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    Unconditional love is a wonderful thing.

    If you're interested in helping homeless animals but aren't able to adopt one, there are a number of other ways you can be of assistance.

    Realistically, not everyone can adopt. People who live in apartments or developments that have no-pets policies fall into that category, as do people with allergies or disabilities that will not allow them to care for pets of their own. Here are some suggestions for ways people who want to help can participate in caring for homeless animals.

    * Help out at a local shelter. It's not glamorous work by any means, but it's vital and will be very much appreciated. You can do anything from help walk dogs to bottle feed kittens, help clean kennels or cat's cages or even help with bathing and grooming. Contact your local shelter to find out their policies regarding volunteers.

    * If you're handy, you can lend a hand in many ways. Shelters usually need repairs of many kinds, so fixer-uppers can help out like that. If you sew, quilt or crochet, you can make blankets for your local shelter.

    * Help out at an adoption event. Many shelters and rescue groups participate in local events by hosting a table with pets available for adoption. They also hold these program at malls, pet supply stores and banks, and can always use a helping hand.

    * For galleries like this one and for online adoptions sites, often a shelter or rescue group doesn't have the time or equipment to shoot good photos of their adoptable pets, Something as simple as making yourself available to shoot and provide digital files of pet photos can be a big help.

    * Donate. It doesn't have to be money; shelters need cleaning supplies, pet food, toys for the animals and often even things we don't think twice about getting rid of like old towels and newspapers. Every little bit helps.

    If you don't know where your local animal shelter or rescue group is, a quick online search will reveal a number of results. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get involved but it provides immeasurable assistance.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

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    The latest Top 20 is here.

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  • 10/09/17--08:26: Nevitt earns Eagle Award
  • Troop 41 Scout earns the Scouts' highest honor.

    mx1008scout.jpgLiam Nevitt 

    MIDDLESEX -- When Boy Scout Liam Nevitt, a member of Troop 41 in Bound Brook, heard that the police cars in Bound Brook were being sprayed with rocks each time the landscapers cut the grassy areas in the police station parking lot, it got him thinking, and he decided to tackle the problem for his Eagle Scout project.

    To earn the Eagle Award -- the Boy Scouts' highest honor -- a Scout must be active with a troop, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, assume a position of leadership within a troop and complete a service project that benefits the community.

    For his project, Nevitt replaced the grassy areas at the Bound Brook police station parking lot with stone so the squad cars would no longer be damaged. Nevitt and his volunteers dug up and removed the grass, laid landscaping fabric and spread stones over the space.

    Nevitt is a June graduate of Middlesex High School and is a freshman at the Honors College of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. He was honored Oct. 1 at an Eagle Court of Honor held at Parker Engine & Hose Co. 4.

    To submit Scout news send an email to

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    New locations are planned in Egg Harbor Township and Old Bridge

    Aldi plans to hire 250 employees and open four stores in New Jersey by next year as the supermarket chain continues its expansion in the Garden State.

    In addition to previously announced locations in Hamilton, Mercer County and Flemington, the German company said it's planning stores in Egg Harbor Township and Old Bridge.

    The Hamilton (1250 Route 33) and Flemington (325 Route 202) stores will open in November. The other two are slated to welcome their first customers next year.

    10 biggest supermarket chains in N.J.

    A spokeswoman didn't respond to a phone call and email from NJ Advance Media asking where the Egg Harbor Township and Old Bridge stores will be located or exactly when they'll open.

    Meanwhile, Aldi is holding a hiring event Wednesday for its current stores as well as the four new stores. The event will be held at each of its 42 stores from 8 a.m. 6 p.m.

    Store associates are being hired for $12 to $12.40 per hour, depending on location. Shift managers can make $16.25 to $16.65 an hour.

    The salary for management trainees is $52,000 to $56,000 a year. If trainees become store managers, they will earn between $75,000 and $95,000 annually.

    Employees who average more than 25 hours per week are eligible for health benefits. All workers can participate in the company's 401K program.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.


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    A look at the top games for the upcoming week in girls soccer

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    Services in Perth Amboy will be Wednesday morning

    PERTH AMBOY -- The funeral for a 9-year-old boy who died after falling from a second-floor balcony last week will be held Wednesday morning in Perth Amboy.

    24462298_1507306601.2051.jpgDariel Sosa 

    Services at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church are scheduled for 10 a.m. with burial to follow at Alpine Cemetery in the city, said. Gustav J. Novak Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. 

