Posts by Rehinge

Advocacy Alert: Judiciary Sub-Committee Hearing Needed for SC Senate Bill S.173

December 4th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy, Media, News Commentary 0 thoughts on “Advocacy Alert: Judiciary Sub-Committee Hearing Needed for SC Senate Bill S.173”

December 4th, 2016

Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and de-escalation training for our police are incredibly vital for the safety of people with a mental health  or substance abuse crisis who encounter law enforcement. We want to thank Senator Vincent Sheheen for leading the charge on this life saving solution oriented legislation. Rehinge has worked closely with Senator Sheheen to produce this bill that will help push CIT throughout the great state of SC. Now is the time for momentum so we can get a Judiciary sub-committee hearing immediately after it is read on the Senate floor in January. Please call and write your Senator and ask them to co-sponsor S. 173 the CIT and Police De-escalation Training Act.

The proposed legislation would require the S.C. Law Enforcement Training Council to create a Crisis Intervention Team training center and for every county to have at least one crisis intervention team. We need you to call, write, or email your local SC State Senator and tell them to co-sponsor Senate Bill S.173 so that it will reach a Judiciary Sub-Committee. This is an important first step towards getting this bill passed!

Bob Montgomery of Go Upstate also wrote an article on the bill being pre-filed, and includes quotes from Paton Blough and Senator Sheheen.

Law enforcement in South Carolina would get more training in dealing with people having a mental health or substance abuse crisis under a bill that the state General Assembly could take up next year.

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Camden Democrat who has made two runs for governor, pre-filed a bill on the issue this week. The proposed legislation mirrors a measure he introduced late in the Legislature’s last session that died in committee.

“We’ve got a real crisis in many of our hospitals and detention facilities where people who suffer mental health problems are dumped,” Sheheen told the Herald-Journal on Thursday.

The proposed legislation would require the S.C. Law Enforcement Training Council to create a crisis intervention training center and for every county to have at least one crisis intervention team.

Mental health advocate Paton Blough of Greenville said he met several times with Sheheen as the bill was put together.

“This solves some of the policing issues … and gives people help and hope,” said Blough, a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “It’s about human kindness. It’s giving officers more tools — not taking away Tasers or guns — to possibly de-escalate a situation and help the person in crisis avoid injury and maybe themselves an injury.”

“It’s long overdue,” Brown said. “It’s a needed bill. As you see, there are a number of situations in our court systems that unfortunately have a mental health aspect to them.”

Brown and Blough said they are hopeful the General Assembly will pass the bill because both Democrats and Republicans realize that having more officers trained to deal with mental illness and drug abuse can lead to better outcomes and reduced pressure on jails.

“It will help keep people out of prisons,” Blough said. “It’s exciting to see solutions that work being promoted in the state from both sides of the aisle with the support of advocates and police departments.”

Read the Full Article on GoUpstate.com

We have also compiled a list of current SC Senators below with contact information that you can use:

