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Blood Drives Save Lives!


Please join us on Wednesday, April 17th 9:00am-1:00pm for the Annual Red Oak Community Blood Drive. 

   

Did you know?

  • Each donation can go towards saving up to 3 people's lives
  • Nationwide, every 2 seconds someone needs a blood donation - that's over 4.5 million Americans every year

  • A single accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood

  • Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured - human donors are the ONLY providers - donating blood truly SAVES LIVES!

Please consider donating. It’s fast, easy, and has a tremendous impact.

Each REGISTERED donor will have a tree   planted in their name whose progress they can track through forestmatic.com

NEW! As of October 2023, our partner, Stanford Blood Center (SBC), has implemented the updated FDA blood donation guidelines, which eliminate questions based on sexual orientation. We look forward to welcoming those who may be newly eligible to support local patients through blood donation!

SIGN UP NOW FOR EITHER LOCATION
Red Oak · 1575 Hopkins Street, Berkeley · rore.me/hopkinsblooddrive-4-2024  
Red Oak · 6450 Moraga Avenue, Oakland · rore.me/montclairblooddrive-4-2024

Questions? Reach out to your agent, or contact us. We’d love to have you join us!

 

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ROOF Donations To East Bay Nonprofits

 

Despite market volatility in 2023, the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) pulled together to distribute over $90,000 to East Bay nonprofits. 

The funds were distributed to 21 charities that directly benefit East Bay communities. These nonprofits support the unhoused, at-risk youth, women and children in need, the environment, educational- and arts-based programs, mental health services, social justice, food insecurity, and much more. 

Here are a few of the great organizations that we supported. We encourage you to learn and support them as well. Watch for more updates on Red Oak’s blog, where you can sign up for email updates here.

DANDELION KITCHEN’S mission is to help eliminate food insecurity and reduce food waste right here in the East Bay. The organization consists of a large group of volunteers from all backgrounds and professions, who help to prepare single-serving vegetarian meals using fresh local ingredients that would otherwise end up in landfills. The initiative grew from what was originally a program developed by Berkeley Food Network (BFN) who remains one of the key sources of fruits and vegetables for the program, in addition to helping with distribution. Dandelion Kitchen currently prepares and distributes about 750 meals a week, feeding local community members in need and diverting close to ten tons of recovered food annually.

TINY VILLAGE SPIRIT is helping to tackle the increasing challenges faced by the unhoused in the Bay Area. They work to engage community members in the constituent-led developments of emergency housing villages. Their Oakland Tiny Village project engaged over 4,000 volunteers from local congregations, schools and businesses, partnering together to develop solutions and emergency shelters. The organization is currently working to build a Richmond Tiny House Village, Garden and Farm, essentially doubling the number of emergency housing units for Richmond’s youth between the ages of 12 and 24. The project’s expected move-in date is July 2024.

TOWN BIZNESS is a grassroots organization serving the cities of the East Bay. By delivering basic comfort to those in need, durable tents for shelter, shelf-stable food and hygiene items, they are addressing the basic human needs of those without access to these necessities. Volunteers help with everything from helping to find shelter to helping create access to services like healthcare and even vet care for pets. They collect clean blankets, bedding and sleeping bags, clean clothing and coats to help keep community members warm during the colder months. As is often the case with many grassroots organizations, volunteers and additional support are always welcome. 

WEST OAKLAND PUNKS WITH LUNCH is run by a group of volunteers whose mission is to provide life-saving services and harm-reduction resources to underserved and marginalized community members. The organization’s volunteers provide direct community outreach, encouraging de-stigmatization of drug use and poverty. They aim to empower people to make well-informed decisions by providing resources, education and compassion. Some of their partners include Berkeley Free Clinic, BOMBAS Socks, and Roger’s and Rosewater Soup Company, among many others.