    Dariel Sosa, 9, was killed after the second-floor railing gave way around 5 p.m. His 13-year-old cousin Jason Huerta was hospitalized. 

    Officials said there were no code violations at the multi-family house on Brighton Avenue. page established to cover Sosa's funeral expenses has raised $8,885 of its $20,000 goal as of Tuesday morning. His family wrote that Dariel loved baseball and was a Mets fan.

    "Dariel had a smile and personality that would put the saddest person in a good mood," the GoFundMe page said.  

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.


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    Worried about risks associated with repetitive blows to the head? Click here to read everything you need to know about concussions.

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    The vehicle ended up in the water near the Edison Boat Basin and River Walk

    EDISON -- A car plunged mysteriously into the Raritan River on Tuesday morning and investigators are still attempting to determine how it got there, authorities said. 

    Officers found the damaged, blue 2006 Chevrolet Cavalier submerged and resting against a dock at the Edison Boat Basin and River Walk just before 6:30 a.m., Edison police said in a statement.

    The car had been left in drive and the keys were in the ignition. Both the front and rear windshields were found purposely broken, according to police. The car's rear end was also badly damaged. 

    Police found the car's broken glass near a telephone pole on nearby Meadow Road. They are attempting to find the owner. 

    The New Brunswick Fire Department sent a boat and a rescue crew but found no one in the car, Deputy Chief Dean Wournell said. Fire officials are "100 percent" confident that no one ended up in the river.

    "When you get a call you have to assume someone is in the car. So our crew goes out there and there are no occupants and no victims," the deputy chief said. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



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    The stars of Week 5.

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    See which players stood out above the rest in boys soccer this week.

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    NJ Advance Media investigated all 24 of the incidents involving Officer Reiman's alleged use of force. Here's what we found.

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    Joseph Reiman, the Carteret police officer charged with assaulting a teenager, is responsible for more than one-fifth of all incidents involving force Watch video

    CARTERET - The borough police officer charged with assaulting a teenager is responsible for more than one-fifth of all arrests involving force recorded by the department over a 23-month period, an NJ Advance Media analysis has found. 

    From the time Joseph Reiman was hired in July 2015, the 50-person department logged 115 incidents in which an officer used force, such as a punch, baton or weapon against a suspect, according to documents obtained under the state Open Public Records Act.

    -50cc1bf64432dc27.JPGJoseph Reiman appears in court on Aug. 24, 2017. 

    Reiman, 31, the brother of longtime Mayor Daniel Reiman, accounted for 24 of the incidents, more than twice as many as any other officer. Officer John Kelly had 11 and Officer Antonio Dominguez had nine, records show.

    Those arrested by Reiman and residents who have witnessed altercations say he's quick to resort to violence. What's more, during interviews with NJ Advance Media, they said their complaints to local officials about his actions have been ignored.

    In addition, while the Carteret police force is equipped with body cameras, videos that could tell the full story in some of Reiman's encounters do not exist or have been withheld, and at least one was corrupted, according to NJ Advance Media's investigation. 

    What we found in our investigation into Carteret officer's use of force history

    New Jersey Attorney General directives require all police videos associated with an arrest where force is used to be maintained for at least two years, either for a criminal investigation or in the event the person sues the officer or agency.

    Councilwoman Susan Naples, who is Carteret's civilian police commissioner, said the department follows the state's guidelines on evidence video storage and trains twice annually on use of force. 

    She said, in her experience, officers who are "proactive in making arrests and crime-fighting activity" are more likely to face complaints over their arrests, but refused to say how many complaints have been lodged against Reiman, citing internal affairs guidelines. 

    Daniel Reiman, who was elected in 2002 and is now among the state's highest-paid mayors, said he has never been involved with matters involving his brother. A third Reiman brother, Charles, 37, is also a member of the police department. 

    "It is excessive," Dr. Maria Haberfield, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said of Reiman's history of force during arrests. "Especially because he's a new police officer, there's something there that needed to be addressed."


    The borough of Carteret -- exit 12 on the NJ Turnpike -- has grown to nearly 24,000 residents across its mix of urban and suburban neighborhoods over the past 15 years. The police department handles an average of about 500 crime reports each year.

    Prior to joining the force, Joseph Reiman served four tours of duty as a Marine, twice in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan, according to his discharge records obtained through the federal Freedom of Information Act. Not long after he became a cop, he developed a reputation in town for using excessive force, according to dozens of interviews with residents conducted over the past three months. 

