2008 News

November 2008


Ron Jeffels The Okanagan College Foundation has been receiving inquiries from friends and colleagues of Mr. Jeffels regarding the Maebritte and Ron Jeffels Scholarship

Should you wish to donate to the Maebritte and Ron Jeffels Scholarship in memory of Mr. Jeffels, you may do so in one of the following ways:

In Person/By Mail

The Maebritte and Ron Jeffels Scholarship is an endowment that was established in recognition of Ron and Maebritte’s contribution to the College and the Okanagan during the period Ron Jeffels was Principal of Okanagan College (1975-1980). The recipient will have completed the first year of full-time study in a university transfer program at any Campus of Okanagan College and will be returning the following September for a subsequent year of full-time study in that program. Selection of the award recipient will be based on academic achievement. Should two or more students have similar academic standing, other factors such as financial need, contribution to and/or involvement in college/community activities will be considered. Successful candidates must be residents of the Okanagan College region.    

November 2008



The campaign began three years ago after Okanagan College Kelowna business student Sarah Comba was motivated to make a difference in her community. Inspired by a concept taken from Catherine Hyde’s book “Pay it Forward,” Comba partnered with the Okanagan College Alumni Association to build on the concept of promoting a chain-reaction of single acts of kindness.


Now an Okanagan College alumna, Comba is continuing to lead the campaign, which aims to collect a variety of useful items, food and clothing for a range of non-profit organizations in Salmon Arm and Kelowna.


“The Alumni Association is proud to partner for a third year with Sarah to carry on the important initiative that she started,” said Kara Kazimer, President of the Alumni Association. “We will be drawing on support from our students and staff and encourage members of the greater community to get involved and donate what they can.”


Donations of clean and gently used warm winter clothing for adults and children, non-perishable food items, small gifts for children under 13 years, disposable baby diapers, unused toiletries, household items, books and cash donations are being accepted at Okanagan College campuses in Kelowna and Salmon Arm up until Dec. 10. For those who donate items during the morning of the last day of the drive, student volunteers will serve hot chocolate, coffee and snacks.


Charities and community organizations in Kelowna that will receive donations include: Kelowna Gospel Mission, Kelowna Women’s Shelter, Kelowna Food Bank, Kelowna Drop-In Centre and the Arthritis Society. In Salmon Arm donations will be made to the Salvation Army, SPCA and Okanagan College students who require assistance.

Inquiries regarding the Pay It Forward Campaign may be directed to Marlis Wecels at 250-862-5630, Extension 3.

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November 2008


October 2008


Amex Oct small

(L to R) Yasmin Kara, Kathy Butler,
and Gary Reynolds: a partnership
that will benefit students

The proof is in the purchases - students in Okanagan College’s wine, food and hospitality courses will benefit from a program that took place during the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival in May this year.


Recently, American Express’s Vice-President Sales, Global Commercial Card, Yasmin Kara, presented Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, with a cheque for $5,000 that was raised through a partnership between the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, American Express, and the Okanagan College Foundation.


Through the month of May, including the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival (May 1 - 10, 2008), $3 from every American Express transaction at participating wineries was collected to go toward helping students and supporting the wine, food and hospitality courses at the School of Business at Okanagan College.


The program’s goal - $5,000 – was achieved.

"This was a tremendous program, giving our Cardmembers and wineries the opportunity to support the development of the wine, restaurant and tourism industries in the Okanagan," said Kara.


American Express and the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society have worked together on other projects, but this was a first where the co-operation was aimed to directly benefit students and programs at Okanagan College.


"This partnership will pay real dividends for our members,” said Gary Reynolds, President of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and the owner of Lake Breeze Vineyards in Naramata. "The School of Business at Okanagan College and its graduates have important roles to play training future team members for all areas of our wineries. Our society, its members, American Express and the College are investing in the future."


In 2006, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society created a new award program for students in the College’s advanced culinary arts diploma program.

“We’re pleased that the Wine Festivals Society and American Express have chosen to support students and programs through partnership with the Okanagan College Foundation,” said Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation.


About the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society:

The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society now has 87 member wineries and over 45 tourism operators that work collaboratively to bring the world to Okanagan Wine Country. The society organizes four annual Okanagan Wine Festivals and pursues a high profile marketing strategy to attract wine tourists on a year round basis. The 10-day Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is the oldest of the four festivals and is consistently awarded the designation of "Top 100 Events in North America." Its success has led to the establishment of the 10-day Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, the iconic five-day Icewine Festival held in January at Sun Peaks Resort north of Kamloops, B.C. and the intimate two-day Okanagan Summer Wine Festival at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon.

