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  • Friday, November 06, 2020 1:29 PM | Jen Russo (Administrator)

    I recently attended the HTA Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) community meeting, and I wanted to share the discussion points and their survey with you.


    Please take a moment to participate in the survey. I think this is a great way for vacation rental stakeholders to give input in this process. Right now the HTA is currently collecting responses where you can provide feedback and input on the proposed actions online at https://bit.ly/MauiDMAPForm this is due by Monday Nov. 9, 2020.


    The Maui steering committee group will be implementing ideas taken from this survey into the plan. The survey will ask you what island you are on and what your local zip code is. 


    Please take this opportunity to participate in their survey. One of the big goals of the process is to have a mutually satisfying experience in Hawaii for both the resident and the visitor, via maintaining or increasing value and revenues.


    Here’s what the proposed Anchor Action Summary is as discussed in the meeting.  


    • Respect for Natural & Cultural Resources
    • Initiate fund and continue programs to protect health of coral reefs, clean ocean water, native fish and marine wildlife as well as land based ecosystems and biosecurity
    • Support for Native Hawaiian Culture and Community
    • Develop and implement marketing with place based authenticity to attract visitors
    • Continue to offer cultural education and training programs to enhance and perpetuate aloha, malama and kuleana
    • Ensure Tourism and communities enrich each other
    • Ensure more direct benefits to residents from tourism
    • Implement resident communications programs to promote value of tourism
    • Develop & promote initiatives to improve experience of ground travel
    • Align infrastructure with county projections
    • Continue to reach out to the community to understand resident sentiment
    • Strengthen tourism contribution
    • Create county and or state cabinet position with hospitality background to provide tourism updates facilitate progress to residents and elected officials 
    • Implement a responsible tourism marketing communications promo to educate visitors.
    • Develop and implement new travel safety regulations
    • Island Resource Management
    • Increase funding for enforcement 
    • Implement policies to rebalance residents cost of living
    • Address impact of sea level rise
    • Work on reducing our reliance of tourism as our sole economic driver


    In this article https://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2020/10/survey-traffic-tops-list-of-tourism-problems/ traffic was at the top of everyone’s mind. It was also suggested that vacation rentals could be taxed more to ensure direct benefits to residents from tourism. I pointed out in the comments section of my survey that vacation rentals are already the highest taxed category bringing in the largest amount of money into the county via Real Property Tax. You can see the data here. Vacation Rentals were also mandated to shut down during the pandemic, with no funding relief.


    In addition, the short term rental classification is the largest contributor to the county Affordable Housing Fund annually. A better suggestion to ensure more direct benefits to residents occur from these payments is perhaps increase the ways the county appropriates these funds already collected to directly and positively impact residents.


    For more reading on the DMAP and the process go to https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/what-we-do/hta-programs/community-based-tourism/maui-nui/


  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020 8:15 PM | Jen Russo (Administrator)


    State and County Host and Guest Guidance

    The Hawaii State Department of Health Maui District Health Office has transmitted their Guidance for Lodgings to Safely Accommodate Guests who have or suspected to have COVID19.

    Click here to download the document. Its 5 pages long and describes the necessary steps and procedures of what is expected should your guest come down with COVID19 during their stay.



    County of Maui and the Maui Facilities and Engineering Leadership Council (MFELC) has partnered to provide additional information on best practices for opening up. (pictured above). You will find that document here.

    *


    Come Healthy | Stay Healthy |Leave Healthy

    Help Keep Maui County Healthy

    Maui County Accommodation Guidelines

    In partnering together for the safety of our guests and employees, Maui County is encouraging the following guidelines for hotel, condo and vacation rental operators:

    1. Provide Marketing materials to arriving guests with information about voluntary testing, locations and operating hours

    2. Provide for the safety of employees:

    a . Weekly testing of employees

    b. Provide employees the option of work areas where they will have no contact with guests

    c. Health coverage and additional time off if employee tests positive

    3. Work closely with the Hawaii State Department of Health Maui District Office for guests who test positive during their stay.

    To download this document click here.

