Monday, July 27, 2015

The Peanuts Movie Comes to the Charles Schulz Museum

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Peanuts Movie cast members Hadley Belle Miller (Lucy) and Noah Schnapp (Charlie Brown) recreate the iconic football kick in front of a mural at the Charles M Schulz Museum.
  • Peanuts Movie cast members Hadley Belle Miller (Lucy) and Noah Schnapp (Charlie Brown) recreate the iconic football kick in front of a mural at the Charles M Schulz Museum.

One of the most highly anticipated family films coming out this holiday season is The Peanuts Movie, a new animated adventure starring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the whole gang made famous by comic strip creator Charles M Schulz. The film's connection to North Bay is a deep one. Sparky (Schulz's lifelong nickname) spent many years of his life writing and drawing the classic Peanuts strip in Santa Rosa and his son and grandson Craig and Bryan Schulz wrote the film.

This past Friday, the Charles M Schulz Museum and Research Center invited cast and crew of the upcoming film, as well as press from around the country to tour the facility and get a behind-the-scenes look at the museum's extensive collection. Director Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who! / Ice Age: Continental Drift) joined Craig Schulz and four young members of the voice cast; Noah Schnapp (Charlie Brown), Francesca Capaldi (Little Red-Haired Girl), Hadley Belle Miller (Lucy van Pelt) and Mar Mar (Franklin Armstrong) for the tour and a round table discussion of the upcoming film.

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Food and Wine Odyssey: Greece

Posted By and on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 9:45 AM

This is the third of a series of sponsored posts documenting Bohemian and Pacific Sun publisher Rosemary Olson's wine and food cruise around Italy and Croatia with Duckhorn Vineyards and Food & Wine Trails.

Into the blue at Melissani cave.
  • Into the blue at Melissani cave.

Argostoli, Cephalonia, Greece

Off to see the mysterious Melissani and Drogarati caves. Drogarati cave is about 100 million years old and was discovered 300 years ago when an earthquake opened the entrance. The acoustics are perfect for concert events, particularly opera. In Melissani cave you travel by boat. The stalactites are estimated to be 20,000 years old. The chilly water is a rich blue, a mix of saltwater from the Ionian Sea and freshwater that flows from Argostoli. They say a dragon lives in the Drogarati cave, thankfully, I only saw cave pigeons.

Upon returning a quick nap was in order to prepare for a special dinner at Jacques Restaurant with Duckhorn staff and selected wines. Winery President Alex Ryan shared a fascinating story about the winery's history. It's quite clear how they are so successful with their talented team and incredible wines.

Our favorite dishes of the dinner included a hearty serving of duck foie gras with candied black cherries, jumbo bay scallop and watercress carpaccio, and green apple tartare with caramelized hazelnut. I also loved the escargot purée pastry and prime rib with pepper and herbes de Provence.

Then we danced the night away with their house DJ sipping Shramsburg bubbles and martinis as the ship swayed in high winds. Upon leaving the bar we slipped outside and could barely keep our footing, so for fun we grabbed a ship-mate scurrying to tie down the deck to snap our picture. When we looked at the photo our faces were a bit contorted from the strong wind much like sticking your head out of an airplane.

Ciao for now!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Food and Wine Odyssey: Sicily

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 10:26 AM

This is the second of a series of sponsored posts documenting Bohemian and Pacific Sun publisher Rosemary Olson's wine and food cruise around Italy and Croatia with Duckhorn Vineyards and Food & Wine Trails.

Mt. Etna towers above Palermo, Sicily.
  • Mt. Etna towers above Palermo, Sicily.


Marina, Oceania's tour guide for us today, is a local so she knows the best foods to eat. We await a feast for lunch at a famous Mt. Etna winery, but she says we must taste the local Sicilian cannoli, granita and arancini.

Giardini Naxos is the first Greek colony in Sicily. The Greeks founded many cities of Sicily. Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean. The capital is Palermo. Archeologists have found pre-historic items such as stone tools, caves and drawings. I was in search of some of these artifacts, I found them on a hill in a tiny house, now a gallery, atop of the old Greek Roman Theatre (built in the 3,000 B.C.). I ventured to this matchbox-size gallery in a stone house. There were several ancient carved blocks of accounting and calendar stones and carved heads, one the head of Niobid of Taormina. There was also an exhibit of artist Casimiro Piccolo. His work is a mixture of fantasy, wizardry, gnomes and a mad-hatter style.

Nearby is an ancient coliseum. It's breathtaking to imagine the gladiator fights that took place. Today, something much tamer will occur. Toto is performing.