RICHMOND’S ROTARY was established in 1920, over a hundred years ago to encourage and foster the idea of service and goodwill. Rotary clubs nationwide tend to include the most active members of the community, providing opportunities for members to give back and get involved in their communities where they may not otherwise. Richmond’s Rotary has supported numerous initiatives over the years, including its Bikes for Kids program, Boys and Girls clubs, local food pantry, after school programs, housing support, healthcare and telemedicine, and so much more. Opportunities to get involved include hands-on volunteering as well as financial assistance needs. 

If you have questions about the organizations mentioned above, or about ROOF in general, reach out. And we hope you will donate to ROOF, too

 

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Spring Maintenance Tips for a Sustainable Season

 

The East Bay is awakening from winter's repose. As the days lengthen and the sun warms the air, it's a perfect time to tackle seasonal maintenance. By taking a sustainable approach to some key tasks in the home and yard, you can contribute to a healthier environment while you relish the springtime beauty.

Yard Duty and Water Wisdom

Even when the winter rains are adequate, climate change is demonstrating that the next period of drought is an ongoing concern. Here's how to ensure your home and yard aren’t silent water wasters:

  • Compost: Clean up the detritus of winter yard waste, but don’t send it to the landfill. Add it to a quick and easy to make compost bin. Composting transforms organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for the garden and helps retain water. 
  • Leak Check: A leaky faucet can drip away gallons of water daily. Inspect all indoor and outdoor faucets for drips and replace worn washers promptly. Check your toilet for silent leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank. If the color appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs fixing.
  • Outdoor Irrigation: With the return of warmer weather, it's tempting to crank up the sprinklers. However, overwatering not only wastes water but also promotes fungal growth. Water the yard during the cooler mornings or evenings to minimize evaporation. Consider replacing traditional sprinklers with drip irrigation systems that deliver water directly to plant roots.
  • Mulch: Applying a layer of mulch around trees and plants helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. Additionally, mulch suppresses weed growth, minimizing competition for water resources.
     

Green Spring Clean

Our environmental impact extends beyond water. Here's how to ensure your spring maintenance is eco-friendly:

  • Eco-friendly Cleaning: Ditch harsh chemical cleaners for eco-friendly alternatives. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are powerful and effective natural cleaning agents. Look for cleaning products certified by Green Seal or the EPA's Safer Choice Program.
  • Filters: Clean or replace air filters in your home (monthly for HVAC filters) and vacuum cleaners (according to manufacturer's instructions). This improves indoor air quality and reduces energy consumption by helping your appliances function efficiently.
  • Roof and Gutter Maintenance: Spring is the ideal time to inspect and maintain roofs and gutters. Clear the gutters of debris to prevent roof damage and leaks.
  • Embrace Energy Efficiency: Spring is a great time to assess your home's energy usage. Seal air leaks around windows and doors to keep the house cooler during the summer months. Upgrade to LED light bulbs. Programmable thermostats make temperature adjustments throughout the day and night, saving energy while you're away or asleep.
  • Declutter and Donate: The freshness of spring may even inspire a closet clean-out. Keep it sustainable by recycling or donating to one of the many East Bay charities that will extend the life of your cast-offs.
     

Safe and Sound

  • Fire Safety: Change smoke alarms batteries and make sure you have an all purpose fire extinguisher readily accessible.
  • Electrical: Check appliance cords and outlets for frayed or unsafe wiring. Test the GFCI outlets in the bathroom and kitchen.
     

Local Resources for a Sustainable Spring

Many East Bay cities offer resources and programs to help residents maintain their homes and gardens sustainably. Here are a few examples:

  • The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) provides rebates for water-efficient appliances, free leak detection tablets, educational workshops on water conservation, and landscaping for fire safety: Water Conservation
  • The City of Oakland's "Scraps to Soil" program offers discounted backyard compost bins and free compost workshops: Oakland Recycles
  • City of Berkeley Ecology Center 
  • The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) provides information on local recycling programs, hazardous waste disposal, and free compost giveaways: Stop Waste
     

By embracing preventative maintenance and incorporating sustainable practices, we can help create a resilient East Bay. Do you have suggestions or want some more resources and inspiration? Reach out

 

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Game-Changer for First-Time Homebuyers in the East Bay: the CAL HFA 2024 Dream for All Program


If you’re a first-time homebuyer dreaming of owning a home in the East Bay, we have some exciting news for you! The Dream for All Program (CalHFA) is specifically designed to make homeownership more accessible.

