January 31, 2014

• Worker’s Comp bill now in the House

• Sunshine Week coming up; what are you doing to celebrate?

• Session coming up on two-thirds mark

• Doyle named ME at Greensboro News & Record

• KPA’s ‘weather swami’ keeping an eye on pending storm Titan

• Tri-City News sold to Whitakers

• KPNS continues growth spurt 

 Remind your readers to set clocks AHEAD one hour on Sunday, March 9


KPA-endorsed Worker’s Comp bill passes Senate, headed to the House

One of KPA’s major legislative initiatives passed the Kentucky Senate on Tuesday by a 30-8 vote. It’s now headed to the House where it’s been assigned to the Labor and Occupations Committee. If you have a State Rep on that committee, you have received an email asking that you speak to them this weekend for their support.

The bill deals with a mid-1970 law that states newspaper carriers are to be treated as employees, not as independent contractors. Even though the newspaper-carrier relationship meets all IRS standards for that, the law states otherwise. Kentucky is one of only 12 states where carriers can be considered employees and the only one with that specifically legislated by statute.

The bill was not opposed by any group and we met with all that might have a concern prior to it being filed. It is sponsored by Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, and co-sponsored by Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville.

sunshine-week-logoSunshine Week coming in March

Sunshine Week 2014 is set for March 16-22. Let us know what you and your organization are planning to do, so we can add you to this year’s participants list! Visit sunshineweek.org to see a roster of participants and events listings.

There are endless ways to participate in Sunshine Week. A community “town hall” meeting, hosted by OpenTheGovernment.org, took place Jan. 23 in Washington, D.C., to coordinate Washington-based activities for Sunshine Week 2014. Many organizations across the country are making plans to host events spotlighting open government, launch special news reports and campaigns and hold other awareness-building activities.

Among the events and activities already planned for Sunshine Week 2014 are:

  • The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, in partnership with OpenTheGovernment.org, and separately the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University’s Washington College of Law, will each hold a celebration of Freedom of Information Day with a series of panel discussions and awards presentations.
  • The Reporters Committee will host a panel discussion with prominent journalists and legal experts discussing transparency and the U.S. Supreme Court. Open government events are also planned during the week by the D.C. Open Government Coalition, FOI Oklahoma and the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
  • New Mexico State University is holding an infographic contest for students, utilizing the state’s Open Meetings Act or Inspection of Public Records Act as the work’s focus. The winners will be announced at a public ceremony during Sunshine Week. The contest is sponsored by NMSU alumnus Tim Parker, the NMSU Library and the NMSU Department of Journalism & Mass Communications
  • In Florida, Lee County Clerk Linda Doggett will hold a free public training seminar on how to find public information posted on the clerk’s office website. Training brochures and reference materials will be provided to attendees.

The American Society of News Editors launched Sunshine Week in 2005 as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants have included print, broadcast and digital media outlets; government officials at all levels; schools and universities; nonprofit and civic organizations; libraries and archivists; and individuals interested in the public’s right to know.

In 2012, ASNE partnered with its co-sponsor, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and has renewed the partnership to oversee the national coordination of resources and provide support for participants. Sunshine Week 2014 is made possible by an endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and by donations from the Gridiron Club and Foundation.

We welcome all groups and individuals to participate and use the resources provided on the Sunshine Week website to mark their open-government efforts the week of March 16-22. Among great resources available is “The Vault,” which archives inspirational materials from Sunshine Week 2013, including opinion columns and cartoons. Fresh material that can be used free by anyone will be posted in the “Toolkit” as it is received; check back often! You can also watch the 2013 video in which former ASNE Freedom of Information Committee Co-Chairs Andy Alexander and Tim Franklin discuss ways to get involved with Sunshine Week.

For more information on Sunshine Week and how to participate, visit sunshineweek.org or contact us at sunshineweek@asne.org. Please send us your artwork and writing to share for the “Toolkit.”

37 days down, 23 to go

I look forward to the tulips blooming in front of the Capitol because that means the 2014 session will be OVER!!

I look forward to the tulips blooming in front of the Capitol because that means the 2014 session will be OVER!!