Later, we walked through the beautiful old town to the clock in center square. Every other door seems to be a specialty pastry shop, I try a small goat cheese cannoli. I walked out the door finishing my second bite. It was the best pastry I've ever eaten. I turned around and went back in for the pistachio one. The owners smiled at me. They knew! I slipped into a small shop and tried the arancini di riso (fried rice balls). I walked out mesmerized and a man came running behind me. "Madame! Madame your phone!"

I've been on tours much of my time now and I wanted to buy something local, but running out of time for the bus to the winery. A beautiful, fashionable woman approached me and asked if I wanted to try something special, Acqua di Taormina, a citrusy, fresh eau de toilette. I bought the largest bottle.

Scenes of The Godfather were shot here. In the 1970s and 1980s the mafia was active, but life is peaceful now as many mafioso are now in prison.

Next we travelled to Barone di Villagrande for a wine tasting led by well known Italian sommelier Mariella Ferrara. She works exclusively with Food & Wine Trails. One white caught my attention as it had a smoky nose. I was curious if the volcanic ash and soil produced this flavor. Mariella was astonished I picked this up.

Almond flan.
  • Almond flan.

Lunch served on a sprawling terrace consisted of local produce and cheeses, handmade lasagna, eggplant marinara, roasted potatoes, baby Caesar salad, breads and a delicious almond-based flan topped with marmalade and almonds.

Gathering up their staff for a photo, I then shared my red Chanel lipstick for a hearty laugh!

Thanks to the great staff.
  • Thanks to the great staff.

The evening was lively enjoying abundant stories with Duckhorn wines.

Ciao for now.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Food and Wine Odyssey: Anchors Away

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 3:02 PM

  • Our ship, the MS Riviera.

This is first of a series of sponsored posts documenting Bohemian and Pacific Sun publisher Rosemary Olson's wine and food cruise around Italy and Croatia with Duckhorn Vineyards and Food & Wine Trails.

Our ship, Oceania Cruise's Riviera sets sail from Rome. I'm traveling solo and I walked into the first evening at a private Duckhorn Vineyards reception from not knowing anyone on the ship to meeting 100 eager travel companions. We range in age from 30 on up and come from across the U.S. Walking into the room and being able to make a connection with complete strangers is fascinating. We all quickly see the thread of our love for good wine and food. Alex Ryan, Duckhorn's president and CEO, says his wines "celebrate life and new stories." So off we go.

Sorrento/Capri, Italy

Our first day is all about Roman history and we tour the vineyards of Vesuvius guided by Piera owner of Vin Viaggiana. She is a history buff who has been giving tours since 2001. She is full of humor and spunk. She is also a celebrated sommelier who works exclusively with Food & Wine Trails.

I sit in the front of the bus next to Piera to get much more insight and stories. She's married to a Scot. She says she's shocked how much beer Scots drink vs the volumes of wine Italians drink. Sitting in the first seat behind the driver, I see the hairpin turns we are making, nearly gasping at each turn while nearly skimming the scooter riders with no helmets.

In the Campania region, we explored ancient Stabiae, one of only seven Roman villas buried by volcanic ash by Mount Vesuvius. The ruins were excavated twice. The first time many of the mosaics, frescoes and statues were looted. It's astonishing how much skill and time that went into the interior murals and frescoes. Inside we saw an underground thermal bath. It's believed that slaves went through tunnels 24 hours a day to keep fires hot to warm the baths. I will appreciate my hot tub even more!


Venturing through the towns of Pompeii up to a winery for a tour and lunch, we saw the local produce of lemons (home of the famous limoncello which I now know how to make), oranges, olives and walnuts in abundance. Tomatoes originated from Christopher Columbus which surprised me and the olive trees from Greeks which makes sense. Farmers once came down the mountains in cloaks carrying cheese, earning it the name ‘monks cheese.’ Nearby Grananio is known for its dried pasta. It was once dried in the streets by young boys hand fanning it. Speaking of fanning, the temperature is abnormally hot, we felt like we were literally baking under the sun needing fanning ourselves!

Finally, we arrived at the Sorrentino Family Vineyard. Zio Antonio greets us at the driveway with an eager smile. He was the classic Italian we were waiting for, hugging and kissing, flirting with the woman, engaging in fun with the men. He was the master wine pourer, a few glasses for us, the rest for him as he'd tilt his head back and down the final pours! Every time he did this, about 20, he became more lively. Wine at the five-generation old vineyard is 100 percent organic. Grapes are grown in volcanic soil which reportedly gives the grapes a higher sugar content which is my preference along with higher alcohol levels in more full-bodied reds. California's reds like Cab and Zin are higher in alcohol than Italy's heartier reds.