Thomas C. Alexander 803-212-6220 SLCIComm@scsenate.gov
Rex Rice Send an Email
Kevin L. Bryant 803-212-6320 KevinBryant@scsenate.gov
Michael Gambrell Send an Email
Tom Corbin 803-212-6100 TomCorbin@scsenate.gov
William Timmons Send an Email
Karl B. Allen 803-212-6040 KarlAllen@scsenate.gov
Ross Turner 803-212-6148 RossTurner@scsenate.gov
Danny Verdin, III 803-212-6230 SAgriComm@scsenate.gov
Floyd Nicholson 803-212-6040 FloydNicholson@scsenate.gov
Gleen G. Reese 803-212-6108 GlennReese@scsenate.gov
Scott Talley Send an Email
Shane R. Martin 803-212-6100 ShaneMartin@scsenate.gov
Harvey S. Peeler, Jr 803-212-6430 SMediComm@scsenate.gov
Wes Climer Send an Email
Greg Gregory 803-212-6024 GregGregory@scsenate.gov
Mike Fanning Send an Email
Ronnie W. Cromer 803-212-6330 RonnieCromer@scsenate.gov
John L. Scott, Jr 803-212-6124 JohnScott@scsenate.gov
John E. Courson 803-212-6250 SEduComm@scsenate.gov
Darrell Jackson 803-212-6048 DarrellJackson@scsenate.gov
Mia McLeod Send an Email
Katrina Frye Shealy 803-212-6108 KatrinaShealy@scsenate.gov
Tom Young, Jr 803-212-6000 TomYoung@scsenate.gov
Shane A. Massey 803-212-6148 ShaneMassey@scsenate.gov
Nikki G. Setzler 803-212-6140 NikkiSetzler@scsenate.gov
Vincent A. Sheheen 803-212-6032 VincentSheheen@scsenate.gov
Greg Hembree 803-212-6016 GregHembree@scsenate.gov
Gerald Malloy 803-212-6172 GeraldMalloy@scsenate.gov
Kent M. Williams 803-212-6000 KentWilliams@scsenate.gov
Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr 803-212-6640 SFinComm@scsenate.gov
Ronnie A. Sabb 803-212-6032 RonnieSabb@scsenate.gov
Luke A. Rankin 803-212-6410 SethicsComm@scsenate.gov
Stephen Goldfinch, Jr Send an Email
J. Thomas McElveen, III 803-212-6132 ThomasMcElveen@scsenate.gov
Kevin L. Johnson 803-212-6048 KevinJohnson@scsenate.gov
Larry Grooms 803-212-6400 STransComm@scsenate.gov
Sean Bennett 803-212-6116 SeanBennett@scsenate.gov
John W. Matthews 803-212-6056 JohnMatthews@scsenate.gov
Bradley Hutto 803-212-6140 BradHutto@scsenate.gov
Sandy Senn Send an Email
Marlon E. Kimpson 803-212-6124 marlonkimpson@scsenate.gov
Chip Campsen, III 803-212-6340 ChipCampsen@scsenate.gov
Paul G. Campbell 803-212-6016 PaulCampbell@scsenate.gov
Margie Bright Matthews 803-212-6056 margiematthews@scsenate.gov
Tom Davis 803-212-6008 TomDavis@scsenate.gov

Mental Health Advocacy – Remove Halloween Attractions Depicting Abuse of Mentally Ill

October 18th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy, Media, Published Media, Video 0 thoughts on “Mental Health Advocacy – Remove Halloween Attractions Depicting Abuse of Mentally Ill”

October 18th, 2016

Recently, Paton Blough has been working towards ending Halloween attractions that include portrayals of mentally ill individuals in asylums or prisons. Paton recently wrote an open letter to the Harvest of Horror at Denver Downs–an Upstate SC horror theme attraction for Halloween. This year’s Harvest of Horror had stereotypical depictions of mentally ill prison inmates and asylum wards that are offensive and disturbing to mentally ill people and their loved ones. Paton’s letter, which you can read here, requested that the Harvest of Horror change their attraction and apologize to mentally ill individuals who live in the area. The director of Denver Downs did agree to make some modifications to the attraction to compromise with Paton.

Paton was also featured on a news segment for WYFF News 4, which followed up on Paton after writing his letter, and he was able to state his mind on the situation. Paton was also able to write an op-ed piece for the Greenville News.

The time is now for mental health advocates and the general public to call for an end to Halloween attractions that include images of the mentally ill in asylums or prison infirmaries.

A lot of effort has been made here in South Carolina and around the country in recent years to lessen the stigma and improve the lives of those living with a mental illness. However, there is much more left to do and Halloween attractions that exploit the mistreatment of the mentally ill in straight jackets, strapped to chairs or in prison infirmaries are all too real and add to the existing stigma.

One of the attractions here in the Upstate has a prison theme complete with live actors in straight jackets and a room that depicts torturing the mentally ill. If this were fictional it may be OK, unfortunately we know here in South Carolina this is not the case.