    Maui County will also be asking visitors to voluntarily do a second test.

    --

    Vistors to Maui: What You Need To Know

    Hawaii State Department of Health and Maui District Health office has also created a document of recommendations and information to give to your guests. These include tips on booking during COVID19 as well as some logistics, what to expect and informational links.

    To download the document click here.

    --


    State and County Press Conference Highlights

    Courtesy of Maui Chamber of Commerce:

    Updated Maui County Travel Rules

    In addition to the Governor's updates on Trans-Pacific travelers today, Mayor Victorino also provide an update on Maui County travel rules (see the video here):

    Maui County will also be instituting a voluntary post-arrival test (for those who took the pre-test) 48-72 hours after arrival. This will be at no cost to travelers and they will receive a Kama'aina First Discount Card for participating to incentivize them taking a sWe understand that starting on 10/15 - intra-county travel within Maui County to/from Maui, Molokai, and Lanai will not require a 14 day quarantine or a pre-travel test.

    We also understand Maui County will start a pre-travel testing program on 10/15 for inter-county/inter-island travel, so if you are traveling from Oahu to Maui, you can take a pre-test 72 hours prior to arrival on Maui and be exempt from quarantine with a negative test.

    However, you will not be able to test out of quarantine. If you land on Maui and did not get a pre-test (whether transpacific or inter-island), you will have to spend the full 14 days in quarantine and cannot take a test to be released from quarantine.

    Maui County is moving forward with the pre-travel testing program for Trans-Pacific travel.econd test.

    If you are interested in featuring a discount program on Kama'aina First, please visit www.kamaainafirst.com

    If you are taking the pre-travel test within the State of Hawaii (for inter-island/inter-county travelers), they will be using Clinical Labs and Diagnostic Services.

    Currently Mayor Victorino is working with Governor Ige on exempting travelers from Maui who are going to Oahu for a day or overnight for medical purposes from the quarantine, but this has not yet been approved.

    Governor Ige and Lieutenant Governor Green gave a press conference earlier this afternoon to provide more details on the pre-travel testing program. (See the press conference video)

    All counties will participate in the pre-travel testing program.

    Maui County and Kauai County will have a voluntary post-arrival test for those arriving. Hawaii County will require all travelers to take an antigen test.

    The state is currently working with Japan on a pre-travel testing program.

    Maui County and Kauai County are going to implement a pre-travel testing program for inter-island traveling. So, those traveling interisland from Oahu to Maui/Kauai can get a pre-travel test prior to departure to avoid quarantine. More details will be released on this.

    The counties are working with the hospitality industry partners to encourage people to take a second test.

    In addition, the state will be conducting strategic surveillance testing where up to 10% of arriving visitors across the islands will be given a second test 4 days after arrival for the next 60 days. This is meant to ensure the program is working as it should.

    Visitors can go to HawaiiCOVID19.com or call 1-800-GOHAWAII for additional information.

    Only test results from the trusted partners will be accepted and additional trusted partners have been added such as Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.

  • Friday, October 09, 2020 9:32 AM | Jen Russo (Administrator)



    Mayor Victorino Announces Another Deferral

    We have made many suggestions for tax relief, tax rebates or tax exemptions to the County of Maui, and nothing has stuck. Real Property Tax department says they do not make changes to the tax rates or amounts once the budget is set. However the Real Property Tax department knows that property owners are struggling, and the County has just offered additional time on their deferment period.

    Here is the info from their press release:

    Mayor Michael Victorino has just authorized a 90-day extension, now to Nov. 19, 2020, for the deferral of the 10 percent penalty for Real Property Taxes that was due on Aug. 20, 2020, because of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Now, the deferral provides taxpayers from Aug. 20 to Nov. 19, 2020, to make payments without penalty. But, they are encouraged to pay their bills on time, as usual, to avoid the standard 1 percent monthly interest charge for unpaid balances after Aug. 31st. Previously, Mayor Victorino had granted a 60-day extension.