Back in the days of Roman Empire, we learned, wine was with honey, saltwater or sap. Locals say this added to their feisty gatherings and uproars...was this a preservative?

Lunch started with Spumante and then various wines and a four-course meal of cheese, roasted peppers, fried zucchini balls, pasta, roasted eggplant and zucchini, sausage, antipasti, fruits and cakes, and a very entertaining Papa Antonio.

Ciao until next time.

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Gallo Buys Asti Winery

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 10:21 AM


E & J Gallo Winery (Gallo), the world's largest family-owned winery, already claims ownership of 12 wineries throughout the wine country regions of California. Yesterday, they announced that they were expanding in the northern Alexander Valley region of Sonoma County with the purchase the historic Asti Winery.

Asti Winery dates back to 1881, founded by Italian immigrant Andrea Sbarboro. The current owner, Treasury Wine Estates, is actually based in Australia, and is reportedly struggling in the American wine market. Gallo, on the other hand, is robustly moving into the area, recently buying J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg as well.

The Asti Winery property, aside from being one of the oldest, is also one of Sonoma County's largest wineries, exceeding more than 500 acres and capable of crushing 35,000 tons of grapes. Gallo's purchase also includes the Souverain brand, made at Asti. The deal is expected to close at the end of the month, terms were not released.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Powerful New Documentary to Open in Sebastopol

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary
  • Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary

In the 1960s, two Harvard professors would meet and begin an exchange of life-altering ideas, and perception-altering drugs, in a journey that bent the edges of reality and human consciousness. They were Timothy Leary, the counterculture icon who publicly advocated for LSD, and Richard Alpert, the spiritual teacher later known as Ram Dass.

The new documentary film "Dying to Know" chronicles the long and heartfelt friendship between these two revolutionary thinkers that helped shape a generation. Director and producer Gay Dillingham has been fascinated by the dynamic between Leary and Ram Dass ever since she was allowed to capture on film their last encounter in 1995, after Leary publicly announced he was dying from prostate cancer. Finally completing the film last year, she screens "Dying to Know" in person on Friday, July 15, at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol.

The film acts as a portal into the close-knit relationship between Leary and Ram Dass. In an interview, Dillingham shares their story and its universal themes of life, death, and everything in between.

"I was born in 1965, so I didn't live through the Harvard years," says Dillingham. " But I certainly rode the wave of that influence." In the '60s, Leary's experiments with psychoactive drugs like LSD signaled what the director calls a "breaking open of society" that was propelled further by Leary's friendship with the brilliant, grounded Alpert. "They really formed a team," says Dillingham. "The power of their friendship and collegial partnership was truly what started the way this particular modern era uses medicine to expand consciousness."

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2015 Bohemian Best Of Party!

A fun pictures

Posted on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 11:55 AM

We had a blast at our Best Of party at Santa Rosa's Flamingo Resort & Spa. Congratulations to all our winners. You make he North Bay the great place that it is. See you next year.

2015 Bohemian Best Of Party
2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party 2015 Bohemian Best Of Party

2015 Bohemian Best Of Party

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Farallones Fight over USCG

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 4:46 PM

Farallones! - WIKIPEDIA
  • Farallones!

Hey, got a late-in-the-day blast signed by a bunch Northern CA lawmakers, pushing the White House to get the Coast Guard to drop a request for what the Reps (Huffman and Thompson included). are calling a late-game request for an exemption from a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rule, which would vastly expand the boundaries of the Gulf o' Farallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries of a marine variety . According to NOAA, the Gulf of would add 2,000 square miles into its benthic grasp, from 1,282 to @ 3,295 square miles. Cordell Bank would almost double in size.This is what you call and interagency dispute between NOAA and the Coast Guard, and the White House Office of Management and Budget is the Reconciler in Chief on this matter. 

The meat of the letter:

We are increasingly concerned that the implementation of the final rule to accomplish crucial ocean protections has been delayed due to an exemption request from the United States Coast Guard (USCG). While we recognize and very much appreciate the unique and vital role the USCG plays in protecting the health of our marine sanctuaries, we do not agree that this requires a specific exemption to be added to the final rule at the eleventh hour. The completion of the boundary expansion will benefit small rural communities up and down the coast that depend on a healthy ocean and income generated from tourism. We urge you to allow the final rule for the expansion to move forward in a timely manner.