    When NJ Advance Media sought comments from residents and public officials familiar with the allegations against Reiman, most declined to speak, fearing retribution from local police and the mayor, whose political power extends throughout the county as a prominent member of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization.

    Even those who agreed to be quoted by name said they were still scared of retribution.

    "I fear what they can do to me," said Aramis Rosario, 28, who says Officer Reiman shoved him into a glass door at local bodega during an arrest in May of last year. 

    The month before Rosario was arrested he filed a complaint with the department, saying he felt his "life was in danger" from the cop and that Reiman and another officer, John Kelly, had harassed him for years. 

    Reiman made headlines in June when NJ Advance Media reported a teen's account of his violent arrest and a neighbor who said he saw the cop punching the 16-year-old. 

    The allegations were followed by criminal charges after an internal affairs investigation led by the prosecutor's office said the officer's dash-cam videos corroborated the teen's account. On Sept. 28, Reiman was indicted by a grand jury on the charges. The indictment was announced 120 days after the incident.

    The 16-year-old, who's not being named because he's a minor, had led police on a brief chase while he was driving his mother's car without a license. He received a series of traffic tickets in the weeks after the incident.

    Reiman since has been suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the charges.  

    His attorney, Charlies Sciarra, said Reiman was an "aggressive police officer" who led the department in arrests with indictable offenses last year and called the charges "frivolous."

    "It's become the norm for people who are arrested to complain that they were mistreated," Sciarra said.

    No other charges have been brought against Reiman in connection to other arrests, although it's not known if the department addressed the complaints through any internal disciplinary actions. 


    A review of the department's records show that Reiman used compliance holds or his hands or fists in 24 separate arrests, more than twice the amount of the next officer's force records over the same period. 

    In 10 of those arrests, Reiman used his pepper spray on suspects, according to records. 

    Only two other officers, Antonio Dominguez and John Kelly, used their pepper spray more than once since July 2015. In total, the police department has recorded 115 instances of force being used during an arrest since Reiman joined the force, 18 of which involved pepper spray, according to police records. 

    "This is unusual for a small police department unless he has some re-occurring arrests with people that are violent," said Haberfield, explaining that most automated early-warning systems red flag an officer after three to five incidents per year. 

    "It's possible in a small town but would show with other officers," she said. "It's unlikely a coincidence because of his high number of use of force."

    When asked if Reiman's arrest history showed an officer who was appropriately trained and should be on the force, Naples said, "The question is not simply the number of times an officer has to use any force at all in response to what that officer is confronting on the street. It is whether that force is appropriate in response to the situation being confronted."

    NJ Advance Media investigated all 24 of the incidents involving Officer Reiman's use of force. The following are some of the most notable encounters. 


    The Perth Amboy resident says Reiman was harassing him outside a bodega on May 9, 2016, over the tint and license plate on his parked car. Reiman, according to Rosario, eventually forcefully arrested him when he refused to hand over his driver's license. 

    "I wasn't even driving," said Rosario, who says Reiman pushed him into a Plexiglass door, cracking it, and wrestled him to the ground. 

    Rosario's account of the arrest was corroborated by Richard Diaz, the owner of the La Primera bodega. Diaz says he saw Reiman shove Rosario into the door and he challenged the police report that states Rosario started to kick the door and "slam his head into the door" during the arrest. 

    "It's never going to change," Diaz told NJ Advance Media.

    Rosario was charged with obstructing and resisting arrest, and the use-of-force form lists the incident as a traffic stop. 

    Two other officers assisted in the arrest, one of whom arrived as the struggle started with a body camera that could have captured the incident, according to a review Reiman's body camera video.

    However, the only video that exists of the encounter is the shaky recording from Reiman's body cam, which does not clearly show the two, according to Carteret Police Capt. Michael Dammann, the department's records custodian.


    Coleman was arrested with Matthew Collier, who faced drug charges, during a traffic stop in October last year, records show.

    Sixteen body camera and dashboard videos were reviewed by NJ Advance Media, which show most of the incident, including the transportation to jail. However, the dash-cam video that would have captured Coleman's arrest was corrupt and stops playing when Collier is being cuffed.

    Reiman can be seen on scene in plain clothes, but what happens to Coleman is unclear.

    An officer can be heard in one of body-camera videos screaming, "Get on the ground! Stop resisting!" as Coleman is cuffed out of frame.  

    "I'm not resisting," Coleman responds. 