What is the CalHFA Dream for All Program?  

The Dream for All Program is a specialized initiative aimed at providing affordable financing options for first-time homebuyers in California. The 2023-24 State Budget allocated $220 million for the Dream For All Shared Appreciation Loan Program (DFA).

Key Features and Benefits:

  • 20% Down Payment: One of the most significant barriers to homeownership for many first-time buyers is the hefty down payment required to secure a mortgage. With the 2024 Dream for All program, eligible borrowers can qualify for up to 20% in down payment assistance, making homeownership more attainable for those with limited savings. 
  • Credit Requirements: The program requires a credit score of 680, making it easier for individuals with less-than-perfect credit to qualify. 
  • Competitive Interest Rates: CalHFA 2024 loans come with competitive interest rates, helping to keep monthly mortgage payments affordable for borrowers. By securing a lower interest rate, buyers can potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.
  • Assistance for Closing Costs: The benefit of this program is that a portion of the 20% can be used to help with closing costs.  This feature helps alleviate the financial burden associated with closing on a home and reduces the upfront cash needed to complete the purchase.

Who Qualifies for the CalHFA Dream for All 2024 Program?

To be eligible for the Dream for All program, applicants must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Being a first-time homebuyer (or not having owned a home in the past 7 years) 

  • Having a steady income and employment history

  • Have at least a 680 credit score 

  • Demonstrating the ability to afford mortgage payments, including taxes, insurance, and homeowners association (HOA) fees

  • First generation homeowner (meaning a homebuyer’s parents do not have present ownership interest in a home in the United States or if deceased whose parents did not have any ownership at that time.  Also, if an individual has any anytime been placed in foster care. 

Additionally, the property being purchased must meet certain standards and be used as the borrower's primary residence.

If you're interested in taking advantage of the CalHFA 2024 Dream for All program the first step is to connect with a qualified mortgage lender who participates in the program. The registration portal will open April 3, 2024, at 8:00 am PDT and close April 29, 2024, at 5:00 pm PDT. Reach out to us to connect with a lender and an agent that can help you prepare for the upcoming registration window.

 

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ROOF Donations To East Bay Nonprofits

 

Despite market volatility in 2023, the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) pulled together to distribute over $90,000 to East Bay nonprofits. 

The funds were distributed to 21 charities that directly benefit East Bay communities. These nonprofits support the unhoused, at-risk youth, women and children in need, the environment, educational- and arts-based programs, mental health services, social justice, food insecurity, and much more. 

Here are a few of the great organizations that we supported. We encourage you to learn and support them as well. Watch for more updates on Red Oak’s blog, where you can sign up for email updates here.

CENTRAL STAGE is a community theater in Richmond that has emerged as a cultural and performing arts center for the Persian and Iranian communities of the East Bay. It’s a volunteer-based organization and the only local creative space operated by and for this community. By providing this venue, they foster open expression, enabling experimentation and development in the arts. The center hosts small plays, musical performances, talks, film screenings, and other events.

Central Stage is a progressive center for both artists and local supporters to meet and collaborate. It has provided support and a haven for the community through past and recent turmoil in and around Iran. 

DARVAG THEATER GROUP was founded in Berkeley in 1985 with the dual mission of exploring creative expression in theater arts and maintaining a vital living connection with the group’s Iranian heritage. Darvag’s repertoire consists of contemporary Iranian works, new plays by group members, and Farsi translations of classic and contemporary works from other languages. The group performs at the Central Stage theater mentioned above.

EAST BAY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS has been around since 1968. They offer diverse youth and young adults opportunities to grow and excel as learners, creators of art, and contributors to their communities. The center provides broad and strategic community-based and public school performing arts access programs; rigorous individual and ensemble training; an intensive six-year, interdisciplinary diploma program; advanced internships; and commissions for new works of art. Their students, partners, and audiences deepen their experience and engagement with the impact of music, theater, dance, and media-making from a critical selection of the world's great cultures. 

