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Maybe this Christmas add a little family nostalgia to the menu by fixing a special holiday dish of Grandma's or of your heritage with perhaps a German or French themed dish. Lay out the old family album for family members to thumb through after the meal. Hang up live mistletoe to see who will go through special efforts to avoid it. Decorate your tree with old ornaments, tinsel, hand cut sugar cookies or stringed popcorn and cranberries.

Or maybe suggest a traditional outing. The Christmas Country Church Tour is a wonderful self-guided tour of thirty-two uniquely beautiful country churches in Bollinger county, northern Cape Girardeau county and Perry county. In its 13th holiday season the Christmas Country Church Tour has grown beyond the county lines of Perry County, Missouri. From little one-room white clad buildings to brick and mortar masterpieces see these century old structures each of them adorned in the spirit of Christmas. From German Lutherans, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians to German Catholic, Baptist and Methodist. Hear the choirs, listen to the music, learn the history of how these churches started generations ago with nothing more than the determination and faith of the people who immigrated here and built them. Slow down from the holiday hustle and bustle, get back to the real meaning of the season, sample one or all of the homemade cookies and enjoy the down home hospitality of those you will meet along the way as you travel from one community and country church to the other. Describe by some as a holiday treasure hunt consider making it your next tradition.

Christmas Country Church Tour December 14 & 15, 20107 2pm-9pm    

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Recently, several Perry County Historical Society members have been asking about Friedenberg Cemetery in Perry County, Missouri which inspired the director of our Genealogical Research Library and Archive Center, to pursue reprinting Chapter 11 - Peace Lutheran Cemetery - cemetery plat and lists from an out of print Friedenberg book.  The Perry County Historical Society has been granted copyright permission from Rev. Dr. Daniel Harmelink, Executive Director of Concordia Historical Institute, to reproduce portions of the book "Friedenberg Remembrances:  A Story of Peace, Faith and Life" by Friedenberg Lutheran Historical Society Book Committee, Copyright 1998 by Martin P. Oswald.

If you are of Bavarian German Lutheran descent from Perry County, Missouri, you are likely related to this group that created the Friedenberg Peace Lutheran Church.  Records have been found dating back to 1862-1863 which contain the following list of surnames composing the membership: Amschler, Angermann, Bergmann, Boxdorfer, Dippold, Fassold, Funke, Hallenberger, Hermann, Hoehn, Kleyla, Klobe, Knoll, Kropf, Lang, Lintner, Muench, Ochs, Popp, Rauh, Rothewald, Sandler, Schade, Schaupert, Schrumpf, Schuetz, Springer, Stuebinger, Taeuber, Uebel, Weinrich, Weith and Wirth.

Initially, the families that started arriving in 1838 worshipped most frequently in the home of Ferdinand Bergmann (3 Mar 1803 – 26 Nov 1853) on the north side of Cinque Hommes Creek. This group of Germans pre-dates the Saxon Lutherans who arrived in the Altenburg area around 1839. The congregation of 13 voting members organized as Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in September 1844 with Reverend E. O. Wolff as resident pastor.  

It soon grew too crowded in the Bergmann home and in 1846, the small group built a log cabin church, also on the north side of Cinque Homme Creek, about one mile North of P Road and just east of present day Highway 61.  As you drive by today, you can see a peaceful valley of crops with a large metal building with a green roof in the distance.  You can just imagine, 170 years ago a log cabin church sitting on the bank of Cinque Hommes Creek somewhere on the far edge of that field.

Soon it was necessary to build a larger log cabin church.  In 1852, they moved to the location of the cemetery under a cedar tree on the south side of Cinque Homme Creek on the Frankenberg Hill.  Across the road, they built a parsonage and a school.  For 33 years, from 1852 to 1885, the congregation worshipped in the log church on the Frankenberg Hill overlooking Cinque Hommes bottom. Peace Lutheran Cemetery is still located at this site near the intersection of Highway 61 and P Road and is maintained by an endowment to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Perryville, Missouri.