Mental Health Advocates around the state fought for and won a landmark case known as the Judge Baxley order that has forced the S.C. Department of Corrections to change its unconstitutional conditions for the mentally ill.   The case outlined that inmates with bipolar and schizophrenia in some cases were spending more than five years in solitary confinement. The case graphically detailed how one inmate named Jerome Laudman died from lack of care surrounded by his rotting food trays and other things too disturbing to describe in this article. Thankfully the SC DOC has made many positive steps to the point of actually receiving an award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for its positive response to this case. Unfortunately this case does not apply to county jails.

Now, mental health advocates and the general public need this same leadership to openly denounce these stigmatizing Halloween attractions that take us backward, not forward.

This is a civil rights injustice! Would you pay to entertain and “scare” yourself by seeing African American people being enslaved and tortured? Would you pay to entertain yourself by visiting an attraction that scared you by taking you through the Auschwitz concentration camp or that depicted the Trail of Tears? People do not choose to be mentally ill any more than someone chooses to have heart disease or cancer.

Please stand up for the family of Jerome Laudman, others that have died and people like myself who have been in a straight jacket cuffed to a chair with a bag over my head, and demand public apologies from these attractions.

There are other ways to scare people without exploiting and capitalizing on the civil injustices to a group of individuals.

The writer is the founder of Rehinge and is a SC National Alliance on Mental Illness Board Member.

Paton was also featured in an article by the Washington Post on the issue as well, along side other mental health advocates throughout the nation. You can read the full article for this on the Washington Post’s website. Paton and Rehinge gives a big thanks to Colby Itkowitz for writing this fantastic article.

Paton Blough has been arrested during bipolar episodes. An activist for mental-health awareness, Blough sent an impassioned letter to the owner of Denver Downs Farm in Anderson, S.C., after hearing about a Halloween attraction that showed a prisoner handcuffed and in a straitjacket.

“Unfortunately, this is very real to me,” he said. “I’ve been strapped to beds and chairs in jails and hospitals.”

Blough’s letter persuaded Ron Smith, director of operations for the farm’s entertainment venues, to remove that aspect of the attraction.

“It really bothered him, so it wasn’t a big deal,” Smith said. “Some people thought it was silly, but regardless of what they thought, we didn’t even give it a second thought. We have 25 to 30 different scenes that’s part of the overall haunt, so removing one small aspect wasn’t a big deal.”

Rehinge Partnering with NAMI Greenville to Raise Funds for Orlando CIT

June 17th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy 0 thoughts on “Rehinge Partnering with NAMI Greenville to Raise Funds for Orlando CIT”

June 17th, 2016

Rehinge is partnering with NAMI Greenville to help provide funds to NAMI Orlando to help train Orlando police officers in CIT. We are looking to raise $2,500 for 35 officers to receive 40 hours of CIT training. This will ultimately help some of the officers involved with the recent incident. The CIT training includes discussions and resources for officers who may experience PTSD or other symptoms due to this tragedy.

To donate to the fund, please follow this link to the NAMI Greenville page.

Paton Blough Endorses Steve Loftis for Greenville Sheriff

June 4th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy, Media 0 thoughts on “Paton Blough Endorses Steve Loftis for Greenville Sheriff”

June 3rd, 2016

“After careful consideration, I have come to the point of endorsing Sheriff Steve Loftis. Recently Sheriff Loftis has personally taken on the roll of overseeing the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Training Initiative and will be fully committed to the NAMI supplied training. Despite a rocky start to our relationship many years ago, we have begun to work together at necessary and achievable goals within the mental health arena and law enforcement. I am honored to be involved with training his Deputies.” – Paton Blough, redhype-test.com/rehinge Founder and NAMI SC Board Member

In 2008 during one of Paton’s manic episodes, he was picked up on a nuisance charge. After being confined to a jail cell for several days with no medication. In a state of psychosis and needing medical treatment, Paton verbally threatened Sheriff Loftis (who was not present at the time). As a result of a deputy reporting the threat, Paton later served three years of probation and possesses a felony charge of “threatening the life of a public official”. This unfortunate incident is a glimpse of what propelled Paton to push for mental health change within our law enforcement.