    He can later be heard crying and asks, "What the [expletive] did I do?"

    The use-of-force form, which says Reiman used his fists or hands and a baton to hit Coleman, provides no narrative for the arrest, with only "See IR for further details," a reference to an Investigation Report, which is not a public document. 

    The body-camera video shows a small pool of blood on the pavement after Coleman was placed in the cruiser.

    The 27-year-old was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction, according to police and court documents. 

    Internal affairs complaints were filed over the incident, although their outcome is not known.  Neither Coleman nor any of the three others involved in the traffic stop could be reached for comment. 


    The teenager was put in a headlock by Reiman, allegedly without cause, when police were called to a Roosevelt Avenue home over a parking dispute on Aug. 6, 2016, records show.

    The teen's parents, Larry Burt and Marin Petro, say Reiman was unprofessional and out of control. The use-of-force report says, "the juvenile forced himself in between the juvenile's father and this officer" and "bumped me."

    Petro, who was 17 at the time of the incident, told NJ Advance Media he never touched Reiman. He said his father had been yelling for the car to be moved and he went looking for the car keys in their SUV.  

    A video of the exchange, obtained by NJ Advance Media, doesn't capture the encounter but shows the officer letting Petro go moments later.  

    Dammann allegedly refused to turn over Reiman's body camera of the incident, according to Burt. The use-of-force form says Petro was charged with assault, but Burt says nothing came of the charge.  

    Dammann told NJ Advance Media that Burt's account is not the full narrative, but could not comment further because Petro was a minor at that time.  

    "With that being said, this incident has been thoroughly reviewed by the Carteret Police Department in accordance with the Attorney Generals Guidelines," he said in an emailed response.


    According to the use-of-force records, Reiman put Felder, 24, in a headlock while he was being processed at the police station. 

    "Due to Darious' threatening comments and aggressive nature his actions were interpreted as hostile and he was taken to the bench with a compliance hold," Reiman wrote in the report from Aug. 4, 2015. Felder was charged with obstruction.  

    It was unclear if Felder was handcuffed during the incident. 

    Requests for further details on the Felder's processing were not answered.  


    Merritt's case occurred during Reiman's first four months on the force, records show. The 35-year-old says he was beaten and pepper-sprayed for nearly a minute during his arrest after he yelled at officers when police exited his sister's house with at least one gun drawn while her children slept.

    Police were searching the neighborhood in north Carteret for a known gang member when they entered Merritt's sister's home. He arrived to see his sister and mom screaming at the officers and he says he yelled at them, which police said added to a hostile situation. The alleged gang member was not in the house and Merritt says the family has no ties to the suspect. 

    Merritt has been fighting the charges of obstruction and resisting for nearly two years in municipal court, along with his family. 

    The police department has refused to hand over dashboard videos from the arrest, saying they were destroyed or should not be part of discovery, according to the audio of their court proceedings. Only three videos from another police car have been provided, which do not capture any of the encounter between Reiman and Merritt, according to a review of the recordings obtained by NJ Advance Media. 

    Merritt's mother, Carol Foster, filed an excessive force complaint over the incident immediately following the encounter, but nothing came of the report, she told NJ Advance Media. Merritt says that while at the station after his arrest, Reiman tried to convince him to get his mother to drop the complaint. 

    "My family gets charged for saying to stop beating me," said Merritt, whose mother, sister, Nakia Merritt, and friend, Zoraida Roque, were all charged also with obstruction in the incident. 

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find on Facebook.

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    Nicholas Poliseno, 39, of Spotswood, facing a third-degree count of theft, turned himself into authorities Tuesday morning

    SPOTSWOOD -- A former mayor allegedly used money from a borough scholarship fund to gamble in Atlantic City, authorities said. 

    Nicholas Poliseno, 39, of Spotswood, facing a third-degree count of theft, turned himself into authorities Tuesday morning, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a release. 

    Authorities allege, in June 2016, Poliseno withdrew money from a Hinal Patel Scholarship Fund, which was set up to honor a Spotswood EMT, and used it to gamble.

    The scholarship is awarded annually to borough high school students in the memory of Patel, a 22-year-old EMT who died in 2015 when a car hit the ambulance she was riding in, the release said. 

    Poliseno was released with a court date scheduled for Nov. 9, according to the release. 

    Anyone with information about the ongoing investigation may call 732- 745-3927. 

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find on Facebook.