    “I hope this additional time will help our community cope with the financial impacts of COVID-19,” Mayor Victorino said. “We want to make sure our residents and businesses aren’t penalized for not being able to pay the full amount immediately due to financial hardship.”

    Tax penalty deferral details:

    • The deferral only impacts taxes due on Aug. 20, 2020
    • Taxpayers are now allowed to spread out payments from Aug. 20 through Nov. 19, 2020
    • All taxes due on Aug. 20 must be paid in full by Nov. 19 to avoid penalty
    • 1 percent interest on unpaid balances after Aug. 20 will not be waived; it will accrue monthly on Sept. 1, Oct. 1 and Nov. 1
    • Any outstanding balance owed as of Nov. 20, 2020, will be assessed the 10 percent penalty

    Note: Under the Maui County Code, the Director of Finance is allowed extensions of only up to 90 days. So, there will be no further extensions.

    Deferred payments may be sent to:

     

    County of Maui

    Department of Finance

    Treasury Division

    Real Property Tax Collection

    70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Suite A-18

    Kahului, HI 96732

    The Real Property Tax Collections Office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its phone number is (808) 270-7697.

    More information is available at www.mauipropertytax.com

  • Thursday, October 08, 2020 12:30 PM | Jen Russo (Administrator)



    Maui Will Open to Visitors October 15

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to express to Governor Ige, Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Mayor Victorino that they did not want mandatory secondary testing. As it stands right now the State is moving forward with their Pre-test trans-pacific travel program and they are not requiring second tests. You can see the Governor's press conference here:  facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/videos/265766994642511   Governor Ige said he remained committed to finding a safe and healthy way to bring back trans-pacific travelers. The state recommends going to the website HawaiiCOVID19.COM for more information

    At the press conference John DeFries, President & CEO, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority shed some light on what the new face of the visitor industry looks like.

    “ We have a whole new echelon of responsibility with our jobs,” says DeFries. It has to do with hygiene, sanitation, sterilization at standards that heretofore were reserved for clinics and hospitals. All in the name of keeping co-workers safe, work environments safe. All that so we can prepare to receive visitors who in turn must exhibit a level of responsibility and sensitivity toward our people as they come here and enjoy their vacation in the islands.”

    Hawaii Tourism Authority recommends going to GOHawaii.Com and checking out the new standards there and other travel resources for your business and informing your guests.

    Yesterday evening Managing Director Sandy Baz announced County of Maui is committed to the pre travel testing program and opening on Oct. 15. He also informed us travelers awaiting their pre-travel test results (if their results were not available at time of arrival) must quarantine at their place of lodging when they arrive. Approved pre-test quarantine hosts are hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, condo or legal transient vacation rentals. You can watch Maui County’s announcements here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=258519562164465.

    You can see the County statement in writing here: Press Release_County of Maui moving forward with Pre-Travel Testing Program_10.7.20.pdf

    You can require your guests to show their test results. You cannot request this information from the partner testing facilities, we can ONLY ask guests for their Covid test results. Homeowners are responsible for the guest quarantining if they don’t receive negative test results, or become sick while here. Our standing within our communities rely upon our vigilance and responsibility in this area. 

    Note, In a meeting with the administration, they informed us that arriving guests should have your permit number (if there is one associated with your rental) because they will be checking that information at the arrival gates. If you can send it with reservation confirmation information that would be great. This will ensure a smoother entry and quicker transaction as every passengers credentials are reviewed upon arrival to Maui.

    Another thing that the County is requesting is to inform your arriving guests of our own safety mandates here like wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance, please remain 6 feet apart, in addition to Maui's limit of groups of 10 or less in public spaces.



    The County is requesting from the State that resident’s travel within County of Maui be approved to opened up with no quarantine restrictions, and for interisland travel to reopen with a pre-travel testing program equivalent toTrans Pacific travel. 

    Current travel and testing partners with the state include include: AFC Urgent Care, Carbon Health, CityHealth Urgent Care, Color, CVS Health, Hawaiian Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Quest Diagnostics, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Vault Health and Walgreens and Alaska Airlines is in the final phase of getting approved.