Eventually the congregation outgrew this church, and a new site was chosen to the southeast on another hill.  They named their new location Friedenberg (Hill of Peace) and their church Peace Lutheran Church.  A one room school and a parsonage were built first in 1874 across the road from the future church site.  School was taught in this red brick school house for over 70 years until 1946.  After 1946, the school was used for Saturday school where religion was taught, for dart games and Sunday School.  The names and initials of school children can still be seen etched into the soft brick. 

There was a disastrous parsonage fire in 1942 and many valuable records were lost.  The pastor and his children lived in the one room schoolhouse (while school was still in session!) until a new parsonage could be erected.  In 1975, the school and parsonage were sold and still stands today on the property of Dale and Sandy Koenig.  The Peace Lutheran School building is over 140 years old! 

In 1885, the congregation moved from the Frankenberg Hill, to Friedenberg and built the present simple, red-brick worship facility overlooking the quiet Missouri countryside.  The new church was dedicated debt-free on 27 September 1885.  This church served the congregation for the next 95 years! 

As the social and economic climate of the area changed, membership began to decline. In 1980, Peace Congregation voted to disband. The people resolved to preserve their buildings as a reminder of the heritage of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and asked Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) located at 804 Seminary Place in St. Louis to take over the property.  Concordia Historical Institute is the Department of Archives and History of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The Institute continues to own, operate and support “Hill of Peace” as a "walk-in history book" that vividly demonstrates the change in the life of the rural church that was so important in previous eras.  

The facilities, the people, and the "peace" still live on in Friedenberg through the continued efforts of the Friedenberg Historical Society 501(c)(3).  The small group of members continue to maintain the church and grounds for generations to enjoy for years to come.  Anyone interested in joining the Friedenberg Historical Society or donating time or money for the continued support of the historic “Hill of Peace” and our ancestor’s history, please contact Sandy Koenig at earlybird4848@yahoo.com.

The original Ladies Aid house, called Friedenberg Hall, was dedicated in September 1935 and burned to the ground in 2012. The current Friedenberg Hall was erected in 2014 and is available for rental across the road from the church.  Whether it is a church retreat, business meeting, wedding reception or anniversary, a baptism or confirmation reception, Friedenberg Hall provides a clean, modern facility within a quiet and historic location.  Friedenberg Hall is perfect for a family reunion or birthday party and provides a full service kitchen/serving area and handicap-accessible bathrooms.  The Hall can accommodate up to 90 people and is only 5 miles from Perryville and less than one and a half miles from Highway 61. To reserve your special day at Friedenberg Hall, please call Anna at 573-517-0102.  Rental Fee—$100/day.  Refundable Deposit—$50.

Three annual Church Services are held each year at Friedenberg Peace Lutheran Church typically at 3:00 pm on the 2nd Sunday in March, October and December to celebrate and serve as a reunion of descendants.  Please consider attending the Fall Service at 3:00pm on Sunday, October 9, 2016 at Friedenberg Peace Lutheran Church at 510 PCR 304 Perryville, MO  63775. 

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Tips for Totality

With less than two months to go before the Great American Eclipse comes streaming across our blue Missouri sky the excitement is building beyond anything we could have anticipated. This eclipse will be the most viewed and most highly publicized eclipse ever in history. And with that I am here to tell you that on eclipse day you may or may not have adequate cell service. This is the first total solar eclipse traveling across the United States in such a way that thousands can reach the totality path. And with every excited eclipse enthusiasts comes the ability to document their once-in-a-lifetime experience and the desire to share it with their family a far or friends back home. So, with thousands of additional phone calls, face timing, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagram posts, Snap Chatting and live streaming, etc. it would be naive of any of us to assume our local cell towers will be able to meet the demand of usage.

Also, consider planning for the eclipse much as you would during a forecasted winter snow storm. That might be a really ‘cool’ thought to have in August when we will probably be in the 90-degree range! So, think ahead. Go get your groceries early in the week. Make sure you get sunscreen, drinks and your eclipse glasses. You may have extra family or friends traveling to come stay with you please don’t forget to get them glasses as well. You cannot view the entire eclipse without solar eclipse glasses only the totality phase! Stop by the gas station and fill up your vehicle to avoid the crowds in the upcoming weekend and run any necessary errands you need to. Consider scheduling routine appointments either before or after eclipse weekend and when you do venture out to enjoy one or more of our many fun-filled events planned for the weekend just allow yourself a little extra driving time.