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    The 17-year-old came in contact with the high-voltage while climbing the steel trestle

    METUCHEN -- A 17-year-old suffered an electric shock and fell 30 feet after he touched high voltage lines while climbing a train trestle near St. Joseph High School on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

    The Edison resident climbed the steel trestle for the Conrail tracks, came into contact with the high voltage lines and fell at around 5:30 p.m., Metuchen police said in a statement. 

    He was brought to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. The severity of his injuries were not immediately available.

    The teen is not a student at St. Joseph, a school spokeswoman said. 

    A hospital spokesman said he could not provide a report on the teen's condition. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



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    NJ Advance Media was given a sneak preview of the new grocery spot Tuesday.

    METUCHEN -- Whole Foods will open its 18th location in the state Wednesday. 

    The 45,000-square-foot store will welcome its first batch of customers in Metuchen at 8 a.m. for a grand opening celebration, featuring giveaways, special sales, and product demonstrations. 

    NJ Advance Media was given a sneak preview of the new grocery spot Tuesday.

    Whole Foods price cuts have cost Walmart, Trader Joe's big time

    The store, located at 645 Middlesex Ave., will also feature a Tex-Mex cantina, dubbed "Comida Fresca," that serves appetizers, drink and entrees and has a full bar and outdoor seating. 

    Five percent of the net sales from opening day will be donated to upgrade the Old Franklin Schoolhouse's energy efficiency and sustainability. The location will employ about 160 workers. 

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find on Facebook.

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    NJ Advance Media is joining ProPublica and dozens of other media partners on the Documenting Hate project in an effort to fill the gaps in bias-crime reporting.

    You cannot begin to fully remedy a problem until you know its breadth.  

    The 2016 election that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency poured gasoline on the racial, cultural and religious tensions that have simmered in America for decades. While a healthy democracy has no shortage of disputes, the last two years have shown that illegal bias and hate still rear its head in New Jersey and the nation at large.  

    But as NJ Advance Media has reported, we don't know the extent of the problem.

    Today, NJ Advance Media is joining ProPublica and dozens of other media partners on the Documenting Hate project, a bid to fill in the gaps in bias-crime reporting that exist across the nation.  

    The need is simple: While bias-crime laws have been on the books across the nation for years, there is often little to compel law enforcement to report such incidents.

    It leads to tremendous gaps.  In New Jersey, only about a quarter of local law enforcement agencies reported hate-crime statistics to the state in 2015. Elsewhere, states like Mississippi reported no bias crimes whatsoever.   

    It's not to say New Jersey isn't making progress -- there's just have no way of knowing if it is or isn't.

    Starting today, we're asking for your help.  We're asking residents who experience acts of hate, bias or discrimination to use an online form (see below) to report their experiences. The information will be shared with partners in the Documenting Hate project, but will remain anonymous unless you provide permission.

    None of the partners in the project are law enforcement agencies, so it's important to note that filling out our form does not mean a report will be made to law enforcement on your behalf.  

    To fill out a report, use the form below or visit the Documenting Hate project page to learn more. 

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    The charges stemmed from a struggle between the Middlesex County man and the officers in 2014

    FREEHOLD -- A Woodbridge man was found not guilty of attempting to kill an Asbury Park police officer and attempting to disarm another during a struggle that led to authorities to shoot the man, according to a report.

    Oswaldo Torres Quiroz, 24, was convicted by a jury on lesser charges, including aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer, resisting arrest and unlawful possession of a knife, according to a report by

    The charge of aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer carries a maximum prison term of 18 months, and the resisting arrest charge carries a maximum of five years in prison. He had faced up to 30 years in prison on the more serious charges.

    Torres Quiroz, who has been in jail for more than three years, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8 before Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman, the report said.

    Police confronted Torres Quiroz in Freehold on Sept. 29, 2014 after being called by his ex-girlfriend, authorities said after his arrest.

    No bail for man accused of having flame-thrower, guns, bomb-making chemicals

    Torres Quiroz was brandishing an eight- to 10-inch steak knife and officers attempted to disarm him, authorities said. He stabbed one of the officers in the torso, but the officer was protected by a bulletproof vest, authorities said. The officer was cut on his wrist and finger during the struggle, authorities said.

    Torres Quiroz was shot in the abdomen, authorities said.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find on Facebook.


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    How many of the 43 remaining unbeaten teams in New Jersey will go undefeated?

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    Which teams are on top of the standings this season?

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    Check out the best the state has to offer in Week 6.

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