About American Express:

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Canada Inc. and Amex Bank of Canada. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Business Travel, Travel Services Network and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express Cards in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs more than 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.

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September 2008


A violet tea, hosted jointly by the IODE and Okanagan College, will offer bite-size scones, sandwiches, sweets and of course, traditional English tea served out of silver teapots, to members of the community during an afternoon of socializing on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m.


The IODE of Canada, a women’s charitable organization founded in 1900, will offer the event as a fundraising opportunity to contribute to the building fund for the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.


The event will take place in the Sunoka Cafeteria and surrounding courtyard at the Penticton campus. In addition to traditional tea service and accompanying snacks, the violet tea will offer a musical performance from Tracy Fehr, and Okanagan College staff will be on site to provide tours of the campus.


“The IODE has an important legacy of community service and fundraising in Penticton and we are pleased to partner with them to raise funds for our campus through a fun and unique social opportunity,” said Donna Lomas, Regional Dean of Okanagan College. “The tea service will follow traditions of the past while opening the doors to our campus, which is an important part of our community’s future.”


Tickets to the event are $10 and are available by calling the Penticton campus at 250-492-4305.

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August 2008


One of Kelowna’s most established accounting professionals with a rich history of community service has been selected as Okanagan College’s 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
 Don Turri

Don Turri, Managing Director of the Kelowna office of MacKay LLP Chartered Accountants, attended Okanagan College from 1974-75, completing the first-year prerequisites for a bachelor of commerce degree, which he earned from the University of British Columbia in 1979.

Turri has spent his entire professional career working in Kelowna. His roots in the community go back to 1912 when his grandparents immigrated to Kelowna. In addition to building a strong accounting firm, Turri has earned several top community awards. In 1998 he was named Executive of the Year at the Kelowna Business Executive Awards. He is also a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.

Devoting countless volunteer hours to a variety of projects in Kelowna, Turri has filled leadership roles on committees including the 2008 Central Okanagan United Way, Central Okanagan Foundation, Cancer Care Campaign, and Sunrise Rotary Club, to name a few. He has also been active in athletics, coaching Kelowna Minor Football and Kelowna Minor Hockey.

“The Okanagan College Alumni Association is pleased to bestow the Distinguished Alumni Award on Don Turri,” said Christina Ferreira, vice president of the Association. “He exemplifies all of the attributes of an Okanagan College alumnus and has contributed greatly to the reputation of the Okanagan School of Business and its graduates.”

Okanagan College will also recognize the exceptional contributions of an alumnus under the age of 35 at the 2008 Alumni Awards reception.

 Chris Gibbons

Chris Gibbons will receive the 2008 Young Alumni Award. Gibbons is the Finance Manager of Westhills Aggregates, a business owned and operated by the Penticton Indian Band. He earned his bachelor of business administration degree from Okanagan College in 2007.

In the short time since receiving his credential, Gibbons has risen within the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation, joining the organization as an Administrative Assistant and quickly moving up to take greater responsibilities as the Interim General Manger and then into his current position as Finance Manager.

While completing his education at the College Gibbons worked as a Financial Manger for Coyote Cruises then went on to form his own company, performing contract work for close to a year.

Outside of his professional life Gibbons has contributed to the community of Penticton as a minor hockey coach, volunteered as a treasurer with the Penticton Shooting Sports Association, and is an Auxiliary RCMP constable.

“For someone to graduate in 2007 and be honoured as an alumnus the next year speaks to the achievements of Chris Gibbons,” explained Ferreira. “Those who work with Chris know him to be a rising star in the business world. He has made a tremendous transition from student to business leader and that really speaks to the quality of his character and his commitment to excellence.”

The accomplishments of Turri and Gibbons will be honoured at a dinner reception hosted by the Okanagan College Alumni Association on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the Harvest Golf Club. Tickets to the event are now available by emailing alumni@okanagan.bc.ca, calling Marcy Nelson at 250-762-5445 ext. 4773 or toll free: 1-888-650-6968.

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June 2008


As the top academic achiever in Okanagan College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEn) program, Christy Hyde commits a lot of time to her studies, which doesn’t leave much time to worry about how she is going to pay for her education.


Last week Hyde learned that she was selected as the top 2008 recipient of Okanagan College’s $2,500 Jordy Koenig TELUS scholarship and was relieved to know that now she’ll be able to focus on having as outstanding a second year as her first.