The 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly is progressing and when the gavels ended this morning’s sessions, it marked 37 days completed, 23 days to go. If you believe the schedules, two of those 23 days are set aside for “Concurrence only” and two are for “Veto overrides.” That would mean 19 meeting dates but again, until that final gavel falls on Tuesday, April 15, any thing is possible.

Monday is the last day a new House bill can be introduced; Wednesday is the last day for a new Senate bill. At that point, we should know the hand we’ve been dealt. In the 2012 session, the most recent 60-day session, the House faced 556 bills, the Senate had 220. It’s doubtful there will be a large number of bills introduced by Wednesday to match those records. Certainly, it’s doubtful 55 bills will be introduced in the House on Monday.

We continue watching a number of bills, some just monitoring, others meeting with legislators about. Senate Bill 101 on public notices has not moved to a committee hearing yet. Senate Bill 150 on self-storage units and the related public notice change is going to be rewritten and the public notice change should be deleted or reworded. We wait for the new language but remain hopeful the language will be deleted.

I’ve already mentioned our one bill we playing offense on, Senate Bill 105. Sen. David Givens introduced SB157 this week on opening up juvenile court proceedings. While it made it out of committee several objections were raised so its future is in question.

In all, it’s been a really busy session with lots of meetings taking place. But so far, there’s not been much movement on legislation we’ve supporting or opposing.

If things do change, now that the session is on a downward slope toward adjournment, we’ll be in touch with requests for you to get in touch with appropriate legislators to get the message to them.

Associates Division selects 3 as Host Companies

The KPA Associates committee on internships has selected the Better Business Bureau, Kentucky Utilities and Bluegrass State Games for its three Host Companies. Each summer, the Associates give three members a public relations intern, modeled after KPA’s successful newspaper internship program.

Those three will have more than 20 student applications to review, then interview and select from. That’s one of the highest numbers of student applicants since the program has been operating.

The three students selected will work for 10 weeks as an intern for the Associate member.

News Councils

There were three, then two and now one. And the future of that one — we’re talking about a state “News Council” may or may not continue. That’s because John Hamer, president of the Washington State News Council announced this week that he is retiring.

That News Council got started in 1998 and had been funded by Bill Gates Sr. and the Gates Foundation. Hamer notes that the foundation’s funding has ended so whoever replaces him will have to raise money for the news council to continue and that would include the successor’s own salary.

Other News Councils were located in Minnesota and Oregon with local news councils operating in Honolulu and Littleton, Colorado.

The Minnesota News Council dissolved in 2011. MNC transferred its remaining endowment to MNA’s non-profit, Minnesota News Media Institute to use for education. Wisconsin has a Freedom of Information Council that’s operating quite well, according to Beth Bennett at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. But it never was a “news council” in the true sense. Instead it was more of a group pushing for open government reform in that state.

News councils were established to give the public, officials and others an independent board to take media grievances to. The council would determine if the news media entity erred or was unfair in the reporting and could sanction the media company.

And Kentucky had a news council on its radar. In 1993, a resolution during a Special Session of the General Assembly, called for a news council to be studied by the Legislative Research Commission. Sponsors were State Representatives Ramsey Morris, Jim Zimmerman, Tom Burch, Ron Cyrus, Herbie Deskins, Sam McElroy and Greg Stumbo.

In January, 1994, Sen. David Karem, D-Louisville, filed legislation establishing Kentucky News Council. Karem’s Senate Bill 313 in the 1994 session, proposed a $1million expenditure of state money to establish the council at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism. KPA, by a majority vote, opposed the measure although specific member newspapers supported the concept.

In March, 1994, the State Senate passed the bill 23-12-1 (the one vote was a “pass.”) It went on to the House State Government Committee and it was approved by a 9-4 vote. But that became the end of the Kentucky News Council idea.

Ten years before the House resolution, 1983 KPA President John Munford established a task force to discuss a News Council for Kentucky. In November, 1983, Dr. Ron Farrar, with the School of Journalism at UK, presented a report on behalf of the Task Force. Gerald Lush, currently the publisher of the Hardin Independent at Elizabethtown but at the time was publisher of The Kentucky Standard in Bardstown.