For those experiencing the eclipse from your home you will be all set to go. Maybe you want to invite family or friends over to enjoy it with you. Experts will tell you that it is highly recommended and an amazing show to experience among others. For those who will be venturing out within the Perry County path, let it be known that we do expect heavy traffic. Especially, on Interstate 55 both north and south bound lanes, the Perryville Blvd. by-pass which travels by the Seminary Picnic Grove and Bank of Missouri Soccer Complex viewing sites, Highway 61 south through Brewer and coming up from the north in the vicinity of the Perryville City Park. Highway 51 from Perryville northeast to the Chester bridge will also have a high volume of traffic using it. In all areas, possible the Missouri Department of Transportation will have flashing caution signs slowing traffic down for the safety of all our eclipse viewers. Please be aware of pedestrian traffic and your surroundings at all times.

This is going to be an amazing experience. Just like the landing of the moon in 1969 was a momentous occasion for the baby boomers’ generation…the Great American Eclipse will be just as memorable for this generation.

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There is no doubt that The Great American Eclipse is an undeniable educational opportunity for our children here in Perry County and it is no surprise that other schools and parents with kids are planning and traveling to our area to experience the eclipse. I have learnt more about astronomy, read more about science and tried to understand more physics in the past two years of planning for this celestial event than I ever thought imaginable.

What we did realize was that as we looked around our community at our businesses and industries, was the need to educate, excite and inspire the next generation to be engaged in the fields of science and math. So, when the Perryville Chamber of Commerce decided that they would host the Perryville Solarfest sponsored by the Perry County Memorial Hospital we knew we wanted there to be the unique opportunity for our businesses, industries and professionals to be able to share the science or math behind their occupation, product or business. From medical to mechanical and from organisms to outer space science surrounds us every day. Some are obvious, some are not and some we just take for granted. If your company is science based or has a key component using science then I would strongly encourage you to consider signing up for a Perryville Solarfest booth and share what cool science or technology is happening here in the Heartland.

Other fun and exciting things will be the chance for you to experience what it is like to take a spin on a zero-gravity chair just like the ones used at Space Camp brought to us by the Republic-Monitor. We all know what a sundial is but with the help of the American Sundial Association we will learn how to read our newly unveiled courthouse sundial commemorating The Great American Eclipse. The Dark Sky Mobile Planetarium will be coming into town thanks to Coldwell Banker & Professional Associates. They will help us locate stars and planets in our summer Missouri sky during a forty-five-minute planetary show and tips on how to find them from your own Heartland backyards.

You will be able create sand sculptures, learn about solar power or pan for gold among many other things in the name of science. There will also be for the first time in Perryville an amazing 573 Chalk Art Festival. Come and watch as chalk artists design and create science inspired pieces of art on our downtown city street transforming it from a busy roadway into multiple magical concrete canvases.

As we continue to plan and prepare for eclipse day you can currently purchase your total solar eclipse glasses for two dollars at the Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce, Perry Park Center or Village Video between now and eclipse day while supplies last so don’t delay.

While the weekend will be buzzing with total solar eclipse conversations, anticipation, and excitement let us take this time and use this weekend to celebrate all thing wonderful, weird and wonderous. Because after all, science makes the world go around...literally.

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As August 21, 2017 and the Great American Eclipse draws closer I would like to reach out to the businesses that I may have not been able to talk to through various Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce eclipse presentations I have done for their membership.

During the eclipse weekend, August 18-21 Perryville will experience not only the Great American Eclipse but also an influx of people wanting to be as close to the center line of totality as possible. With the people will come the need for lodging, gas, food, snacks, groceries and many other items of personal necessities. Use this celestial phenomenon as an economic opportunity and think ahead business wise.

