Tell me about Burlington – Part 2

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2021



“So you live in Burlington” you were asked. Nice place? As a city does it work?”

Tell me more about what the civic administration is like.

Burlington wants a Stage 2 designation.

Burlington looking west.

Well, you might answer – Elections in Burlington can and have made a difference.

The 2010 election brought Rick Goldring in as the Mayor – that got rid of Cam Jackson who wasn’t a bad Mayor – people didn’t like his style and Goldring was a nice guy, responsible and respected. He didn’t have a vision when he began to wear the chain of Office; he wasn’t Cam and that was what mattered.

He didn’t do anything wrong nor did he do anything.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken - now she is on the other side of the podium, sitting as a Council member. Should make for greay political theatre when the Medicca One zoning matter comes before committee.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken – she of course went on to become a Councillor and then Mayor.

His eight years as Mayor was all the time Marianne Meed Ward, then a Councillor for ward 2,  needed to position herself for a job she aspired to from the day that she ran against Rick Craven in Ward 1 in 2006.

The day after the 2018 election Rick Goldring was still trying to figure out why he lost.

Meed Ward had a clear objective: she was going to change the way development was done in the city.

She had made numerous much needed changes as a City Councillor and she was really sure that she had the job in the bag.

The City Manager, who Meed Ward fired the day after the was sworn in, is reported to have said to a person who worked at city hall that, if Meed Ward won he was “toast”.

At the final meeting of the 2014-18 council Meed Ward showed just what she was going to be able to achieve.  Using a “point of personal privilege” she ripped into comments that were made by defeated members of Council, saying that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated.

She set out to take the steps needed to get an Official Plan the city badly needed.

It’s not a perfect plan but it is a very good plan that puts in place the tools the city needs to shift where the development takes place.

The developers would have preferred to be able to continue putting up structures that have begun to reach the 30 storey level but they will build wherever they can build.

Burlington is a great market to develop in. The fact that the province is pushing to increase the rate at which the population grows has helped the developers. Their dream is to be able to eventually build north of Dundas and Hwy 407.

Few fully understand what Meed Ward has been able to achieve. In two years she has changed everything at the development level and at the same time given the developers areas within the city that they can build in.


That football shaped area, lower right, was always ripe for development. Once some land assembly was completed development proposals rolled in with heights well above 20 storeys.

The downtown core will have a number of high rise buildings. Will Meed Ward manage to save the “football” – it is going to be a challenge, there are major major dollars that have been invested and those kinds of dollars have a voice.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

The water front was a focus point for Mayor Meed Ward when she first ran for the ward 2 seat.

Way back in the beginning of the Meed Ward run for the Office of Mayor the waterfront was her focus – never forget that.

The Planning department that she has always wanted is beginning to come together. She has a City Manager with whom she works well.

The Official Plan should make it through the appeal stage because it is a good plan that a mayor made happen.  Sure she had a Council that was compliant – five of the seven were so new they had to learn how to be Councillors and leave the heavy lifting to the Mayor.

This is part of what Burlington is.

Tell me about Burlington – Part 1

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Transparency and accountability get walloped by the Clerk's Office

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

January 5th, 2021



It will be a Receive and File report – no action will be taken unless there is a council member who asks for a change.

The purpose of the report in terms of the city’s current focus on its Vision is to:

• Building more citizen engagement, community health and culture
• Deliver customer centric services with a focus on efficiency and technology transformation

The report from the Clerk’s Office states that: “Accountability and transparency are key drivers in the Clerks Department. In working towards greater transparency there are small initiatives that have been completed during 2020 with respect to Council meetings.

“As these items touch upon how Council business is conducted, an information report has been provided to apprise Council and the public. The enhancements to accountability and transparency focus on the following areas:

Staff Directions – new public reporting process, with dates assigned to all deliverables.
• Declarations of Interest – creation of an online register.
• Increasing Clerks Department open data sets.

The Gazette will be doing an article on each of the three and will start with the approach the city is taking to the matter of declarations of pecuniary interests.

Galbraith slight smile

Councillor Galbraith is consistent in declaring his conflicts however we have not heard him say that he sent a notice to the Clerk.

The City is required by the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act to maintain a publicly available registry of all declarations of pecuniary interest made by members. The registry must include the original written declaration provided by the member of Council. At present, the City of Burlington maintains a register, however it is not posted publicly and is only available upon request.