If anyone is interested in a 30-year-old report and wanting to read the 20-year-old legislation, just let me know. Ron’s report from the task force addresses all the aspects — good and bad — of a Kentucky News Council. The only part the task force report does not address or answer is the question — Does Kentucky need a News Council? And members did that by vote with 67 voting against a news council idea, 20 supporting the concept.

That’s your KPA history lesson for this week.

Steve Doyle named ME for Greensboro News & Recordsteve-doyle

Greensboro, NC — Steven L. Doyle, a Kentucky native and a long-time editor, has been named managing editor of the News & Record.

Publisher Jeff Gauger announced this week he had selected Doyle to take the position, beginning March 17.

“Having been chosen by Jeff is a great thing,” Doyle said. “I’m honored.”

Since 2008, Doyle has been the editor of The Sentinel-News, a three-times-a-week newspaper in his hometown of Shelbyville.

He held leadership positions at the Orlando Sentinel from 1981 to 2008. He has led sports, business and news teams, in addition to other jobs.

Doyle said he likes the direction the News & Record has been moving since it was purchased by BH Media in early 2013. BH Media is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., whose CEO is Warren Buffett.

“I like the way the newsroom has been restructured,” Doyle said. “It’s a full-cycle newsroom with a web-first philosophy.”

Doyle said he hopes working at a three-times-a-week newspaper has prepared him for anything he encounters at the News & Record.

“I think, for many years of my career working in Orlando, I just really didn’t get down and get my hands dirty,” Doyle said.

Doyle will work with assignment editors and the designers to decide what the newspaper will look like daily, Gauger said. He will run most of the day-to-day news operations, Gauger said.

Gauger said he was looking for a few specific traits in the candidates.

“They had to demonstrate the ability to develop strong, enterprising and project-level journalism,” Gauger said. “They had to have a willingness to embrace digital, an ability to coach people to greater confidence and competence.”

The newspaper added a managing editor’s position after Gauger’s promotion in November to editor and publisher. He previously was executive editor.

More than 40 candidates from across the U.S. expressed interest in the job, Gauger said.

“I was pleased with the response,” Gauger said.

Doyle said his family is happy about the move to North Carolina.

“My family loves the state,” he said. “And we’re looking forward to being there and being part of the community.”

Your efforts are noticed; keep it up

Tuesday, we had the chance to meet with Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, about his Senate Bill 150 on Self-Storage units. As you recall, the language could take away newspaper notice of auctions on these units and allow for any “commercially reasonable” method of advertising the sale.

He filed the bill last Friday and said that, “Within 30 minutes of me dropping (legislativeese for filing it), Ann at the Richmond Register and Teresa at the Berea Citizen where contacting me. You all really got the word out fast about the bill.”

I’ve met with more legislators this session than in the previous 29 years. That’s part of Southern Strategy’s strategy, the firm that helps KPA lobby, and we’re constantly in meetings. But it matters not how many times we might with them or that they know my name. Legislators owe me nothing, except for my State Senator and State Representative, because I’m a constituent of theirs. As for the other 136, YOU are the one that is most important to a legislator. You are a constituent, you know them, they depend on you for getting information out and they will listen to you. More so than they will or have to listen to me.

So that personal contact is important. I can take a bevy of lobbyists to any meeting, any hearing and legislators are going to look at the group as just that — lobbyists. But when they hear from someone back home, someone they represent, that’s when action gets taken care of. So when we asked you to make contact on legislation, we’re not putting the weight on your shoulders to pass a bill or defeat a bill. We just want to make sure our story is heard and you’re the best one to tell them that.

Mountain Eagle, Adair County Community Voice, Herald-News keep string going

The last month has been consistent! Each week we’ve added at least one newspaper to the fold for the Kentucky Press News Service. This week, it was the LaRue County Herald News, Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg and the Adair County Community Voice in Columbia. that will put us at 79 newspapers when we receive the paperwork from the Mountain Eagle and Community Voice.

And we’re just a few clicks away from 27,000 stories that have been scraped and shared or written by KPNS administrator David Greer. Top off the 27,000 with better than 1700 in the afternoon “editorials” budget and we’re on our way to 30,000!!