If you are in the hospitality industry plan a special “eclipse” themed dish, appetizer or special cosmic concoction to attract these hungry eclipse chasers. Plan staffing accordingly so that you may deliver the best service and provide the best dining experience possible. Some of our eclipse visitors may not have traveled so far and may be delighted to return and get that down-home Perryville hospitality again with friends in tow.

If you are one of our many convenience markets and/or gas stations then do make sure your shelves are fully stocked for the constant flow that weekend. Ice, drinks, sunscreen along with Missouri and/or eclipse souvenirs will be popular. Special attention may be given to your fueling schedule. If you normally get your tanks replenished on a Monday after the busy weekend I would avoid eclipse Monday due to the heavy traffic we are anticipating.

There are also several hundred-additional rustic and self-contained campsites opportunities available within Perryville and East Perry County. These campers will need groceries and supplies as nobody ever remembers everything!     

Nobody knows your business better than you do. So, take a minute to think of how you can promote your business, your service or your product to the masses that will visit, tour, shop, eat and sleep here during The Great American Eclipse. Moonier’s Florist has flowers named Eclipse and Night Sky. Fandangle has created Perry County eclipse jewelry. Hemman’s Winery will have a special vintage named Eclipse. The Barrens Winery will have their special vintage called Inner Circle and Jackson Street Brewco will be tapping its special eclipse themed brew that weekend. The Perry County Heritage Tourism has Perry County solar eclipse glasses and postcards available at the Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce.

If you feel your business does not fit into the tourism or hospitality industry and would like to be involved in this exciting event then we have some special sponsorship opportunities for the many activities we have planned for Solarfest weekend. Special thanks already to Perry County Memorial Hospital for being our sponsor for Perryville Solarfest, TG Missouri for sponsoring the Perryville 573Mudfest, Coldwell Bankers and Professional Associates for bringing the Dark Sky Mobile Planetarium to our Perry Park Center during Solarfest Saturday and Thrivent’s Tom Frasher for donating Library Telescopes to both of our Perry County Riverside Regional Library branches.  The opportunities are as many as the stars in the Milky Way! Don’t miss yours chance to shine.

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All the preparations, all the excitement and all the planning that is going into this Great American Eclipse event on August 21, 2017 will certainly pay off with an amazing experience. But if you want to see if your special spot or secret location in Perry County is in fact perfect then you want to be there on practice day, April 20, 2017.

When astronomers give the Sun’s position, they use the two celestial coordinates, right ascension and declination. These two values roughly correspond to latitude and longitude on Earth. On August 21st, the Sun’s declination will be approximately, 11 degrees 51’. So, if you want to “practice” observing the Sun where it will be on eclipse day head to your “spot” on April 20th. The Sun’s path through the sky will be the same as it will be on eclipse day.

You will want to be there during the same time as Perry County’s “totality” which will occur at 1:18pm. Maybe you want to set up a filtered telescope, run a test launch or take a few pictures. Maybe you just want to check out a perspective observing site. How far away are any trees? Are you too close to any buildings? Can you see the horizon? The Sun will be high in the sky when the eclipse passes over Perry County so obstacles blocking your view are less likely than someone in Oregon or South Carolina witnessing the eclipse’s sunrise or sunset. That too makes our area highly desirable, no eclipse pun intended. To have trees and obstacles around you will be good as certain phases of the eclipse will show eerie shadows, crisp sharp lines and the leaves on a tree can provide a kaleidoscope of mini eclipses fun to look at just as long as these obstacles do not block your viewing of the Sun and the experience of seeing the Corona.

Anything you want to try on eclipse day you can practice April 20th because it is the closest approximation to what you’ll see on eclipse day. The Sun will rise and set around the same times, and it will cross the meridian (the imaginary north-south line that passes through the overhead point; the Sun crosses it at midday) the same time as on eclipse day.

Here’s something to consider, however. The Sun’s declination doesn’t change all that much from day to day. In fact, if your rehearsal occurs as many as 3 days before or after April 20th you really won’t notice a difference when August 21, 2017 gets here.

