Hailstorm on the road in a summer day

How To Stay Safe If Your Caught On The Road In A Hailstorm

With all of the crazy weather we have in our area, here is some great suggestions on how to safe when you are caught on the road during a storm.

Texas is known for some severe weather.  It can cause fear in even the most seasoned of drivers, but being prepared in advance can help alleviate that fear.  If you’re caught driving in a hailstorm, you can always get to safety in short order, but there are precautionary steps you can take. Driving during one of these disastrous storms can be terrifying and has the potential of causing accidents, injury, and sometimes worse.  Be aware of your surroundings, and if you suspect that a hail storm is on its way, try to make arrangements to get off the road at your earliest and safest convenience.  If you’re unable to do so, here are some tips for staying safe on Texas roads when driving in a hailstorm:

  • Turn on your low beam headlights. reduce your speed, and maintain awareness of other vehicles.
  • If you have to continue driving until you can find safety, give yourself three times the normal distance between your vehicle and the one ahead, to avoid any rear-end collisions.
  • Pull over to the side of the road or the nearest spot with shelter and stay inside the vehicle.  However, do not park under an overpass and impeded the flow of traffic. With the high rate of speed that hail falls at, people are easily injured in its path.  This may also mitigate damage to your windshield or windows. since driving can compound the impact.  Also, if you’re on the shoulder of the road, ensure your vehicle is completely out of the line of traffic.
  • Avoid ditches due to the possibility of rising water.
  • If possible, ensure your vehicle is such that the hail hits the front of it.  With reinforced glass, windshields are able to better withstand the pelting of some hail.
  • If you’re able to, lie down in the vehicle, with your back to the windows.  And, if one is handy, cover yourself with a blanket to prevent injury from possible debris.

Stay Safe!

Source: texashillcountry.com

Can Your Unlicensed Assistant Do That? – TexasRealtors.com

Along with setting rules for licensees, the Texas Real Estate Commission also governs what your unlicensed assistants can do on your behalf. The latest Texas REALTORS® legal explainer video tests your knowledge of what tasks your unlicensed assistant can handle and what you as the licensee need to take care of yourself.

Source: www.texasrealtors.com

house graphic republic title

Texas Housing Insight

Here is a great post from Texas A&M Real Estate Center regarding home sales for September.


Seasonally adjusted Texas housing sales decreased 2 percent in September from August after hovering around record levels the previous two months. Low mortgage rates and steady employment growth, however, supported ongoing housing demand, as exemplified by increased mortgage applications and a rise in the state’s homeownership rate. The average home continued to sell after just two months on the market. On the supply side, increased single-family permits, housing starts, and lot development indicate positive momentum for future construction. Presently, however, available inventories remain constrained, putting upward pressure on home prices, which have persistently outpaced wages. Affordability remains a primary challenge to the Texas home market, but the extended national and state economic expansion supports a favorable outlook.


The Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction activity, ticked up with industry labor market improvements. The Residential Construction Leading Index rose to its highest level since the Great Recession amid falling interest rates and upward-trending building permits and housing starts. This suggests higher levels of construction in the coming months.

Supply-side activity accelerated at the earliest stage of the construction cycle with a 29.7 percent quarterly increase in the number of new vacant developed lots (VDLs) in the four major Metropolitan Statistical Areas. DFW’s VDLs accounted for much of the surge, rebounding after a year-long decline. The correction occurred primarily in the $200,000-$500,000 range. Improvements in North Texas and San Antonio boosted their VDLs to post-recession record levels. Lot development in San Antonio and Houston picked up for homes selling for less than $300,000; activity targeted for higher-priced homes in Houston, however, pulled back. New VDLs reached an all-time high in Austin following three straight quarterly increases.

As VDLs surged upward, single-family construction permits hovered at a post-recession record high, increasing 9.9 percent quarter over quarter (QOQ). Permit activity through September, however, remained 2 percent below levels in the first nine months of 2018. Texas’ 10,193 monthly permits (nonseasonally adjusted) accounted for 17 percent of the national total. The Lone Star State led the nation in total permits but ranked sixth in per capita issuance. On the metropolitan level, Houston topped the list with 3,371 permits, followed by DFW with 3,058. Central Texas extended a steep upward trend, issuing 1,440 and 737 permits in Austin and San Antonio, respectively.