‘Weather Swami’ on duty today

This is not David Greer

This is not David Greer

In his next life, I wouldn’t be surprised to see KPNS administrator David Greer become a meteorologist.

He loves following weather forecasts and through KPNS is often the first to give out storm alerts.

So Thursday, with the impending “winter storm” being mentioned in long-range forecast I asked David if he’d be doing a story with updates as the storm approached Kentucky. Soon thereafter, he had his first weather story posted on KPNS and responded that the “weather swami” would have a story. And this morning’s budget included an update.

If you’re a KPNS participating member, stay tuned for developments on the weather front.

Jeff Wilder sells Tri-City News to Whitaker family

After publishing the Tri-City News for the past 26 years, February 26’s edition was the last under Publisher Jeff Wilder. Wilder has sold the newspaper to the Whitaker family of Letcher County.

The newspaper will begin its 85th year of publication on March 15.

The late Jerry Freeman published the first newspaper in 1929 and continued until his death in 1957 at which time his wife Margaret continued publishing the newspaper until 1971. From then until 1988, when

Wilder began publishing, there had been a few other publishers, but no one other than the founding family has published the paper any longer than Wilder.

The Whitaker family operates Superior Printing and Publishing, Inc., which was started over 50 years ago by Charles and Bobbie Whitaker who are now retired.

Their company continues operation under the guidance of Mike and Tina Whitaker and their sons Paul and Nick. They publish a weekly newspaper, the News-Press along with operating their printing shop in Cromona.

Tri-City News sold:pdf

State Reg governs rural electric rate increase notices

Thursday afternoon, the Public Service Commission announced it had a awarded a rural electric co-op a rate increase. That led one newspaper to question the PSC on what kind of notice had been given to the co-op’s members because no notice had been published.
I also talked with the PSC and was directed to a Kentucky Administrative Regulation. Those are regs that state departments/cabinets/commissions develop to deal with state laws. The laws govern the overall issue but will also direct the corresponding state agency to develop regulations as to how it will implement the state law.
So KRS 424 governs public notice advertising but then regulations further explain or regulate processes. So for a rural electric co-op rate increase, I was directed to 807 KAR (Kentucky Administrative Regulation) 5:051 and told to read Section 17. I’m passing this along because I think most all counties have a rural electric co-op and you might need this information the next time the utility proposes a rate increase. Here’s that language
Section 17. Notice of General Rate Adjustment. When filing an application for a general rate adjustment, a utility shall provide notice as established in this section.
      (1) Public postings.
      (a) A utility shall post at its place of business a copy of the notice no later than the date the application is submitted to the commission.
      (b) A utility that maintains a Web site shall, within five (5) business days of the date the application is submitted to the commission, post on its Web sites:
      1. A copy of the public notice; and
      2. A hyperlink to the location on the commission’s Web site where the case documents are available.
      (c) The information required in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection shall not be removed until the commission issues a final decision on the application.
      (2) Customer Notice.
      (a) If a utility has twenty (20) or fewer customers or is a sewage utility, the utility shall mail a written notice to each customer no later than the date on which the application is submitted to the commission.
      (b) If a utility has more than twenty (20) customers and is not a sewage utility, it shall provide notice by:
      1. Including notice with customer bills mailed no later than the date the application is submitted to the commission;
      2. Mailing a written notice to each customer no later than the date the application is submitted to the commission;
      3. Publishing notice once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a prominent manner in a newspaper of general circulation in the utility’s service area, the first publication to be made no later than the date the application is submitted to the commission; or
      4. Publishing notice in a trade publication or newsletter delivered to all customers no later than the date the application is submitted to the commission.
      (c) A utility that provides service in more than one (1) county and is not a sewage utility may use a combination of the notice methods listed in paragraph (b) of this subsection.
      (3) Proof of Notice. A utility shall file with the commission no later than forty-five (45) days from the date the application was initially submitted to the commission:
      (a) If notice is mailed to its customers, an affidavit from an authorized representative of the utility verifying the contents of the notice, that notice was mailed to all customers, and the date of the mailing;
      (b) If notice is published in a newspaper of general circulation in the utility’s service area, an affidavit from the publisher verifying the contents of the notice, that the notice was published, and the dates of the notice’s publication; or
      (c) If notice is published in a trade publication or newsletter delivered to all customers, an affidavit from an authorized representative of the utility verifying the contents of the notice, the mailing of the trade publication or newsletter, that notice was included in the publication or newsletter, and the date of mailing.
      (4) Notice Content. Each notice issued in accordance with this section shall contain:
      (a) The proposed effective date and the date the proposed rates are expected to be filed with the commission;
      (b) The present rates and proposed rates for each customer classification to which the proposed rates will apply;
      (c) The amount of the change requested in both dollar amounts and percentage change for each customer classification to which the proposed rates will apply;
      (d) The amount of the average usage and the effect upon the average bill for each customer classification to which the proposed rates will apply, except for local exchange companies, which shall include the effect upon the average bill for each customer classification for the proposed rate change in basic local service;
      (e) A statement that a person may examine this application at the offices of (utility name) located at (utility address);
      (f) A statement that a person may examine this application at the commission’s offices located at 211 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort, Kentucky, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or through the commission’s Web site at http://psc.ky.gov;
      (g) A statement that comments regarding the application may be submitted to the Public Service Commission through its Web site or by mail to Public Service Commission, Post Office Box 615, Frankfort, Kentucky 40602;
      (h) A statement that the rates contained in this notice are the rates proposed by (utility name) but that the Public Service Commission may order rates to be charged that differ from the proposed rates contained in this notice;
      (i) A statement that a person may submit a timely written request for intervention to the Public Service Commission, Post Office Box 615, Frankfort, Kentucky 40602, establishing the grounds for the request including the status and interest of the party; and
      (j) A statement that if the commission does not receive a written request for intervention within thirty (30) days of initial publication or mailing of the notice, the commission may take final action on the application.
      (5) Abbreviated form of notice. Upon written request, the commission may grant a utility permission to use an abbreviated form of published notice of the proposed rates, provided the notice includes a coupon that may be used to obtain all of the required information.