That the city has basically hidden the public information on declarations of pecuniary interest and in the process appear to have defined their view of transparency and accountability.

The Council of 2010 and 2014 liked it that way, particularly the member for ward 4 at the time.

“The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, members of Council and local boards to declare any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in relation to a matter under consideration. A pecuniary interest relating to a matter is one where there is a reasonable likelihood or expectation of financial loss or gain by the member or related persons as defined in the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

“The onus to declare a pecuniary interest rests with the member, and there is time dedicated for these declarations on every meeting agenda. Members must complete a written statement of pecuniary interest and submit it to the Clerk. All declarations of pecuniary interest are recorded in the meeting minutes.

Enhancements Planned
“Staff have made enhancements to the declarations of pecuniary interest process to improve customer service, ensure greater accountability and transparency and comply with legislation.

“Currently the statement form is a word document that must be printed and completed or completed electronically and emailed to the Clerk. Moving forward the statement form will be automated and made available through the City’s website as an online form.

“Completed forms will be sent directly to the Clerk, reducing time delays and manual intervention. Conflicts will be filed in the City’s agenda management system and will be publicly available following each meeting in a conflicts registry, available to the public by way of the City’s website, will improve customer service and public access to the information.”

We all know how easy it is to find what you are looking for on the city’s web site.

“The new process is expected to be implemented in January. Further communication of the process will be provided to members of Council and local boards. Previous declarations made from the beginning of the term will be reflected in the registry.”

Will there be an announcement when the Registry is up and running? Don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.

Kevin Arjoon

Kevin Arjoon City Clerk

Kevin Arjoon, City Clerk said: “Accountability and transparency are key drivers in the Clerks Department. In working towards greater transparency some smaller initiatives were completed in 2020. As they are associated with Council and the meeting process, staff have provided a report to inform Council and the public of the program changes.”

What’s missing in the Clerk’s department is a passion for really serving the needs and interests of the public. Does the phrase: “How can I help you”, ever pass over their lips.?

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Online Payments Currently Unavailable

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 5th, 2021



Online payments for the services listed below are currently unavailable:

Parking Ticket Payment
• Parking Permit Renewal
• Dog License Applications/Renewals
• Freedom of Information Requests
• Property Information Requests
• Business License Renewal.

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How did a three story building with a classic look end up being a squat ugly two story hair salon

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

January 5th, 2021



Alan Harrington is a bit of a history nut. He has spent a lot of his spare time with the Historical Society and decided recently that he wanted to tell more of the Burlington story.

He chose a building many walk by if we are heading to Spencer Smith Park

He tell us that: “Viewers of CHCH television Evening News are informed at the end of each broadcast ,that the anchor gets “her hair done in Burlington at the corner of Lakeshore & John”.

“Often that is the ONLY mention Burlington gets on CHCH out of Hamilton. But, what building is at the corner of Lakeshore & John? – and how old is it?

Waldie himself

John Waldie, former Reeve of Burlington when it was a town, a member of the federal Parliament at a time when Sir John A McDonald was Prime Minister.

“The original store was built by W. Bunton in early 1830 and bought by John Waldie in 1847.

“Waldie was one of Burlington’s greatest entrepreneurs and benefactors. He was Reeve of Burlington for five years, and sat as a Liberal for Halton in the Dominion Parliament from 1887 to 1891.

“Waldie rebuilt the building in 1860 / 1865 to become his General Store which sold “everything”; probably in order to supply needs for his thirteen children.

Waldie store

The location when it was the Waldie General Store.

J Waldie & Co. General Store below featuring distinctive three second storey windows in this drawing from 1877.

After prohibition ended in 1927, the Brewers Retail (Beer Store) began operations and the building was opened as a Brewers Retail store.

Evolution continued in 1960 when the building became Burlington Motors.

When it was insurance

A fire resulted in the top floor being taken off – how often does an insurance company office file an insurance claim?

In 1966 it was renovated again to serve as three retail outlets and then changed further in 1973 with new tenants and new windows being installed as insurance against inclement weather.

Times have changed and now the building is shown as it is today as a hair salon.

Why did it go from three storeys down to just two? Did they want “a little off the top” ?

Actually a fire in 1973 resulted in the destruction of the upper floor while CAIG Insurance was its occupant.

Current look

Corner of John and Lakeshore today. Property is one of the Molinaro holdings.




Alan Harrington, when he was President of the Historical Society with then Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward checking out an historical marker on the waterfront.