Hyde is one of three Okanagan College students pursuing diplomas in Network Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEn)who received scholarships from TELUS last week. Jesse Doyle received $1,500 and Stefano Da Rosa accepted a cheque for $1,000. Each of the students has completed the first year of the challenging two-year technology diploma program and was selected based solely on their academic standing.

This is just the second year that TELUS has given out the scholarships, which were initiated last year as a way of supporting students in the industry. The scholarship is named after a longtime TELUS employee Jordy Koenig who has close ties with Okanagan College.

Koenig is a communications and networking technician with 26 years of service at TELUS. He serves on the NTEn program advisory council at the College and commits a great deal of time to ensuring the curriculum and training the students receive will prepare them for a seamless entry into the challenging field of networking and telecommunications.

TELUS’ Steve Jenkins, general manager, Interior South BC, was on site alongside Koenig to deliver the bursaries at Hyde’s workplace, Kelowna Flightcraft. Hyde was hired by Flightcraft to fulfill a summer work term at the IT helpdesk. Flightcraft IT manager Ken Ricci oversees Hyde’s work and has been very pleased with her skills and knowledge.

"Christy is a very bright young lady but the reason she is doing so well here is because she has the ability to be cool under fire," explained Ricci. "With more than 1,000 employees in offices across the country she has done an excellent job working with a variety of people and solving problems as they arise."

Hyde chose to pursue the NTEn program at Okanagan College because she was interested in the unique combination of electronics and computer science training the program offers. The College was her first choice because she’d heard good things about the program and the tuition was more affordable than other schools she considered. After taking a night course at the Kelowna campus to get a feel for what it would be like to be an Okanagan College student she enrolled.

"I was really impressed with the people and the College and after taking a class I was ready to commit to the program," said Hyde. "The instructors have been so great. The program is really tough but as long as you are putting in the effort the instructors will do anything to help you succeed."

With the Jordy Koenig TELUS scholarship and with continued financial support from the Metis Society, Hyde will return to Okanagan College to complete the program this fall. Her experience at Flightcraft and outstanding academic standing combined with an abundance of career opportunities should see Hyde land a great job upon graduation.

"This bursary will really make a difference to me and my ability to finish my education and I am very grateful to TELUS and Okanagan College for this support."

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June 2008


Thorpe Presentation June 18, 2008Mount Boucherie Secondary graduate Matthew Swank accepted a cheque from Thorpe, Okanagan-Westside MLA, for $2,500 that will be used to pay for the costs of attending the Okanagan School of Business in Kelowna this September.

Swank plans on pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the College, his first choice for business school.

“I wanted to go to college that was close to home and I have heard really good things about Okanagan College,” said Swank. “I’ve known that I wanted to study business since I was six years old.”

David Addison was the second recipient of the $2,500 scholarship funded by the Thorpe’s, he Thorpe Addisongraduated from Princess Margaret Secondary this spring and will pursue as Associate Degree of Science at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus this fall. Addison’s long-term plans include completing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

"Rick and I are pleased to be able to assist our young students in pursuing their dreams and studies here in the Okanagan," said Yasmin John-Thorpe.

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship Fund was established to support students from the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach who enrol at Okanagan College in a range of studies including: business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism, trades, technologies, English or Creative Writing.

Recipients are selected based on a combination of financial need, academic standing, leadership potential and demonstration of contribution to their community.

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May 2008


It will be much easier for many first-year students to pursue an education in engineering technology at Okanagan College this fall, with the opportunity to receive up to $1,000 in tuition help.

As a consequence of a recent announcement by the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT), as of Aug. 1, $80,000 will be available for students with financial need entering one of Okanagan College’s five engineering technology programs or the Computer Information Systems program. Each eligible student will receive up to $1,000 tuition credit.

"SIDIT has realized that the economic development of this part of the province will depend in part on a steady supply of high quality engineering technology and computer information systems grads," explained Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President of Education. "The organization is helping remove the financial barriers for people to get that education. There are great careers awaiting graduates in these fields, and having financial help to start a program may inspire more students to enroll."

Okanagan College offers Electronic Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology, Water Quality and Environmental Engineering Technology, and Civil Engineering Technology. It also offers a diploma and degree program in Computer Information Systems.

Students interested in finding out more about the financial aid available to help them begin the course can attend a free information night on May 27 at the College’s KLO campus in the Student Services Building lecture theatre, or they can visit the College’s financial aid website (www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid) or call Okanagan College’s Financial Aid office at 250-862-5419 or toll free at 1-800-767-5492.