Survey: Live TV Losing Ground To Mobile

From: Campaigns & Elections, February 24, 2014

A new survey shows live television viewing continues to decline as voters migrate to watching streamed content on tablets and smartphones.

The reason for the switch?

Viewers want to watch video content “on their own terms,” the researchers wrote. “There’s now little doubt that live TV is losing ground to new technologies.” The poll found that less than half of voters now say live TV is their primary way to watch video content — and some 30% say they haven’t watched live TV over the past week.

To read the rest of the story —http://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/444357/survey-tv-quickly-losing-ground-to-mobile.thtml

Time for ‘Your Duty under the Law’ to be given to local officials

Got the email Wednesday from the City of Georgetown that it is time for me to sign (and maybe I’ll be one of the few who read) the ‘Your Duty under the Law’ publication on Open Meetings and Open Records. As chair of the Georgetown Ethics Board, I’m appointed and thus have to acknowledged receipt.

So just mosey on down to the clerk offices, or the head of each agency, and ask if they’ve sent the ‘Your Duty under the Law’ publication to each elected and appointed official of the agency. There is a receipt to sign that the official has received it and that must be returned to the agency.

Again, wish we could legislate that they actually have to read the publication but guess giving it to them is better than nothing at all.

Here’s the (sample) notice I received:

Board members and Commissioners,

Under the terms of KRS 15.257, enacted by the 2005 General Assembly and available for review on the Legislative Research Commission’s website at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record /05rs/HB77.htm, county judge/executives, mayors, city attorneys, county attorneys, superintendents of public school districts, presidents of public universities, and attorneys for public school districts and universities must distribute “Your Duty Under the Law” and “Managing Public Records” to all elected public officials and newly elected or appointed members described below:

This includes “each elected official and each member, whether elected or appointed, of every city legislative body, local government board, commission, authority, and committee, including boards of special districts.”