My advice, don’t get all caught up in the scientific mumbo jumbo. Just know to scout your location so you have a plan on eclipse day. Whether you’re planning a backyard eclipse party, family viewing destination or public viewing site get you a pair of eclipse glasses go out and look at the sun and prepare to be amazed August 21, 2017.

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It's A Big Deal

It really is a big deal. Totally! On August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse will stream across our beautiful Perry County sky casting the moon’s shadow down on us turning our day into night and thousands of people will be looking up at that glorious corona with wonder and amazement. I’m told it is a very emotional experience. Some people will cheer, some will cry and most will be speechless after it has passed not knowing exactly how to describe what they just witnessed.

Eclipses aren’t rare, as a matter of fact most calendar years have at least four eclipses, which is the minimum number of eclipses that must take place in a year. Two of these four eclipses must be solar while the other two will be lunar. It’s easy to get these two types mixed up. An easy way to remember the differences is in the name. The name tells you what gets darker when the eclipse happens. In a solar eclipse, the sun gets darker. In a lunar eclipse, the moon gets darker. And to complicate thing more, there are two different types of solar eclipses, annular and total.

What makes a total solar eclipse seem rare is the ability to get in the shadow’s path to witness the “totality”. In most cases, eclipse chasers find themselves scrambling to find suitable sites for viewing.  Many solar eclipses occur over dense jungles, frozen tundra, unsafe territories or vast miles of ocean. The 2017 Great American Eclipse has a shadow path of approximately 70 miles wide and will start in Oregon and exit out North Carolina making this solar event an eclipse chasers smorgasbord of viewing site options!

But for Perry County this is an extremely rare event. The last total solar eclipse to touch United States soil was in August 1979. Although, many visitors traveled to the Pacific Northwest corner since it would be the last chance to view an eclipse in the United States for almost four decades, it was not directly observable due to the overcast skies.

The last eclipse to cross the United States like this summer’s eclipse, was on June 8, 1918. This solar eclipse swept below Missouri through Arkansas and exited out Florida. Little is mentioned on this solar event as much of our attention was focused on WWI and our troops abroad. In fact, the last time Perry County has ever been shadowed by the moon during a total solar eclipse was in 1442!

With our technology, highways, social media and viewing destination access the Great American Eclipse is poised to be the most viewed total solar eclipse event in astronomy history and Missouri is slated to be the most viewed state along its path by sheer population alone.

It’s said on average, the same spot on Earth only gets to see a solar eclipse for a few minutes about every 375 years. Eclipse events, rare or not, quite possibly could be more about the location. Perry County will get to experience a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 and then again on April 8, 2024 and that my astronomical friends, rare or not, is a really big deal!

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On August 21, 2017 at 1:18pm Perry County will experience a total solar eclipse giving locals some of the greatest viewing time across the United States at two minutes forty seconds of totality.

In anticipation of the Great American Eclipse of 2017 the City of Perryville has officially begun the daunting but extremely exciting task of planning for the astronomical event. Unlike many small rural communities in Missouri, Perryville has a unique front row seat to possibly the greatest solar eclipse the United States has or ever will see. But with that amazing view comes many decisions to make concerning the great influx of people that will also want to witness this spectacular natural event. With a city population of 8,225 and a county population totaling 18,971, Perryville will be ready to greet their astronomy fans and solar eclipse chasers possibly doubling their county’s population in one day.

Perryville’s Municipal Airport’s located near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River is directly aligned with the eclipse’s center path of totality giving lookers the maximum time of two minutes and 40 seconds! Boasting a 7,000ft. X 100ft. runway it is sure to attract many astronomers and eclipse enthusiasts from around the nation.

Perry County’s Eclipse Taskforce was assembled in November 2015 and has been strategizing on the best possible viewing locations, parking areas, shuttle routes, camping sites and various weekend entertainment leading up to the main eclipse event. This unique taskforce is made up of City and County officials, Economic Development Authorities, 911 Director, Park & Recreation Dept., Bois Brule Levee District, police, sheriff and fire departments, hospital, school district, health department, MoDot, Missouri Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation, regional and state authorities. These are the people, experts in their fields that will help us locate and organize great viewing sites, map the safest travel routes, provide community awareness, education and create an overall extraordinary experience for our local-residents and our solar eclipse hunters.