The center is passionate about the power of art to create beauty and new ways of seeing the world. Located in in the heart of Richmond, more than 50,000 student artists from all walks of life have benefited from the organization over the years, enabling them to think, lead, and contribute to the world around them.

BAY NATURE INSTITUTE, located in Berkeley, is an independent non-profit organization that produces publications, a website, and community and educational events throughout the Bay Area. Their goal is to honor the region’s legacy of environmental advocacy and motivate people to consider nature by connecting them to their natural world. Their writers, photographers, and artists cover science and nature, conservation and recreation. The organization has developed into a vital part of the Bay Area’s green communications infrastructure, aligning with many other Bay Area green initiatives.

If you have questions about the organizations mentioned above, or about ROOF in general, reach out. And we hope you will donate to ROOF, too

 

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ROOF Donations To East Bay Nonprofits 2023

 

Despite market volatility in 2023, the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) pulled together to distribute over $90,000 to East Bay nonprofits. 

The funds were distributed to 21 charities that directly benefit East Bay communities. These nonprofits support the unhoused, at-risk youth, women and children in need, the environment, educational- and arts-based programs, mental health services, social justice, food insecurity, and much more. 

Here are a few of the great organizations that we supported. We encourage you to learn and support them as well. Watch for more updates on Red Oak’s blog, where you can sign up for email updates here.

BUILDING FUTURES mission has always been to build communities with underserved individuals and families, where they are safely and supportively housed, free from homelessness and domestic violence. Domestic violence is a primary reason that women become homeless and Building Futures has been providing safe places, warm meals, and much more, serving Alameda County since 1986. In 2022 the Building Futures Family Resource Center was opened in Oakland.

PARK PLACE REFUGE serves East Bay homeless communities by providing mobile showers and laundry services to those in need. Established in 2022 in Hayward, the organization believes everyone deserves to be treated with respect and human kindness. They are currently securing funding through fundraisers, donors, and sponsors, so that they can obtain mobile showers. 

LIVING ROOM CONVERSATIONS connects people through dialogue to build trust and understanding. They believe belonging starts with conversation and are committed to designing the resources and opportunities that allow everyone to feel seen and heard. Their four organizational pillars: respectful connection, open and curious of human experience, building and supporting community, fostering belonging and confusion, help to guide their work.

Steeped in the tradition of gathering in parlors to talk, Living Room Conversations brings people together to generate understanding and connection. The parlor of today is any place – physical or online – where we find ourselves connecting with others. Our unique conversational model makes it easy for anyone to create a safe and welcoming environment where people can respectfully discuss important issues.

FRIENDS OF OAKLAND ANIMAL SERVICES works alongside Oakland Animal Services, Oakland’s only open admission shelter. Open admission means that every animal, regardless of their condition, is welcomed. Friends of Oakland Animal Services was founded by volunteers. Their mission is to provide homes, health, and happiness to Oakland’s animals in need with a primary focus of funding programs and activities at Oakland Animal Services. The organization works to improve services beyond the typical expectations of a municipal, open-admission shelter.

If you have questions about the organizations mentioned above, or about ROOF in general, reach out. And we hope you will donate to ROOF, too

 

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ROOF Donations To East Bay Nonprofits

 

Despite market volatility in 2023, the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) pulled together to distribute over $90,000 to East Bay nonprofits. 

The funds were distributed to 21 charities that directly benefit East Bay communities. These nonprofits support the unhoused, at-risk youth, women and children in need, the environment, educational- and arts-based programs, mental health services, social justice, food insecurity, and much more. 

Here are a few of the great organizations that we supported. We encourage you to learn and support them as well. Watch for more updates on Red Oak’s blog, where you can sign up for email updates here.