Fast forward 8 years and multiple meetings with Sheriff Loftis, including attending the same church, they have forged a strengthened relationship. Paton is strategically involved with the CIT training for Sheriff Loftis’ officers for over 4 years.

Today, Paton has decided to endorse Sheriff Loftis due to his continued efforts and promise to implement officer training for identifying and deescalating mentally ill individuals. Paton foresees Sheriff Loftis being a positive force on continued and improved mental health reform in our Greenville community.

Paton on PBS – This is What It’s Like to be Arrested While Suffering Mental Illness

May 3rd, 2016 Posted by Advocacy, Media, Published Media, Video 0 thoughts on “Paton on PBS – This is What It’s Like to be Arrested While Suffering Mental Illness”

May 2nd, 2016

Paton was featured on the PBS News Hour last night where he was able to talk about his past with bipolar–mentioning his arrests and road to recovery.

Paton Blough has two labels he will have to bear for the rest of his life: “bipolar” and “convicted felon.” Having been arrested during his delusional episodes, Blough uses his experiences to help train police officers in crisis management when dealing with the mentally ill.

Introducing PatonBlough.com

May 3rd, 2016 Posted by Advocacy 0 thoughts on “Introducing PatonBlough.com”

Visit PatonBlough.com

We would like to introduce the new PatonBlough.com website! This a website presenting Paton Blough’s speaking services and message of hope for those with mental illness. Paton is working to spread information about Crisis Intervention Team training and his personal story of recovery across the country, and PatonBlough.com is working towards this goal! Please visit the website to learn more!

Visit PatonBlough.com

 

A Very Positive Hearing for H.5025 in the SC House Subcommittee

March 11th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy, Articles, Media, News Commentary, Published Media, Video 0 thoughts on “A Very Positive Hearing for H.5025 in the SC House Subcommittee”

March 11, 2016

Yesterday was an excellent day for SC House Bill H.5025 as it received a very positive hearing in front of the House committee. Paton Blough was a part of the hearing, and was also featured in a couple of local news outlets as they covered the bill. While H.5025 hasn’t passed in the House Committee yet, we are expecting that it will next week.

Paton and Rehinge would also like to give a huge thank you to Mike Woody, the president of CIT International, and NAMI Indiana for their hard work on creating the Indiana bill, SB380, that laid out the blue print for Bill H.5025, the Crisis Intervention Team Training Act.

From WSPA News Channel 7

A South Carolina House subcommittee passed a bill Thursday morning that would change the way police handle people with mental illness. Officers would be required to go through much more training on crisis intervention, and they would no longer transport to mental hospitals people who are not a danger to themselves or others. Instead, ambulances could transport those patients.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, says, “I think mental illness is a health care issue, and in those cases where the mentally ill person is not an actual danger to himself or to other people, that that person should be transported in an ambulance and not in the back of a patrol car handcuffed.”

From The State Online News

Health care and police advocates appearing before a S.C. House subcommittee on Thursday pushed for new state laws they said would help de-escalate potentially explosive confrontations between police and mentally ill people.

Requiring police officers to have special training for dealing with the mentally ill would benefit both police and the mentally ill, said Paton Blough, 39, a Greenville resident who told subcommittee members of his six encounters with police while mentally troubled.

“Three of those arrests went well; three of those arrests turned violent. I believe the times I was calmly arrested had to do with the way officers dealt with me and not a difference in my mental state,” Blough said.

“All six times, I was under the delusion I was a god and police were trying to murder me,” he said. “… The officers’ ability to slow down and control the situation through verbal techniques was the main factor in calming my fears of death.”

In recent years, Blough’s personal experiences with mental illness have turned him into a state and national spokesman on ways to defuse confrontations between mentally ill people and police, who are often the first responders to calls concerning mentally ill people who might pose a danger to themselves or others. A board member of National Alliance on Mental Illness South Carolina, Blough now controls his illness through medication and various cognitive techniques.

The bill that Blough supports would set up “crisis intervention teams” operated through the sheriff’s department in each county, with specially trained officers who know how to deal with the mentally ill. It would also require more training by law enforcement officers in how to deal with mentally ill people.