Starting back in August 2016 National Eclipse Taskforce member and Director of Astronomy for the University of Missouri, Angela Speck spoke during the back to school conference so that all our children could benefit the most out of this extraordinary educational experience.  We figured that by reaching and informing 500+ educators they will be better able to help as many as 3,500+ students ranging K-12 experience the Eclipse that day creating a moment in their lives they will never forget. We will also be keeping our area residents informed of our plans and events through the Perryville Chamber of Commerce website and our local radio station KSGM 980AM’s noon Focus program. This will be a series of radio interviews leading up to the eclipse event. And for our not-so-local solar eclipse visitors a Perry County Eclipse Facebook page and twitter account has been created so that they will be as informed as our residents about weekend events, happenings and eclipse specials.

As our taskforce continues to works diligently in the up-coming months developing the best possible eclipse experience for everyone know that as a singular event of national scale and with a global audience, this event will rival the moon landing of 1969 as a landmark event for a new generation! You’re not going to want to miss this!

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Once in a blue moon a treasure surfaces that was never intended to be read by more than its author. A writer that wrote for the enjoyment of his or hers’ own pleasure. Diaries are a family heirloom that sometime only benefits the writer’s heirs, but once in a blue moon an individual will sit down with pen in hand and give us, the outsider, a glimpse of his or her world from that period in time.

We have been blessed with a few of those diaries in Perry County. Sister Eugenia Kehoe wrote of her experiences and day to day activities serving as one of the first sisters with the Daughters of Charity in Perryville. Her accounts of the Masses, classrooms, students and daily chores from the early 1900’s are enlightening. Joseph C. Killian wrote of court proceedings and local news during the year of 1869 and Archibald Hager more commonly known as the Hager’s dairy provides us with daily accounts of local news, crop updates and weather reports during the early 1840’s to 1880’s. Charles Killian told us his childhood memories during the 1860’s. Dr. Carron recorded his memories of life as a doctor from the horse and buggy days thru the 1960’s and Lillian Dobbs captured our interest in her excerpts concerning Perryville and Lithium from 1910 to 1916. Julia’s Scrapbook is also a treasure as she pasted newspaper clippings of importance to her creating a collage of valuable information for researchers today.

If you have a diary or scrapbook concerning Perry County history and would like to share it with our research library or would like to read some of the material we have in our library, please contact the Perry County Historical Society.

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Spring is closer than you think, and that means many of us thaw out, get out and travel the county roads in search of the smallest evidence of schools, churches, and homesteads long forgotten. If you are one of these travelers, you may be interested in a special map supplied by the Perry County Historical Society.

This Historical Inventory map of Perry County can direct you to long forgotten areas such as Birmingham, Corners, Giboney, or Seelitz.

Maybe you are looking for a common landing situated on the mighty Mississippi River such as Paul Landing, Linnhoff Landing, or Leimbach Landing.

Where is Boxdorfer school, Mokey school or Bess school? It’s all on the map and there were over 50 county schools located within the boundaries of Perry County. Each one was named after the landowner from whom the school land was acquired from or after the community which it was served.

Other such interesting areas are the locations of the Wilkinson Lead mines of 1827, Darrstadt, Rozier Valley Mill 1850 and McClain Mill 1820. If you would like to know the trail of the El Camino Real 1786 or the Cape Girardeau- Northern Railroad, it’s here. The foundation of many communities in our county were established by the churches. This map is a valuable resource of information concerning churches, cemeteries and historical buildings or structures. One of its features is the distinction of whether the structure is still standing or just the site of whether the structure is still standing or just the site of where it used to be.

So the next time you decide it’s a beautiful day to take a county drive be prepared, informed and educated about what you may or may not be seeing. This map may be the smallest bit of evidence you need to make your trip a memorable one. For more information or details on the Historical Inventory map contact the Perry County Historical Society.

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