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The expensive field unit at Joseph Brant will begin taking in COVID-19 patients this week

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2021



We fully expected that expensive tent put in place between the parking garage and the hospital would eventually be used.  While expensive – the construction was a prudent move.

Plans were announced by the Joseph Brant hospital today to open the Regional Pandemic Response Unit to provide space for COVID-19 patients from the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant and Burlington (HNHBB) region.

field hospital - installed April

Building the unit was a prudent if expensive decision. How well the public follows the lock-down rules will determine how much use it gets. This is as serious as it gets.

This week, hospitals will begin identifying and working with patients who have progressed in their care and could receive care in the PRU, a state-of-the-art, all-season field hospital located on JBH grounds.

Hospitals have had to cancel elective surgery and focus on the pressure created by the number of people infected by the virus and needing a higher level of care.

The infection levels are hovering at the 3000 new infections daily – with the number of deaths rising as well.

“The Pandemic Response Unit was built to care for COVID-19 patients whose condition has stabilized but require support that cannot be provided at home, such as oxygen therapy and medication, as well as ongoing monitoring of their symptoms and some personal support,” says Dr. Ian Preyra, Chief of Staff at Joseph Brant Hospital.

“Transitioning these individuals to the PRU allows them to complete their recovery in an inpatient unit that is specifically designed to provide the type of care they need.”

The healthcare teams working in the PRU comprise of physicians, nurses, patient care assistants, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, home and community care coordinators.

field hospital - long look

The space will have everything needed to comfort patients who will be very very sick people when they get to this point.

The PRU is a key component of a regional strategy developed by HNHBB hospitals to meet the rising demand for COVID-19 care during Wave 2, while helping to minimize potential disruptions to scheduled and community care. The strategy is being led by the HNHBB Hospital Incident Management Structure (IMS) team, which includes representation from all regional hospitals, including CEOs and clinical leadership.

Under the plan, the PRU serves as a regional resource that can receive patients from four hospitals that are providing acute COVID-19 care: Joseph Brant Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton Health Sciences (Hamilton General Hospital) and Niagara Health. Any transfers will be determined based on care needs and in consultation with patients and their families.

“Our healthcare system is being stretched to its limits,” says Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences and IMS co-chair and a former Burlington Mayor. “Opening the Pandemic Response Unit is a necessary step in our continued efforts to preserve critical hospital capacity for the sickest patients. All of the region’s hospitals are working closely together to ensure that care can be delivered safely with limited disruption to patients.”

JBMH president Eric Vandewall is reported to be working on his schedule and aking tme to meet with the city. Dinner with senior city staff was a good start.

JBH president and CEO Eric Vandewall brought the building of the PRU ahead of schedule – he realized immediately that the city would at some point in the future need the facility.

JBH’s Infection Prevention and Control team was closely involved in the design of the PRU, leveraging current research and best practices in the care of COVID-19 patients. Its features include a filtered, negative pressure ventilation system, allowing for treatments that may generate aerosols to be safely performed. It also has durable, easy-to-disinfect surfaces, as well as other features to provide a comfortable environment for patients, such as natural light, portable laptop tables and free WiFi to connect with their loved ones during their stay.

The 16,000-square foot structure was constructed in April 2020, after the Ontario government requested that hospitals implement capacity plans at their sites. It was built as a collaboration amongst Joseph Brant Hospital, community-based health care providers, the City of Burlington, and Halton Region.

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Capital budget goes before Council next week - looking for approval to spend $72 million +

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

January 4TH, 2021



We learn next week how city council wants to handle the budget request for $13,306,000 in Capital spending.

That covers the cost of roads, buildings and the spaces used to run the city.

The budget breaks this amount into three parts.

New/Enhanced facilities – $566 million

Infrastructure renewal – $12,684,000

Growth – $56 million

In the graphic below the city’s finance department also sets out what they expect to be require in the way of Capital Spending through to 2030 INSERT GRAPHIC FROM PAGE 27

Capital budget 2021 + summary

The bottom three entries for each year set out the category of spending falls under.

The Capital spending the city does has to be put in context. The forces driving the expenditures and the requirements of the Municipal Act.

The city put a 25 year Strategic Plan in place in 2015. Council working with Staff created what they call V2F – Vision to Focus which boils down to which parts of the Strategic Plan this council will focus on.