“Law enforcement, health care, the (S.C.) Department of Mental Health — everyone who deals with or touches a mentally ill issue — would be part of a team to create a statewide crisis intervention program,” said Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, chairman of the Constitutional Laws subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, in an interview after the hearing.

Help Support H.5025—The Sister Bill to The Crisis Intervention Team Training Act!

March 7th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy 1 thought on “Help Support H.5025—The Sister Bill to The Crisis Intervention Team Training Act!”

March 7, 2016

SC House bill, H.5025, is a sister bill to the SC Senate bill S.1078, the Crisis Intervention Team Training Act, which was introduced to the SC House by Representative Dan Hamilton. Bill H.5025 includes many of the same ideas as S.1078, such as requiring SC law enforcement to take Crisis Intervention Team training. This bill will establish a state wide assistance council for police training and community team building in regards to mental health and contains a mandate for every county to have such training. This is a bipartisan bill, like S.1078, that will help reform the treatment of mentally ill individuals in South Carolina.

A law enforcement officer […] in this State is required to complete Continuing Law Enforcement Education Credits (CLEEC) in mental health or addictive disorders each year of a three-year recertification period. The number of required annual CLEEC hours in mental health or addictive disorders shall be determined by the council, but must be included in the forty CLEEC hours required over the three-year recertification period. The training must be provided or approved by the academy and the Technical Assistance Training Council and must include, but is not limited to, the following curriculum: responding to crime scenes, responding to crisis situations in which an individual is experiencing a mental health or addictive disorder crisis, Fourth Amendment issues, incident-report writing, determining primary aggressors, dual arrests, victim and offender dynamics, victims’ resources, victims’ rights issues, interviewing techniques, mental health courts and mental health court programs, offender treatment programs, and recognizing special needs populations.

By attempting to push through a similar bill through the SC House, we give a better chance for one these bills, or a variation of both, passing both the SC House and Senate, and becoming law. Right now, H.5025 will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee for review before it will presented to the SC House. So, we need your help to contact the members of the SC House Judiciary Committee to urge them to pass H.5025 so that it can go on officially to the SC House.

Learn more about how you can contact the Judiciary Committee and let them know that they should support H.5025.

Rehinge Officially Endorses Governor Kasich for President

February 18th, 2016 Posted by Audio, Media, News Commentary, Published Media 1 thought on “Rehinge Officially Endorses Governor Kasich for President”

paton-kasichFebruary 18, 2016

Paton of Rehinge has officially endorsed Governor John Kasich for President. Governor Kasich also informed Rehinge that he would look into supporting federal bill HR1854, the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act; as well as contact Paul Ryan to ask for his support to present HR1854 to the House. Here is an article with fair journalism on John Kasich’s record for mental health issues.

In the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, he took the issue head on as he defended expansion of Medicaid in Ohio as important for helping people living “in the shadows.”

“I had an opportunity to bring resources back to Ohio. To do what? To treat the mentally ill,” Kasich told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators.

Paton was also able to speak with two radio hosts yesterday about his support for presidential nominee candidate, John Kasich, and his positive policies on mental health. First is the national radio show by Hugh Hewitt, who also recently moderated a GOP presidential national debate.

Paton on Hugh Hewitt’s National Radio Show

You can listen to the full show here.

Paton on The Tara Show

Paton was also able to speak about Kasich on The Tara Show.

You can listen to the full show here.

If you would like to support Governor Kasich’s Campaign, please do so here.

Advocacy Alert: The Crisis Intervention Team Training & Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Acts Need Your Support!

February 12th, 2016 Posted by Advocacy, Media 0 thoughts on “Advocacy Alert: The Crisis Intervention Team Training & Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Acts Need Your Support!”

