says to ask yourself these five questions before paying for online advertising and you'll find your investment really can pay off.

1. What is the purpose of the campaign? New businesses? Branding? Have goals in mind before you do anything else.

2. Is there a clear call-to-action in the ad? Make sure searchers know what to do as a result of reading the ad.

3. Is the landing page on your website an extension of the ad? When people click on your ad, they want to see the answer right away when they "land". You generally do not want to send them to your home page.

4. What are the appropriate keywords? Know what your business is really about and why people might want to use your product or service instead of a competitor.

5. What are NOT the appropriate keywords? If you find a lot of people on your site looking for a job and you rarely have openings, include "job", "employment", and "career" as possible negative keywords so they don't trigger your ad and you're not paying for relevant clicks.

Tina Arnoldi is a consultant with 360 Internet Strategy and manages AdWords campaigns for businesses and nonprofits.


On being a leader

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

-- John Quincy Adams



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Women's networking: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., November 11, Citadel Holliday Alumni House, Charleston. The Center for Women will host its 12th annual networking event for Lowcountry working women with experts to coach attendees in their area of focus. Tickets are $20 in advance for members; $40 for non-members. More.

Art of Pinar Del Rio: November 16 to December 29, City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston. The gallery will host an exhibition of works by more than a dozen contemporary Cuban artists curated by local artist Reynier Llanes. Opening reception: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., November 16. Llanes' lecture: 3 p.m., December 7. More info.

On Golden Pond: November 14 through December 1, Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road, James Island. The studio will put on the award-winning play over two weeks. Click here for ticket information and times.

Garden gathering: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 16, Cypress Gardens, Moncks Corner, S.C. You can learn about wildlife and pollinators at this daylong event by Clemson Extension in the cypress swamp. Register ($60) and learn more.

Lauder lecture: 6 p.m., November 20, Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain Street, Charleston. The Gibbes Museum of Art will host philanthropist and cosmetic executive Leonard A. Lauder as the inaugural speaker in a new lecture series. Lauder recently donated a notable collection of Cubist art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tickets are $35 for members; $45 for non-members. More.

(NEW) That Holiday Book Sale: 9 a.m., December 6 and 7, Mount Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant. Books, CDs and DVDs will be on sale during the annual event with prices starting at just $0.50, this is a bargain that can't be beat. Sponsored by the Charleston Friends of the Library. More.

Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.


12/23: Simpkins: Meeting Mandela
12/16: Creech: Safety first
12/09: Heddinger: Arbor Day
12/02: Troy: Photo contest for birds

11/25: USC-Clemson book rivalry
11/18: Boyd: Remembering JFK
11/11: Weirs: Photographing cats
11/4: Frazier: Azalea talk at Magnolia

10/28: Kaynard: Slow it down
10/21: Gambrell: Changing education
10/14: Smetana: Green teams
10/7: Gress: More to do on equality

9/30: McCarter: Safe water
9/23: Diebolt: One Book program
9/16: Mercer: Civil War photos
9/9: 30th MOJA Festival soon
9/3: Scharstein: Free autism forum

8/26: Ringler: Chasing after a cure
8/19: Sabine: Kids giving back
8/12: Frazier: Bat lab
8/5: Hathorne: Kudzu bugs

7/29: Sheahen: Poverty grows
7/22: Ferguson: Plate at the table
7/15: Kaynard: Mepkin Abbey
7/8: McCandless: At-risk youths
7/1: McGee: Monroe's new book

6/24: Williams: Avoiding foreclosure
6/17: Dewey: Preventing suicide
6/10: Hoover: Clean kitchens
6/3: Kulp: On breathalyzers


12/9: A Christmas to remember
11/18: Jefferson Davis visits
10/14: Shelling Fort Sumter
9/9: Assault on Fort Sumter
8/5: The Angel of Death
7/8: Assault on Battery Wagner
6/10: "A furious barbarian"
5/13: Recovery of Keokuk guns
4/8: "Turrets are coming!"
3/11: Preparing to attack
2/11: Blockade is broken
1/14: Stono Rebellion


12/23: Who's been naughty, nice
12/16: Education, workforce related
12/9: MacDonald's mysteries
12/2: S.C. has coolest flag

11/25: Enforce robocall law
11/18: Library referendum needed
11/11: Oh, the Things You'll Miss
11/4: Wild gov's race ahead

10/28: Lake City's surprises
10/21: Challenging exceptionalism
10/14: Holidays approaching
10/7: Tired of Congress

9/30: On Henry Martyn Robert
9/23: New American inspire
9/16: 10 years later: Letter
9/9: Welfare today
9/3: End legislative delegations

8/26: What would Dr. King say?
8/19: Wool over our eyes
8/12: Essays on ordinary summer
8/5: Ford needs to get out of the way

7/29: New poverty study
7/22: Engage in trade war
7/15: Give brand to government
7/8: S.C. keeps treading water
7/1: Brad Taylor's new thriller

6/24: Brookgreen Gardens
6/17: New fee bring us closer?
6/10: Great new library service
6/3: On Robert Ford


11/4: Your time: great gift for seniors
10/7: Let's celebrate aging
9/3: Medicaid and your future
8/5: More on estates, wills
7/1: Estate planning myths
6/3: Pensions for wartime vets
5/6: Revocable Living Trusts
3/4: Resources to help seniors cope
2/4: On life estates
1/7: Next step in health care


10/28: Impact of rising bond market
9/30: What happens when rates rise


10/14: Four ways to preserve history
9/16: It's harvest time
8/19: Kids giving back

7/15: Childrens' museums
6/17: Interactive adventures
5/20: Birds, bees, butterflies
4/15: Signs of spring abound
3/18: Great local parks
2/18: What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure



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