  • Monday, October 05, 2020 12:24 PM | Jen Russo (Administrator)

    Update on the Molokai Case


    Our attorneys at Revere and Associate have filed the opposition to the County of Maui's motion to dismiss.

    You can read the opposition document here.

    The hearing before Judge Jill Otake is scheduled for November 13, 2020.

  • Monday, October 05, 2020 12:19 PM | Jen Russo (Administrator)



    MVRA Letter to Gov Ige

    I am sharing MVRA's letter that we set to Governor Ige last week. Feel free to utilize any of our suggestions or data in your letters to the Governor and Lt. Gov as well.

    A Message from RBOAA

    Rental By Owner Awareness Association (RBOAA) has sent over an urgent Call to Action that we would like to support. RBOAA is an unrelated organization, but we work closely together and share similar goals. Here is the the gist of the message:

    As most of you hopefully know, Governor Ige on September 16 cautiously reopened tourism starting October 15 when pre-travel testing will allow visitors to bypass the mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival in Hawaii. There are many state rules and what-ifs, and the counties may have their own rules, so please read up on these prior to taking bookings or planning any trips.

    A potential problem has arisen because the county mayors have since decided that they want all arrivals to take a second test within 72 hours of arrival. During those proposed 72 hours, all arriving would need to remain quarantined, and on Maui at least, that means travelers (though not owners) would need to stay in quarantine-approved accommodations (which excludes the majority of vacation rentals). Additionally, as homeowners we may be responsible for a fine if our guests were to stay in our vacation rentals during their quarantine. Some local groups have also been lobbying the Governor to adopt a two test policy.

    Here are links to media reports with two county mayors of Maui and Kauai on record pushing for the second test.

     

    Maui Mayor Victorino 

    https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/video/2020/10/02/maui-mayor-mike-victorino-explains-how-nd-test-travelers-would-work/

     

    Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami 

    https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/10/02/kauai-mayor-asks-governor-ok-require-second-covid-test-all-arrivals/

     

    Hawaii Lt Governor Josh Green is on record opposing the second test as it will severely reduce the number of visitors who will come. 

    https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/10/01/live-lt-gov-josh-green-discuss-details-testing-program-trans-pacific-visitors/

     

    It sounds like the mayors need the Governor's approval to implement the second test requirement.

     

    URGENT: We ask that you, TODAY, send out three emails voicing your concern that legal vacation rentals (a large part of the tourism economy) are being now pushed out of the reopening equation AND also that this second test will severely restrict the restarting of the tourism economy.

     

    1.  Contact your county's mayor and voice your concern. 


    2.  Contact Governor David Ige https://governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/

    3.  Contact Lt Governor Josh Green https://ltgov.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-lieutenant-governor/

     


    In addition there is a petition started by HomeyHawaii.com that you can sign:


    Maui


    https://www.change.org/p/hawaii-governor-david-y-ige-request-gov-ige-to-deny-maui-s-additional-quarantine-request


    It will also help to ask people to write a comment under Josh Green’s FB video. He is against the second test but many of the comments are criticizing him.


    https://www.facebook.com/LtGovJoshGreen


  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:05 AM | Jen Russo (Administrator)




    Thank you to all the stakeholders who submitted their testimony both written and oral for today’s meeting. A big Mahalo to the planning department for meeting with us, and RAM, and amending their presentation with some of our suggestions. Your words and voices are so important, because only you folks know the state of the industry, and can speak to what changes to the ordinance could result here on Maui. Many of us stated the unintended consequences that could be associated with the proposed legislation and the commissioners and the County heard the message. 

    There were a lot of procedural revisions that we supported in this legislation, but unfortunately these were tied to other restrictions, like adding the 15 years ownership for STRH or the 5 years ownership and construction to B&B applications. The language on the trusts still needed work, in order to be sure beneficiaries were not left out.