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May 2008


It will easier for many trades students, apprentices and students pursuing some technical programs to start their training at Okanagan College this fall, with help available from a new source of financial assistance.

A total of $248,040, made possible by funding from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT), will result in a tuition credit program for students in select programs who demonstrate financial need.

Entry-level trades students can qualify for up to $1,000 in a tuition credit, depending on their financial need. First-year apprentices will be eligible for up to $500. (Apprenticeship courses are generally much shorter than the entry-level trades programs).

Students enrolling in ArcInfo Geographical Information Systems (offered in Salmon Arm), Audio Engineering and Music Production (Kelowna) and Esthetician and Nail Technician (Salmon Arm) are eligible for up to $1,000 in aid.

"Employers in the region know the immense pressure there is on the existing trades labour force right now, and it is only going to become more acute as more and more tradespeople retire," says Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College's Vice President of Education. "To its credit, SIDIT has realized that helping remove barriers between students and training is one of the most effective ways of increasing the number of qualified tradespeople in the province and this region particularly. Their investment in financial aid should spur more students to enroll in our programs."

Students (or parents) interested in finding out more about the financial aid available can attend a free information night on May 27 at the College’s KLO campus in the Student Services Building lecture theatre, or they can visit the College’s financial aid website (www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid) or call Okanagan College’s Financial Aid office at 250-862-5419 or toll-free 1-800-767-5492.

Okanagan College offers entry-level and apprenticeship in many trades areas, including:

·      Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
·      Automotive Collision Repair/Painting and Refinishing
·      Carpentry
·      Joinery
·      Residential Construction
·      Culinary Arts
·      Electrical
·      Plumbing
·      Sheet Metal
·      Automotive Service Technician
·      Heavy Duty Equipment Technician
·      Commercial Transport Mechanic
·      Recreation Vehicle Service Technician
·      Welding
·      Trades Technology Teacher Education

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April 2008



Okanagan College and the Province of British Columbia are strengthening their commitment to trades training in the Shuswap. SASCU

On Friday, the Hon. George Abbott, Minister of Health and MLA for Shuswap, announced $684,712 funding for purchase of the trades training facility that Okanagan College has been leasing in Salmon Arm’s industrial park. Abbott made the announcement on behalf of his Cabinet colleague, the Hon. Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education.

"Student and employer demand and support for trades training in this region has been phenomenal," Abbott noted. "Okanagan College should be applauded for its hard work and the tremendous job the college has done around creating access to programs such as welding, carpentry, plumbing and electrical."

"The Ministry of Advanced Education and the Province recognize that trades training is crucial to the provincial economy. The purchase of this building will allow the college to provide excellent trades training and help meet employer and industry demand for skilled labour."

The facility is 659 square meters and houses two classrooms and three shops.

"We’re grateful to the government for the support and funding," said Janet Shaw, Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors. "We made a decision three years ago to distribute trades training opportunities throughout the College region and the response has been heartening. In the last year we trained more than 2,700 apprentices at Okanagan College in a variety of trades. That is almost triple what it was three years ago and we will it see it increase further in the years ahead."

The provincial funding announcement was accompanied by news that Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union will be contributing $50,000 to a capital fund-raising campaign being organized by the Okanagan College Foundation that will further support trades training in Salmon Arm.

"Education and training are among the best investments we can make in our community on behalf of our 21,000 members," noted Michael Wagner, the CEO of Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union. "We’re pleased to be able to provide this support to the Okanagan College Foundation for trades training in Salmon Arm. We know that the community and industry support what the College and the Foundation are doing and we want government, students and employers to realize what a partnership this enterprise is."

"With these encouraging announcements today, we are hoping it will prompt others in this region to demonstrate their support," explained Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. "This really signals the public launch of a $600,000 fundraising campaign that will support further development of trades training here in the Shuswap."

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April 2008


American Express, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and Okanagan College are teaming up to create more opportunities for students in the wine, food and hospitality sector.

Through the month of May, including the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival (May 1 - 10, 2008), $3 from every American Express transaction at participating wineries will go toward helping students and supporting the wine, food and hospitality courses at the School of Business at Okanagan College.

The partnership arrangement was announced at a reception held at the College’s Kelowna campus today.

"We see this as a tremendous opportunity to let our Cardmembers and participating wineries help support the future of this region and the growing wine, restaurant and tourism industries in the Okanagan," says Tracey Szczur, Director of Merchant Services Marketing, American Express. "We have worked with the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society before on other projects but this marks a first time working to directly benefit students and programs at Okanagan College."