February 12, 2016

The Crisis Intervention Team Training Act

Yesterday, February 12th, South Carolina senate bill, S.1078, the Crisis Intervention Team Training Act (CITTA), was introduced to the senate by Democratic Senator Vincent Sheheen who has partnered with Paton Blough and Rehinge to create this bill. This bill would require a mandate for all South Carolina law enforcement to take Crisis Intervention Team training as part of their education. CIT training teaches law enforcement how to better handle encounters with mentally ill individuals and people under the influence of drugs. CIT has been shown to greatly reduce violent interactions between police and mentally ill individuals, and helps provide proper care to mentally ill people as well. CITTA would also establish a state-wide council that will help manage CIT efforts in the state and help find grant funding for the program.

CITTA is already being cosponsored by Republican Senator Robert W. Hayes, Jr, which means this is a bipartisan bill that requires support from everyone. However, CITTA needs more co-sponsors—that’s where you come in! We need you to contact your local senators and urge them to help cosponsor this bill as well so that it can move further into the Senate. Your efforts helped pass the Mental Health Court Program Act last year, and we can do the same again this year for CIT. Click here to find a list of South Carolina Senators and their districts, along with their contact information. We have also provided an example message/letter/email for you to use to contact them with to push for the co-sponsorship of CITTA, S.1078.

The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act

However, there is a second bill that needs your support as well. Federal house bill HR1854 (formally HR731), the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act, needs your support as well. This bill was originally cosponsored by SC Congressional Representative Trey Gowdy last year. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act would renew a grant that will help fund mental health courts, CIT training, and other programs throughout the country, including South Carolina. This bill would help fund the Crisis Intervention Team Training Act, as well as the recently passed Mental Health Court Program Act that was passed in SC last year. Now we need to get this bill introduced to the Congressional House floor through Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. These two key house members need to present the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health act so that we can continue funding for these important mental health services!

The following is contact information for both Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, along with an example message/letter/email for you to use when contacting them. Together we can push through these two important pieces of legislation in South Carolina and the nation.

To the honorable Representative Paul Ryan or Representative Kevin McCarthy,

My name is YOUR NAME from YOUR LOCATION, SC, and I am writing you in regards to the House Bill HR1854, the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015. I am requesting that you please bring this bill to the House floor. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 would renew an important grant that helps provide funding to mental health care, addiction recovery and veteran care throughout the country, including crucial social programs such as mental health courts and crisis intervention team training. These programs have been proven to reduce recidivism rates, violent interactions between law enforcement and mentally ill individuals, provide care for highly vulnerable citizens, and save the states and the federal government millions of dollars in overspending.

Please do consider bringing the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 to the House floor in the near future, so that we can help the lives of millions of Americans who need the most care.

Sincerely,
YOUR NAME

Paul Ryan
202-225-3031
1233 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Send an Email: https://paulryan.house.gov/contact/email.htm

Kevin McCarthy
202-225-2915
2421 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC
Send an Email: https://kevinmccarthy.house.gov/contact

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About Rehinge

Rehinge exists to provide hope, education, and spiritual inspiration for all people affected with mental health issues and to fight stigma while pushing for global mental health reform.

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What People Are Saying

  • “It has been one of my greatest rewards as NAMI Greenville, SC Program Director to see your recovery from when we first met to your award as NAMI South Carolina’s Recovery Person of the Year to your appearance on the same stage with author Pete Early. I hope your book is every bit as successful as his has been.”

    Brian Lewis
    • Fletcher Mann
    • Program Director NAMI Greenville, SC
  • “It’s incredible. If you aren’t sure, always go for Cast. I don’t always clop, but when I do, it’s because of Cast. I made back the purchase price in just 48 hours!”

    Patrick Bates
    • Patrick Bates
    • CEO, SouthCentral
See all
  • “It has been one of my greatest rewards as NAMI Greenville, SC Program Director to see your recovery from when we first met to your award as NAMI South Carolina’s Recovery Person of the Year to your appearance on the same stage with author Pete Early. I hope your book is every bit as successful as his has been.”

    Brian Lewis
    • Fletcher Mann
    • Program Director NAMI Greenville, SC
  • “It’s incredible. If you aren’t sure, always go for Cast. I don’t always clop, but when I do, it’s because of Cast. I made back the purchase price in just 48 hours!”

    Patrick Bates
    • Patrick Bates
    • CEO, SouthCentral
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