Total Texas housing starts rose 6.3 percent QOQ as momentum shifted from the multifamily to single-family sector based on Metrostudy data. Approximately 24,000 single-family homes broke ground in the Texas Urban Triangle, rebounding to solid first-quarter levels. Half of the increase occurred in the constrained $200,000-$400,000 price range. Trending similar to VDLs, Austin single-family starts maintained a solid pace upward, while Houston held steady at its year-long average. San Antonio activity showed moderate improvement. DFW was the exception, with starts decreasing slightly following a year-long period of downward VDL and permit adjustments. Corroborating improved residential construction, single-family private construction values increased 3 percent during the third quarter. The trend, however, remained flat except in San Antonio.

Despite increased housing starts, Texas’ months of inventory (MOI) held steady at 3.6 months. A total MOI around six months is considered a balanced housing market. The MOI for homes priced less than $300,000, which comprised two-thirds of sales, balanced below 2.8 months. Inventory for luxury homes (those priced more than $500,000), however, increased for the fifth consecutive month to 8.4 months. These divergent trends exemplify the shortage of affordable housing and the current mismatch between demand and supply.

Inventory in the major metros were even more constrained than the statewide average. The MOI fell to year to date (YTD) lows of 2.3 and 3.1 months in Austin and Dallas, respectively. Fort Worth’s and San Antonio’s metrics eased slightly after a three-month slide in both locales but hovered at 2.5 and 3.5 months, respectively. The exception was Houston, where the MOI remained at 3.9 months.


Total housing sales fell 2 percent in September but maintained an upward trajectory amid lower mortgage rates and solid job market conditions. Meanwhile, existing-home sales, which make up 80 percent of total sales, decreased 2.6 percent. Nonseasonally adjusted total sales increased 8.6 percent from September 2018; after accounting for the number of business days, however, sales increased only 4.5 percent over the same period.

According to Metrostudy data, third quarter new home sales approached 25,000 in the Texas Urban Triangle for the first time since 2007, corroborating the overall strength of the state’s housing market. An increase in new-home transactions priced $300,000-$400,000 comprised over half of the quarterly improvement. Austin sold a record level 4,783 new homes during the third quarter, surpassing 20 percent year-over-year (YOY) growth. San Antonio maintained sales pace of 15 percent YOY, accounting for 3,200 new-home transactions. Dallas and Houston constituted more than two-thirds of the new home purchases, selling 9,015 and 7,712, respectively.

Texas’ average days on market (DOM) held steady at 60 days. The metrics in Dallas and Houston, where over 40 percent of statewide sales take place, remained unchanged at 56 and 59 days, respectively. Fort Worth’s DOM paused after reaching a four-year high in August of 45 days. On the other hand, Central Texas reached YTD lows of 52 and 56 days in Austin and San Antonio, respectively.

In an environment of extended economic expansion and steady job growth, Texas’ homeownership rate increased to 63 percent in 3Q2019. The national rate held firmly higher at 64.8 percent. Homeownership is persistently lower in the major metros but trended upwards. DFW ranked first among the metropolitan areas with 62.1 percent of occupied housing units being owner-occupied. Austin and Houston each posted 61.6 percent homeownership. San Antonio’s homeownership rate was 60.4 percent amid a decrease in apartment vacancy rates. The contrasting trends may indicate a recent inclination of households to rent rather than buy.

Better than expected U.S. economic data and a slightly optimistic outlook on U.S.-China trade talks slowed the downward slide in interest rates. Although long-term rates remained lower than those for short-term instruments, current economic fundamentals at the state and national level are healthy and stable. Short-term interest rates could fall further following the Federal Reserve’s third rate cut of the year in October. The ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield inched up to 1.7 percent after falling to a three-year low of 1.6 percent in August. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate flattened at 3.6 percent. Texans capitalized on lower rates, pushing mortgage applications for home purchases up 28.3 percent YTD. Refinance mortgage applications, which are more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations, have more than doubled since year end.