Went and checked out the Federal Register for what it had to say about the proposed new rule and exemptions: Here's a couple:

Exemption for Department of Defense Activities

NOAA proposes to extend to the [Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary] expansion area an existing exemption for Department of Defense (DOD) activities necessary for national defense, provided suchactivities are conducted on or prior to the effective date of GFNMS designation or GFNMS expansion. DOD activities necessary for national defense initiated after the effective date of designation or expansion could be exempted after consultation with the Sanctuary Superintendent, with authority delegated from the ONMS Director. DOD activities not necessary for national defense, such as routine exercises and vessel operations, would be subject to all prohibitions that apply to GFNMS.

Exemption for Emergencies

NOAA proposes to extend to the proposed expansion area for GFNMS a provision that would exempt from sanctuary regulations for activities necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, property, or the environment.

The push from congress comes two days after the latest NOAA advisory council meeting on the Farallones, held in Pt. Reyes Station. Next one's in May. 

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Cosby Canceled at Wells Fargo Center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 11:57 AM

Last week I wrote about the scheduled appearance in Santa Rosa by alleged serial starlet-drugger and creepy toe-sucker Bill Cosby. The story wondered why on earth the show must go on in Santa Rosa, when it's been cancelled at various venues, and in light of the fact that there's like 31 women who claim he's a creep. I wondered why Wells Fargo would continue with naming-rights for the center, given what we believed was a colossal case of poor judgement on the center's part.

Well, as of today, the show is "indefinitely postponed.

This just in from the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, a press release in our inbox this morning, from us to you. Indefinitely postponed is a nice way of saying the thing's been canceled. Good riddance. 

"SANTA ROSA, CA (February 20, 2015) – Promoter John Low announced today that the Bill Cosby performance, scheduled for Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, has been indefinitely postponed. The postponement is by mutual agreement between Mr. Low and Mr. Cosby.

“We regret any inconvenience created for patrons who have already purchased tickets,” said Kyle Clausen, Director of Marketing and Patron Services for Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

Ticket holders will automatically be issued a refund for their ticket purchases. Patrons who purchased tickets with a credit card will receive a refund to that card within five to seven business days. Patrons who purchased tickets by cash or check will be mailed a refund check within 14 business days. Questions about this refund process can be directed to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts ticket office at 707.546.3600, which is open daily from 12 noon – 6 p.m."

….This must have been what Clausen meant when he said there was a "resolution" in the works as I was reporting this story.  
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Recommended for You, Sonoma Lawman

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 4:57 PM


A task force established by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has released its draft recommendations online Thursday. 

The Sonoma County Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force was created in the aftermath of the 2013 death of Andy Lopez, who was shot and killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy. Lopez was carrying an Airsoft rifle that mimicked an AK-47 when he was shot.

The recommendations include suggested reforms and serves as a multi-point answer to several questions posed to it by the board of supervisors.

Of special note in the draft recommendations is the proposed creation of an Office of Independent Auditor to review police-relating shootings and other use-of-force issues in policing and in the county detention centers.

This is the main recommendation, says task force chairman Eric Koenigshofer in an interview. The draft recommendation will be unveiled at the task force’s next meeting, Feb. 5

Koenigsburg was asked in advance of its release whether the board was considering a so-called “civilian review board” to deal with a perceived lack of accountability in the county when there are police-related shootings and injuries. Complicated question, that.

“Yes, it’s a civilian review board,” he answered. “No, it’s not a civilian review board.” He said it would take an hour to get an answer that accurately reflected the recommendation. “Define ‘review board,’ said Koenigshofer.

In effect, the proposed Office of Independent Auditor would be a new office within the county apparatus, but independent of the sheriff’s office. The “citizen review board” part of the deal would be under its umbrella, the OIA Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Here’s what that citizen’s committee would do, according to the draft recommendations:

“The OIA Citizens Advisory Committee will conduct regular, public meetings in which the Auditor will provide information to the Committee related to trends in law enforcement including complaint tracking, results of situational audits, discussions and conversation with law enforcement related to policies and protocols and efforts to engage and outreach to the public with the aim of supporting the positive relationship between the community and law enforcement. The Committee will also reserve time on each agenda to hear from the public related to their questions and concerns related to law enforcement activity.

“The OIA Citizens Advisory Committee is intended to assist and complement the Independent Auditor as liaison between the community and law enforcement with the ultimate aim of creating a sense of security, mutual respect and trust between all parties.”

Koenigshofer says one of the big challenges in creating recommendations for the county was that expectations in the police-reform and activist community were very high—and that there remains a lot of anger about the Lopez killing, and its aftermath. With the anger has come suspicion that the board wasn’t going to actually do anything. Not so, says Koenigshofer, and it’s all enshrined now in their draft recommendations. “We tried to take the assignment that the board presented us,” he says, “and present things that the board could implement.”