    The commissioners along with the director of the planning department, Michele McLean said their recommendation is to defer this bill. The department will make edits detailed by the director, McLean:

    “Allow Jacky and me to make the changes we included in the powerpoint, 

    • Eliminating the proposed changes to B&Bs including the 5 year owner and construction requirement, 
    • Removing the 15 year requirement for STRH and leaving that as is at 5 years
    • Removing the property tax as prima facie evidence from B&B and STRH
    • Working some more with corp counsel on the trust language, taking into account some of the testimony that we saw
    • Clarifying that ads should use TMK not physical addresses
    • Clarify that each lot gets one vote per lot, pertaining to the changes in mailing notifications and letters that come in 
    • Clarify what the changes mean for existing permit holders,

    Those were the main takeaways that I got from the meeting with MVRA, RAM and written and oral testimony.

    So what we will do is work on the bill and coordinate one last time with MVRA and RAM and then we can post that, and schedule it again at a future meeting.”

    After the unanimous vote to support the deferment, Chair Carnicelli added, “I want to say thank you to all the testifiers, everybody that submitted written and oral testimony, its greatly appreciated. Its always good to see the community come out and have their voices heard and make a better mousetrap. So thank you to everybody.”

    If you missed the meeting and you would like to see the deliberations and vote check our youtube channel for this short 8 minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3MZXN6zN0Y


  • Monday, September 14, 2020 10:59 AM | Jen Russo (Administrator)



    A big mahalo to everyone that joined us for the first MVRA Zoom meeting last week Thursday. We have confirmation that the proposed changes to the B&B and Short Term Rental ordinances are on the Planning Commission agenda for September 22, 2020 at 9am.


    Please send in testimony with your feelings on the proposed ordinance changes, and state that we do not think this is the right time for changing the ordinance. The changes should be deferred and more information should be gathered, like determining what Maui’s visitor industry looks like after COVID restrictions have been lifted. Right now with the current closures we don’t know what the future is going to be like when we reopen. We need time, and we don’t want to eliminate any economic opportunities that could be critical to our county.


    We will be holding another zoom meeting this Thursday September 17th, at 11am HST to discuss further, please register at https://mvra.net/event-3979381


    Planning Meeting agenda:

    https://www.mauicounty.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/27623


    Link to the Planning Department’s Report and the proposed legislation

    https://www.mauicounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/123923/092220_Agenda-Item-B2_Amendments-to-Chapters-Short-Term-Rental-Bill_memo


    Here is how you can get involved:


    • Join our Zoom meeting: We have a meetup scheduled this Thursday September 17th, at 11am HST to discuss further, please register at https://mvra.net/event-3979381.


    • Submit Written Testimony: To provide written testimony, email comments to planning@mauicounty.gov by noon, one business day before the meeting to ensure distribution to the commission.


    • Oral Testimony via Phone: To listen to the meeting or provide oral testimony via phone, dial 1-888-748-9073 (toll free) or 1-408-915-6290 or 1-408-740-7256 and enter code: 696 111 670. At the beginning of the meeting each testifier will be given 3 minutes to testify per agenda item they are testifying on. 


    • Video Testimony via BlueJeans: If you would prefer to give video testimony via video conferencing software, you can join the meeting via BlueJeans using the following link: https://maui.bluejeans.com/696111670. Note: Download the Bluejeans app ahead of time by clicking that link. It seems to work better if you download the app first ahead of time. 



    Submit written testimony by 5pm Friday September 18, 2020 to planning@mauicounty.gov

     

    Because of social distancing all meetings are done over your computer or phone. No driving to Wailuku needed! All you have to do is click the link below to attend this meeting next week Tuesday, September 22, 2020 a few minutes before 9am.



  • Wednesday, August 26, 2020 8:37 AM | Jen Russo (Administrator)


    Thank you to everyone who participated and reached out to the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee Council of the County of Maui. At today’s meeting the committee heard and took into consideration the concerns we had about property rights with regard to item (PSLU-59) Transient Vacation Rentals in the Apartment, Light Industrial, and Heavy Industrial Districts. The committee voted to amend the language in section G item 2 where it reads the qualifying criteria for TVRs. The amendments include “or payment of TAT and GET taxes” and the effective date the building needs to show that use changes to the date of the bill passage, instead of January 1, 2020. These amendments and the item passed with 6 affirmative votes, with council member Kelly King excused. (if you want to read why we asked for language changes go here)

    The next step for item (PSLU-59) Transient Vacation Rentals in the Apartment, Light Industrial, and Heavy Industrial Districts is the PSLU committee will create report and that will be heard at a future County Council meeting.