The Texas median home price increased for the fourth consecutive month, reaching $243,800 for an annual growth rate of 5.1 percent. Although home-price appreciation accelerated, growth was below the double-digit levels YOY reached as recently as 2017. Austin led the metros in terms of median home price at $327,300. North Texas followed with a median price of $297,000 and $247,300 in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. Houston’s metric balanced at $246,800. The San Antonio median price increased to $236,000 but remained the lowest among the major MSAs.

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index increased 3.8 percent YOY, decelerating from 3Q2018’s annual growth rate of 4.1 percent. The index’s growth, however, continued to outpace wage improvement, exacerbating affordability struggles. Similar to home-price appreciation, Austin’s index posted the greatest YOY increase of 4.6 percent. Fort Worth’s and San Antonio’s metrics decelerated from year-ago levels, registering 4.2 and 4.1 percent growth, respectively. The Dallas index increased 2.9 percent YOY while Houston’s rose 2.4 percent.

Click here for the full report.

Source – James P. Gaines, Luis B. Torres, Wesley Miller, and Paige Silva (November 1, 2019)


DFW Real Estate, Housing Market, Title Insurance, Title Company

Time Change This Weekend

Don’t forget that the time changes this weekend.  Remember to set you clocks back on hour on Saturday night. These spring and fall clock changes continue a long tradition started by Benjamin Franklin to conserve energy.

Below is a look at its history, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change.

When does daylight saving time start and end?

Historically, daylight saving time has begun in the summer months and ended for winter, though the dates have changed over time as the U.S. government has passed new statutes, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO).  

Starting in 2007, DST begins in the United States on the second Sunday in March, when people move their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time (so at 2 a.m. on that day, the clocks will then read 3 a.m. local daylight time). Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November, when clocks are moved back an hour at 2 a.m. local daylight time (so they will then read 1 a.m. local standard time).

This year, DST began on March 10 and will end on Nov. 3, 2019. You will then move your clock forward an hour on March 8, 2020, and the cycle will begin again.

How did daylight saving time start?

Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and so wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his “discovery” that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.

Even so, DST didn’t officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.

Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. (It’s a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it “War Time.” [Learn more about the crazy history of Daylight Saving Time]

After the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to chaos. And in 1966, to tame such “Wild West” mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn’t have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.

Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing.

Why do we still have daylight saving time?

Fewer than 40 percent of the world’s countries observe daylight saving time, according to timeanddate.com. However, those who do observe DST take advantage of the natural daylight in the evenings. That’s because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice. During the summer, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun (at least its top half). [Read more about the science of summer.]

Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.

Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it’s dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.

Energy savings

The nominal reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first instituted in the United States during World War I, and then reinstituted again during World War II, as a part of the war effort. During the Arab oil embargo, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time in an attempt to save energy. 

But the evidence for energy savings is slim. Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time in 2007. But lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, so lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than it was a few decades ago. Heating and cooling probably matter more, and some places may need air-conditioning for the longer, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.

Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half of a percent of what would have otherwise been used on each of those days. However, Hadley said, the effect of the entire months-long stretch of daylight saving could very well have the opposite effect. A 1998 study in Indiana before and after implementation of daylight saving time in some counties found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia’s daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics of 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.

Part of the trouble with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, making before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science. The 2007 extension of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks’ time. The changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.

Ultimately, Hadley said, the energy question probably isn’t the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time, anyway.    

“In the vast scheme of things, the energy saving is not the big driver,” he said. “It’s people wanting to take advantage of that light time in the evening.” 

Who observes daylight saving time? (And who doesn’t?)

Most of the United States and Canada observe DST on the same dates. But of course, there are exceptions. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, does follow DST, according to NASA.