WATERSIDE WORKSHOPS engages Bay Area youth with hands-on vocational training in bicycle mechanics, wooden boatbuilding, and outdoor education. Located at the Berkeley Aquatic Park, the program offers internships and jobs for youth in their three social enterprises: a community bike shop, a wooden boat shop and boat rental facility, and a youth-run cafe. It’s a safe place for youth to feel heard, gain confidence, develop work skills, and access the tools and resources needed to lead healthy, sustainable lives.

SARAH WEBSTER FABIO CENTER FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE(SWF Center for Social Justice) was created with the goal of elevating Black voices. SWFCenter was inspired by the work of  Sarah Fabio, scholar, educator, cultural critic, and poet. The organization supports the needs of the traditionally underserved by providing opportunities for dialogue, art, social justice, and community building.

Recently the center premiered the film, “A Rising Tide” by filmmaker Cheryl Fabio. The film confronts, challenges, and changes the false and limited narrative of the growing homelessness in Alameda County. The film is a call to action empowering a more profound understanding of keeping unhoused children and their families at the center. Red Oak Realty was honored to recently sponsor a screening of the film in partnership with the Bridge Association for Realtors to help spread awareness within the local real estate community. The impactful film brought most viewers to tears.

DESTINY ARTS CENTER’s goal is to ignite and inspire social change through the arts. Destiny Arts Center believes that art and movement give young people a vehicle for self and community expression. Founded by Black and Queer dance and martial artists in 1988, Destiny uses movement-based arts to uplift youth voice, supporting pathways for young people to express themselves, advocate for justice and equity, fight against the systemic racism that continues to impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and build a community where everyone feels seen, valued, and free.

HABITOT CHILDREN’S CENTER is a big advocate for early childhood learning through play. It’s a hands-on discovery museum designed for the youngest children, 0-5 years old, who learn through, and thrive on, play and social interaction. 90% of a child’s brain develops before age 5. Brain development in the early years depends on enriching experiences and  positive interactions and relationships. The center’s mission is to provide a space that helps parents and caregivers raise creative, curious, and confident children. Theme-based exhibits give young children a context for play and learning about the world. Designed for small hands and bodies, Habitot’s exhibits foster social interaction, problem-solving, and confidence building.

HIP WAH SUMMER PROGRAM was founded in 1984 by parents to provide Bay Area children an opportunity to experience the heritage of the Chinese and Chinese-American people. The organization’s goal is to provide an accessible summer program by keeping it affordable and leveraging community support and volunteers. Children of diverse ethnicities come together and are immersed in a full Chinese experience that culminates in a music festival where everyone participates with choral and instrumental music, dance, and martial arts. Campers do not have to be Chinese to attend. For many, Hip Wah is an opportunity to discover their cultural identity. The program remains one of the most successful and longest-running Chinese-American summer programs in the country.

 

If you have questions about the organizations mentioned above, or about ROOF in general, reach out. And we hope you will donate to ROOF, too

 

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New Donations To East Bay Nonprofits

 

Despite market volatility in 2023, the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) pulled together to distribute over $90,000 to East Bay nonprofits. 

The funds were distributed to 21 charities that directly benefit East Bay communities. These nonprofits support the unhoused, at-risk youth, women and children in need, the environment, educational- and arts-based programs, mental health services, social justice, food insecurity, and much more. 

Here are three great organizations that we supported. We encourage you to learn and support them as well. Watch for more updates on Red Oak’s blog, where you can sign up for email updates here.

WOMEN’S DAYTIME DROP-IN CENTER is an organization that has been serving the East Bay for 30 years. Providing drop-in services that include hot meals, groceries, hygiene products and housing resources to at-risk homeless women and children the organization both empowers them and keeps them safe. Each month they serve over 150 women and children in need. Red Oak agents have been supporting this charity for years and continue to do so.

YES NATURE TO NEIGHBORHOODS is another organization that Red Oak agents have been supporting for decades. In partnership with nature, YES challenges Richmond families and young adults to lead healthy and connected lives while embracing their communities. Placing an emphasis on equity, diversity, cultural relevance and mutual respect, YES creates a collaborative environment seeking to remove the barriers that impede access for less privileged individuals.