"We’re excited to see our member wineries choose to participate in this," says Gary Reynolds, President of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and the owner of Lake Breeze Vineyards in Naramata. "We believe that the School of Business at Okanagan College will play a pivotal role in training future team members for all areas of our wineries. The ability to partner with American Express demonstrates that the society, its members, American Express and the College are investing in the future."

"There is growing interest in and support of the College’s hospitality and tourism programs, as well as its wine programs," notes Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. "Partnerships and programs such as these help draw attention to those programs and – more importantly – help encourage those students who are charting careers in these areas."

In 2006, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society created a new award program for students in the College’s advanced culinary arts diploma program.

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March 2008


John Ralston Saul, one of the world’s leading thinkers and visionaries, will be in Penticton May 25 to offer his insights into Canada’s global future and its military and economic role in world affairs.

Saul, whom TIME Magazine has called a “prophet”, will be featured in the 2008 Penticton Ideas Festival Speaker Series. The award-winning author will be interviewed on stage at the Penticton High School Auditorium, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 25. Advance tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students or can be purchased at the door for $15. The tickets are available at the Tumbleweed Gallery and Okanagan College’s Duncan Avenue Campus in Penticton.

The event has been organized by Brian Hughes, the founder of the Penticton Philosopher’s Café, and an Okanagan College Board member. Proceeds from the May 25th event go toward bringing future speakers to Penticton and to the Locatee Lands Project.

Another event on May 26, which benefits the Okanagan College Foundation, will provide a limited number of people an opportunity to enjoy dinner with Saul at The Front Street Bar & Bistro on Monday, May 26. Tickets are $200 and available through the Okanagan College Foundation or the Penticton Campus.  Only 50 tickets are available. The Foundation supports student learning by developing scholarships and bursaries and by raising funds for programs and capital projects at the College.

“Saul is a philosopher, a novelist, an economist, a pre-eminent Canadian and someone whose views and insights carry weight around the globe,” says Hughes. “As I envisioned the development of the  Ideas Festival Speakers Series, I could think of no one more appropriate than him to be at the heart of the event.”

“Saul is known for his love and promotion of Okanagan wines, so he knows the area well.”
For more information about the event, you can contact Okanagan College (250) 492-4305 or the Okanagan College Foundation 1-888-650-696 or visit okanagancollegefoundation.ca.

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January 2008


h4lchequeStudents who participated in Okanagan College’s 2007 Residential Construction program will reap the rewards of the program’s success when they return to the College for further carpentry apprenticeship training.

This development comes as the Okanagan College Foundation accepted a cheque for $165,725.72 on Tuesday -- proceeds from the sale of the 2007 Home for Learning project in Kelowna.

The Residential Construction students who built the home, as well as plumbing and electrical pre-apprenticeship students who worked on a portion of the home, will receive bursaries and the opportunity to utilize new equipment, which will be purchased by the College to ensure students have access to the latest tools.

The project’s three partners, Vintage Design Ltd., the Village of Kettle Valley and Okanagan College, each played major roles in the success of the project, as did the students who built the home and the sponsors who supported the program.

This year’s profit increased by nearly 45 per cent over last year’s home and is a credit to the widespread and generous support of the construction industry and community partners, explains Randy Werger, Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship for Okanagan College.

“The support for this project and similar projects throughout the valley is a testament to the value of this program and the need for more skilled trades people,” says Werger. “The construction industry has come through in a big way to help out our students -- from donating to this project to hiring our apprentices -- and we are very appreciative of the partnership.”

All three of the 2007 partners have signed on for this year’s project, which will take place in the Village of Kettle Valley. The 2008 Residential Construction program will begin on Feb. 4 with classroom training at the KLO campus of the College. Students will then move to the construction site where they will build a home under the leadership of Jim Lamb, President of Vintage Design Ltd.
Lamb will design the home specifically for the program, ensuring students are challenged and their skills are up to industry standards. Lamb is looking forward to taking on a second group of Residential Construction students and sharing his knowledge with the class.

“Students who take this program are going to come out ahead and will be able to secure a better paying job than those who don’t have the experience,” explains Lamb.

Limited space is available in the 30-week program in Kelowna, as well as programs in the South Okanagan, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. Each of the Residential Construction programs begin on Feb. 4, 2008. For more information or to register, call (250) 862-5457.

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