And, every year there are bills put forth to get rid of DST in various states, as not everyone is keen on turning their clocks forward an hour. In 2018, Florida’s Senate and House passed legislation called the Sunshine Protection Act (a PDF of the legislation) that would ask the U.S. Congress to exempt the state from the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act. If approved, Florida would remain in DST year-round. In order to allow Florida’s year-round DST, however, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act (15 U.S.C. s. 260a) to authorize states this allowance, according to The New York Times.

In the fall of 2018, California voted in favor of Proposition 7 that would attempt to repeal the annual clock changes. Next, the state legislature needs to vote on the proposition, followed by the Congress, according to an article on Vox.

Other states have also proposed exemptions from the federal time act. For instance, Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, introduced Senate Bill 206 into the Senate State Administration Committee in February 2017, which would exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keeping the state on standard time year-round, according to the bill. Three bills put forth in 2017 in Texas aimed to abolish DST for good: House Bill 2400, Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 95, according to the broadcast company kxan. Nebraskans may be off the hook for clock changes as well. In January 2017, state Sen. Lydia Brasch, a Republican of Bancroft, proposed a bill called LB309 to eliminate daylight saving time in the state, according to the bill.

Some regions of British Columbia and Saskatchewan don’t change their clocks. These include the following areas in British Columbia: Charlie Lake, Creston (East Kootenays), Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Taylor; In Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, according to NASA.

Most of Europe currently observes daylight saving time, called “summer time,” which begins at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends (winter time) at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October. However, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll found that 84 percent of 4.6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If the lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members could decide to keep the EU in summer time or winter time, according to the WSJ.

The United Kingdom moved their clocks forward on March 31, 2019, and will move them back again to standard time on Oct. 27, according to the U.K. government. 

The DST-observing countries in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa — set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April timeframe.

Australia, being such a big country (the sixth-largest in the world), doesn’t follow DST uniformly: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not, according to the Australian government. Clocks in the observing areas spring forward an hour at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in October and push back an hour at 3 a.m. local daylight time on the first Sunday in April.

Russia instituted year-round daylight saving time in 2011, or permanent “summer time,” which seemed dandy at first. But in the depths of winter, sunrise occurred at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time,” said. This meant Russians had to start their days in the cold, pitch-dark. The permanent summer is coming to an end, however, as now Russian president Vladimir Putin abolished DST in 2014, according to BBC News. As such, the country will remain in “winter time” forever, or until another law is passed.

Myths and interesting facts

  • Turns out, people tend to have more heart attacks on the Monday following the “spring forward” switch to daylight saving time. Researchers reporting in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, found that heart attacks increased 24 percent on that Monday, compared with the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
  • Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which anyplace could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, he or she would pass through no fewer than seven time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
  • A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that during the week following the “spring forward” into DST, mine workers got 40 minutes less sleep and had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries than they did during any other days of the year.
  • Pets notice the time change, as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, say, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, an Australia-based research and development organization.
  • The fact that the time changes at 2 a.m. at least in the U.S., may have to do with practicality. For instance, it’s late enough that most people are home from outings and setting the clock back an hour won’t switch the date to “yesterday.” In addition, it’s early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers, according to the WebExhibits, an online museum.

Source: https://www.livescience.com/amp/56048-daylight-saving-time-guide.html



Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At Desk

MISMO Unveils Remote Online Notarization Standards

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At Desk

MISMO has announced the release of its Remote Online Notarization (RON) standards, which will enable the use of audio-visual communication devices to notarize documents in a virtual online environment. 

MISMO’s RON standards were updated to include language to preclude the storage of personally identifiable information. The standards support model legislation that was developed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the American Land Title Association (ALTA), which multiple U.S. states are now using to enact RON laws in their jurisdictions. MISMO noted that some states with RON legislation have already utilized draft versions of the MISMO RON standards to implement their state law. 

MISMO released the standards for a public comment period that runs through Aug. 12, at which point the standards will be moved to Candidate Recommendation status if substantive comments are received in the comment period. The Candidate Recommendation status means the RON standards are ready for broad use across the entire residential mortgage industry. 