LUNA KIDS DANCE, INC. is another longtime ROOF recipient in support of equitable and inclusive practices. The organization brings creativity, equity and community to the lives of children through dance and creative activities. They have worked with children, parents, educators, schools, artists and various organizations for over 30 years, helping to develop future leaders, choreographers and visionaries.

If you have questions about the organizations mentioned above, or about ROOF in general, reach out. And we hope you will donate to ROOF, too

 

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Falling in love with your East Bay home


Whether or not you love the home you’re in, the significance of our homes took on a whole new meaning during the Covid pandemic. The concept of loving our living spaces instantly became a higher priority for most as was evidenced by the influx of home buying and selling in 2020 and 2021.

Not everyone can afford to move into the home of their dreams, but there are still ways to make the home you’re in, one you love. Here are nine simple ways to create a home you can fall in love with:

  1. Clean with intention: Schedule time to do a deep cleaning. Cleanliness can change your perception of space as well as evoke feelings of calmness and order. Play music and dance while you clean - make it less of a chore and more of an opportunity to invite people over, share your space with others (cleaning for others versus yourself can be more motivating).
  2. Let go of clutter: Clutter can feel chaotic and disorderly, giving a space the opposite feeling of calm and relaxation. Consider donating items you no longer need or use. There is a freeing feeling that comes every time you get rid of clutter (especially knowing items will likely be kept from landfills and potentially put to good use).
  3. Clean windows: Often an overlooked task, you may not even notice the difference until it’s done, but you’ll be glad you did! Clean windows throughout a home not only allow in more light, they also contribute to the overall brightness and appearance of your home.
  4. Change your artwork: If you’ve had the same artwork hanging in the same spot for years, consider moving things around. You may appreciate seeing pieces hanging in different light or in different rooms. Artwork often brings joy. Consider hanging, or potentially moving the pieces in your home.
  5. Fresh flowers: Fresh flowers can make any room feel brighter. And floral scents often evoke positive emotions (as long as they’re pleasant to you). Consider treating yourself to a fresh, colorful bouquet - they can do wonders to make a space, and you, feel good.
  6. Move your furniture around: One way to freshen up a space is to experience it a little differently than usual. Have you considered a different layout for your furniture? Perhaps that one chair that’s been stuck in the living room corner would help to brighten up a bedroom? There are no rules (other than maybe space and a few key pieces, like beds) that determine what belongs where in a home - get creative and play with pieces that are easy to move.
  7. Add living plants/bringing the outside in: During Covid, the design world experienced a big push towards outdoor living, which not only included creating new outdoor living spaces, but also saw an increase in nature-related interior design. Rattan lighting and furniture, earthy colors and textiles, all saw a big comeback. Added to that was the addition of living plants within the home. Not only are plants a great way to add life to a dull space, they also bring the added health benefit of producing oxygen. Just be sure to look up which plants are toxic to pets if you have them, especially cats.
  8. Wallpaper a room/wall: Wallpaper has made a big comeback in the last few years, and designers are getting creative with it. Wallpapering ceilings in a painted room is one trend we’ve seen, as well as wallpapering a select wall within a room - and this could be any room from a living/family room to a kitchen to a bedroom. With so many new options to choose from, including removable wallpaper and peel-and-stick versions, this is a more feasible project than one might think.
  9. Change the fabric throughout a room: How old are your curtains? Could your throw pillows use new covers? Or perhaps your couch or chair could benefit from a new cover. It’s incredible what adding a fresh pop of color, or new textile can do to a room. Consider whether something is worn or outdated. What item do you love the most? What item would you most like to change? If budget allows, adding a new rug to a room can work wonders!

Even if you’re not living in your dream home, you can still learn to love your home by making it yours. Remember, homes are what we make of them, whether you rent or own. We hope you find some of these creative solutions helpful. If you’re looking for additional ideas or would like to know what changes could add value to your home, reach out. We’d be happy to provide additional guidance based on what buyers are looking for when purchasing a home. 
 

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