    Item Moratorium on Transient Accommodation Permits on Lana`i (PSLU-72) had a unanimous vote of 7 in favor of this bill. The committee will write a report for this item to be taken up at a future County Council meeting. Currently there are no bed and breakfast operations on Lana’i and there are 19 STRH permits operating on Lana’i and 1 permit pending in the que. Also to note, the Lana’i Planning Commission is working on its own set of changes in the B&B and STRH ordinances specific to Lana’i, that will be heard in the future. 

    A video excerpt of todays meeting is available on the MVRA youtube channel

    The Loophole bill is on the agenda 

  • Monday, August 24, 2020 9:43 AM | Jen Russo (Administrator)


    We have another update on the Minatoya Loophole bill, it will be on the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee Agenda as item PSLU-59 this Wednesday at 9am.

    I am going to paraphrase the information that the Realtor Association of Maui (RAM) sent out, because their information was concise and to the point: 

    We would like to see a change in the language in Section G 2, because that language could potentially threaten the property rights of a small subsection of non-condominium properties that have lawfully been conducting short-term rentals pursuant to permitted uses in the A-1 and A-2 zoning district, but have not been categorized in the Short-Term Rental real property tax class.


    MVRA is supporting the proposed amendment from RAM: 

    that MCC 19.12.020(G)(2) be replaced with the following language instead

    “Transient vacation rental use was conducted in any lawfully existing dwelling unit within the building or structure prior to January 1, 2021, as determined by real property tax class or payment of transient accommodations tax.”

    By adding these two details highlighted above into the language of the bill we can protect the property rights of the owners, increase Short Term Rental tax class without a net increase in TVR operators, and accomplish the goal of keeping non-TVR condominiums from converting to TVR use based on an old loophole.

    Please send your own two-cents in to help get this change in the language included in the bill.

    Here is what you can do:

    1. Submit Written Testimony: Written testimony should be submitted no less than 24 hours before the meeting via email to: pslu.committee@mauicounty.us . I've attached a copy of RAM’s testimony, but I would recommend drafting your own individual testimony. 
    2. Oral Testimony via Phone: Oral testimony can be provided via telephone by dialing in to 1-408-915-6290 and entering meeting code 994 504 421. At the beginning of the meeting each testifier will be given 3 minutes to testify per agenda item they are testifying on. 
    3. Video Testimony via BlueJeans: If you would prefer to give video testimony via videoconferencing software, you can join the meeting via BlueJeans using the following link: https://bluejeans.com/994504421
    4. View Live: If you don't want to testify but you still want to see what happens, you can watch the meeting live on Akaku Channel 53 or online using links at http://mauicounty.us/agendas/
    5. Contact Your Council Representative: As always, you should feel free to reach out directly to your local County Council representatives on any issue using the following info:
    • Alice Lee, Chair: alice.lee@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-7760
    • Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, Council Vice Chair: keani.rawlins@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-7678
    • Tasha Kama, Presiding Officer Pro Tempore: tasha.kama@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-5501
    • Riki Hokama, Councilmember: riki.hokama@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-7768
    • Kelly King, Councilmember: kelly.king@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-7108
    • Mike Molina, Councilmember: mike.molina@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-5507
    • Tamara Paltin, Councilmember: tamara.paltin@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-5504 <- Chair of the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee
    • Shane Sinenci, Councilmember: shane.sinenci@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-7246 <- Vice Chair of the Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee
    • Yuki Lei Sugimura, Councilmember: yukilei.sugimura@mauicounty.us, (808) 270-7939

    If you have any questions or need more information email us at membership@mauivacationrentalassociation.org

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