Attached are the “Your Duty Under the Law” and “Managing Public Records” document and “Proof of Receipt.” Please sign and return the Proof of Receipt to Tracie Hoffman, 100 Court Street, Georgetown, KY 40324 or you may fax to 502-867-7450 or email Tracie.Hoffman@georgetownky.gov.

If you should have any questions concerning Your Duty Under the Law or Managing Public Records please respond to this email or call me at the number below.

DOJ releases new rules about obtaining media orgs’ records

By Andrew Beaujon, Poynter

The U.S. Department of Justice Friday released new rules for how it will try to obtain records from journalists in the future. They “create a presumption that prosecutors generally will provide advance notice to the news media when seeking to obtain their communications records,” Charlie Savage reports.

The Justice Department didn’t win rave reviews last May, when news broke it had seized AP phone records without notifying the organization.

These new regulations should provide significantly greater protection for journalists,” AP CEO and President Gary Pruitt told AP’s Pete Yost. “We are hopeful that these regulations will be enforced as intended and that Congress will pass a federal shield law to further protect journalists.”

University of Minnesota professor Jane Kirtley “was troubled that there remain instances under the new rules in which the government might not notify news organizations of plans to obtain records, such as when the government believes notice would threaten national security,” Yost writes.

Just another thing you can do with newspaper; this one at a Mardi Gras parade

Somewhere around here I’ve got a list of 1,001 things you can do with a newspaper, besides lining the bird cage. Now comes another and while it has nothing to do with Kentucky, it does for newspapers. So I share a little background and a couple of pictures.

krewe-of-muses

The Mardi Gras celebration has been going on and three parades were held Thursday. One
newspaper-suit-300x268of those, the Krewe of Muses parade, featured a parody of John Georges, the owner of the New Orleans Advocate on a float. Notice his suit — it’s made entirely of newspaper.

To the people of New Orleans, they are street names, often mispronounced. In Greek mythology the nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus. First parading in 2001, the Muses organization now has over 1000 riding members and was the first all-female organization to parade at night in Uptown New Orleans. The Krewe of Muses’ vision is to tap into and recognize the local artistic and cultural resources of the community and incorporate them into a Muses Mardi Gras tradition, making the entire community a part of the Krewe of Muses parade. We celebrate their wildness before they were tamed, their virtues after they were appointed, and their place in the mystique of New Orleans, where each virtue seems to thrive.

ASNE-supported FOIA reform bill passes U.S. House by unanimous vote

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, HR 1211, the FOIA Reform Act, passed the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote. The bill would provide the first major reforms to the federal FOIA in seven years.

Among the improvements to FOIA contemplated by HR 1211 are the creation of a new “FOIA Portal” to make it easier to submit and track requests online, as well as to provide for increased “proactive” disclosure of government information without even needing a request; codifying the “presumption of openness” stated by Attorney General Eric Holder, which says that the government should be engaged in the discretionary disclosure of government information unless a “foreseeable harm” would ensue from its release; strengthening the Office of Government Information Services (sometimes referred to as the “FOIA Ombudsman”), which was created in 2007; strengthening FOIA oversight in various ways; and making it easier for groups, including ASNE, to oversee the government’s FOIA compliance.

ASNE was one of almost 30 organizations that sent a letter to every member of the House of Representativesprior to the vote urging them to pass HR 1211. The letter also asks the Senate Judiciary Committee to build on the House’s action and pass FOIA reform legislation.

We ask ASNE members to help us in this effort by reaching out to your senator and asking him or her to support FOIA reform. Contacting your senator could be especially important if he or she is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will be holding a FOIA oversight hearing Tuesday, March 11. In addition, you have a timely opportunity to raise this issue given that Sunshine Week is right around the corner from March 16-22, and coincides with a Senate recess, which means your senator is likely to be in his or her home state.

Please do not hesitate to contact ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at 703-812-0462 or at goldberg@fhhlaw.com for more information on this issue.

Apply for community health reporting fellowship

icfj-logoU.S. journalists and bloggers who cover minority, low-income and rural communities can apply for ICFJ’s Community Health Reporting Fellowship. Fellows will spend a week in Washington, D.C., meeting top health and health-policy experts and gaining the skills to improve coverage and audience engagement. Apply by March 24, 2014.

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