But there was always a strain, since the task force was set up because of a single, tragic incident—but charged with offering sweeping reforms to policing and accountability here. He described the process as, "an effort to understand the legal landscape that exsits – not because we didn’t want to tell people what they can’t do – but to understand what they can do."

Activists had, for instance, pushed the task force to demand that Officer Erick Gelhaus not be allowed back on beat after he was cleared of wrongdoing by Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. That wasn’t part of their purview, but the task force still had to address the fallout from Ravitch’s decision.

“A lot of what has come out in these meetings is that there was dissatisfaction with [Ravitch’s] decision to not charge the deputy with a crime. And, because there is disagreement over the result, there has been a suggestion by some folks that something could be created to override the DA’s decision,” says Koenigshofer.

“You are exactly right that the Lopez incident created expectations that the task force could never implement,” he adds.

The problem facing the task force is that both the Sonoma County supervisors and the D.A. have powers granted to them enshrined through state law, not to mention the state and federal constitution.

“It’s a fool’s paradise to think that a local government can come up with its own arrangement with the expectation of overriding state or federal law,” says Koenigshofer. He recalls an axiom from the Bill Clinton era: “Every complex question has a simple answer that’s wrong.”

“What we are proposing is a very significant change in the status quo, but that doesn’t go as far as some people would like it to,” he adds.

The task force recommendations are up on the county website, and address each of the four questions and conundrums posed to it by county officials.

The big-ticket item is the aforementioned creation of an Office of Independent Auditor. The OIA would “have authority to audit investigations of employees of the Sheriff’s Office,” and would include detention workers at the county lockups. The task force recommended that these auditing powers be extended to the county Probation Department, and would also create a special unit devoted to incidents involving youth.

It’s a big proposed change for how internal investigations are received and conducted, as the task force notes in is recommendations:

“The introduction of an Office of Independent Auditor (OIA) will result in the need to develop a new coordinated process of complaint receipt and review involving both the Sheriff’s Office (SO) and the OIA. As previously noted, the OIA will not become a part of the Sheriff’s Office investigation process nor will the OIA be subordinate to the SO. The OIA will be housed in a separate facility with its own budget. The two offices will need to cooperate and coordinate in order for the OIA to successfully perform its duties.”

The task force also recommended that the Officer of the Coroner and the Sheriff's Office be split, to avoid creating a conflict of interest when there’s an officer-involved fatality.

From the draft recommendation:

“Since the Office of Sheriff and the Office of Coroner are held by the same person a conflict exists. The conflict is a fact which is the result of the organizational structure and is not a criticism of the performance of the current office holder or his staff. While there are numerous fine points which may be made within a discussion about the degree of conflict or whether a conflict has ever actually occurred, the fact remains that there is a conflict. The only way to eliminate the conflict is to separate the Office of Coroner from the Office of Sheriff.

It is recommended that the two offices be separated by obtaining voter approval in 2016 to take effect in 2019. As part of the measure presented to voters in 2016, include a provision which converts the coroner function to a position filled by Board of Supervisors appointment.”

The last recommendation has to do with the Sonoma County Grand Jury and its shortcomings when it comes to investigating law-enforcement related fatalities or injuries. The grand jury told the task for that it faced numerous challenges, inadequate funding for investigative work among them. The task force reiterated what it’s said before, without making a new recommendation about the role of the grand jury going forward.

“In light of our own investigation, and the findings of the 2013-2104 Sonoma County Grand Jury, we do not recommend that the Grand Jury be used as the sole mechanism for Law Enforcement Accountability.”

For citizens who were outraged by the Lopez shooting, and feel like they’ve been shut out of the process—or that their voices have not been heard: Fear not.

“This is our interim report to the full task force,” says Koenigshofer. “There will be a great big discussion at the board level, with hearings and meetings and etc. This is the beginning part of the public discussion.”

I reached out to Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo earlier this week for a comment on the task force’s work—and on the conditions under which it was empaneled. Here’s what he said:

“While the task force was created in response to a single incident, from the beginning the board intended for the scope to encompass a broad look at a broad scope of issues. The recommendations are being presented in draft form, and are pending additional input from the public, cities, and community partners. Therefore, it would be premature to comment on any particular item. I recognize that there are complex legal issues and constraints that the task force has had to consider when forming their recommendations, and which they are still working through.

I am supportive of the task force and their process, and eager to receive their final report and presentation of recommendations in May. From the beginning, the board has supported the independence of the task force, and the importance of having input from a group that reflects our community. The Board takes the relationship between law enforcement and the community very seriously, and we are looking forward to working with the community, Task Force members, law enforcement, and community organizations to make Sonoma County a better place to live and work.”

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