“With states across the country enacting remote online notarization laws, MISMO’s standards will support greater consistency as the volume of remote online notarial transactions increases,” said Eddie Oddo, Vice President of Corporate Business Solutions at First American Title Insurance Company, and co-chair of MISMO’s Remote Online Notarization Workgroup. “We’re excited about this next stage in the standards process and look forward to seeing lenders, title companies, software vendors, and notaries leverage RON standards to offer borrowers a more secure and efficient closing process.” 

MISMO’s announcement was also welcomed by David Burner, Strategic Planning and Partnership Manager at Notarize, a Boston-based platform for legal online notarization. 

“We are really excited that MISMO put together the standards for the industry,” said Burner. “There is so much talk about online notarization that sometimes it can be confusing. This was a collaborative effort among different stakeholders, and without MISMO this would not have happened.”

Source: https://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news/71822/mismo-unveils-remote-online-notarization-standards

DFW Area Haunted Houses

It is that spooky time of year!  So if you dare, here are some of our areas best haunted houses.

The Parker House

8550 W University Drive, Denton, Texas
Price: $25 general admission and $40 for Fast Scare Pass. Tickets can be purchased online or onsite (cash only)
Dates: Fridays-Saturdays in October, with extended dates near Halloween

Reindeer Manor

410 Houston School Road, Red Oak, Texas
Price: Starting at $35, with various combo and family options available
Dates: Fridays-Saturdays in October, with extended dates near Halloween

Six Flags Fright Fest

2201 E Road to Six Flags Street, Arlington, Texas
Price: Daily GA tickets start at $82.99; haunted house passes are $29.99
Dates: Thursdays-Sundays in October, with extended dates near Halloween


2511 FM 66, Waxahachie, Texas
Price: GA tickets start at $32 plus fees and $20 extra for fast passes; group discount tickets are $30 each
Dates: Fridays-Saturdays through October; open 7:30pm-1:30am

Moxley Manor

510 Harwood Road, Bedford, Texas
Price: GA starts at $25; $40 for Fast Passes
Dates: Fridays-Sundays in October, plus extended dates around Halloween

Hangman’s House of Horrors

4400 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth, Texas
Price: GA tickets start at $24 with various packages available
Dates: Fridays-Sundays in October, with extended dates closer to Halloween

Dark Hour

701 Taylor Drive, Plano, Texas
Price: GA tickets start at $30, with various packages available
Dates: Fridays-Saturdays in October, with extended dates closer to Halloween

Cutting Edge Haunted House

1701 E Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas
Price: GA tickets start at $34.99
Dates: Fridays-Sundays in October with extended hours the week of Halloween. Open times are either 7pm or 8pm depending on the date

Source: https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/dallas/haunted-houses-in-dallas

Republic Title Lakewood Hosts 11th Annual Pink Party Benefiting The Bridge Breast Network

On October 3rdRepublic Title Lakewood hosted their 11th annual Pink Party for a Cause with all proceeds benefiting The Bridge Breast Network, an East Dallas organization providing healthcare to breast cancer patients.

“Republic Title is a big supporter of the Bridge Breast Network and the work they do in our community,” said Republic Title’s Cindy Maya, “We are thrilled that our Pink Party for a Cause benefits such a worthy cause and couldn’t have done it without our generous customers and donors. This is our 11th year of hosting the event and it has been so exciting to watch it grow with this year’s event raising over $12,000!”.

All proceeds raised at Republic Title’s Pink Party for a Cause benefit The Bridge Breast Network, whose mission is to save lives by providing access to diagnostic and treatment services for breast cancer to low income, uninsured and underinsured individuals.

“It truly takes a village for a program like Bridge Breast Network to achieve our mission. The $12,000 raised at the Republic Title Pink Party will provide lifesaving mammograms for 80 women. Early detection is the key to survival. Together our two organizations are building bridges of hope by providing mammograms for uninsured women.” said Terry Wilson-Gray, Executive Director of the Bridge Breast Network.

For more information on The Bridge Breast Network, visit www.bridgebreast.org.

Click here to view pictures from Republic Title’s Pink Party.

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