Five focus areas were created:

1: Increasing Economic prosperity
2: Improving Integrated City |Mobility
3: Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure
4: Building more citizen engagement
5: Delivering Customer Centric Services

The 2021 budget process began with a Budget Framework Report. This was presented to Council for consideration and
approval in September 2020, after which staff began the preparation of the budget.

process followed for capital

The next step was a comprehensive review of the budget by internal staff teams. The capital budget was reviewed by
the Corporate Infrastructure Committee which is made up of the Asset Category leads and members of the Finance team.

This review ensured the proposed budget was submitted and aligned with the City’s financial policies and that capital
projects were prioritized according to the City’s Asset Management Plan and coordinated across asset categories.

Following the internal staff reviews, the budget was then forwarded to the Leadership Budget Review Team where
it was reviewed from a corporate perspective.

Then Public Engagement.  There are weaknesses on both sides of the engagement issue.  The city has yet to come up with a way to put the information out in a format that truly engages the public.  That is not because they aren’t trying – they just haven’t come up with a way to make the review something that draws the public.

Citizens gather for budget discussions. This meeting involved a number of city firemen who were attentively listened to by Councillor Craven, on the right in the blue shirt.

Citizens gather for budget discussions. This meeting involved a number of city firemen who were attentively listened to by then Councillor Craven, on the right in the blue shirt. There was a time when budget public meetings drew large audiences.

On the other side – few people really care – those that do argue that the decisions have already been made – the public engagement events that take place amount to the city asking questions and looking for approval.

It is interesting to note that the city has numerous Advisory Committees but does not have one related to budget matters.

The City says it is continuously looking for ways to improve and increase transparency for the public. Staff continue to use the City’s website as a communication medium through videos, webcast and online surveys.

The City will be hosting a Virtual Budget Town Hall on Jan. 20, 2021. This event will allow residents, organizations and business owners to learn more about the 2021 budget.

The “Budget Basics” video continues to be available on the website which explains how the City develops its budgets.

In addition, a revised version of Burlington Open Budget, on the City’s website, is available to the public to allow residents to view the 2021 budget data in an intuitive and illustrative form.

Burlingtonians will show up for public meetings and take an active part in any discussion - but they have to be given background briefings and decent oportunity to study and prepare.

Burlingtonians will show up for public meetings and take an active part in any discussion – but they have to be given background briefings and decent oportunity to study and prepare.

Budgets are long, complex documents – far too much to be taken in at one gulp.

The Gazette will follow up with detail on:

Where does the money come from – yes – it all eventually comes from the pockets of the tax payers.

Where are the pinch points?

Specific examples of Capital spending.

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Mayor celebrates a birthday as she prepares for a New Year

News 100 redBy Staff

January 4th, 2021



Meed Ward at BSCI

The birthday girl!

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, back from several days of R&R, steps into city hall and celebrates a birthday.

A year older and probably a year wiser. The last two years have been a wonderful ride for her and the city she now leads.

Her plans for the week we are into are set out below.

Her plans for the month are to tackle the budgets that are now before Council.

Her plans for the year?  Build on what she has achieved and plan for the next election.

That’s less than two years away and while there is no one on the current council who can take the job away from her – one never knows what other interests in the city would like to see her removed.

Were she to slip at all – Councillor Sharman is ready and quite willing to wear that Chain of Office.

MMW Jan 4-10 part 1
mmw JAn 4-10 part 2

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Tell me about Burlington - part 1

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2021,


Part 1 of a series

If someone asked you to “tell me all about Burlington” , “what makes the city work”, what would you say?

The Gazette has observed and reported on this city for more than a decade now. Like all media we have watched closely as the city has dealt with the pandemic – in some situations remarkably well and in others less so.

We have watched how the provincial government lost the credibility it once had through the stupid, selfish actions of a few while the vast majority of the people in the province did what they were asked to do.

Dealing with the pandemic on a daily basis has shown the city and its administration for what it is – committed people working under difficult circumstances.

There is legitimate concern for the mental health of those several hundred people who have to work from home juggling their cell phones with their keyboards to meet the demands for information and policy directions.

Today and during the balance of the week we will report on stories that point up how the population and the people who lead them have acted and responded.

Today we want to tell you more about the Burlington Food Bank and the superb job it has done under trying circumstances.

Bailey Food Bank March 31-20

Bailey makes one statement – every day. “If you need help getting the food you need – call us, we are here to help.”

Led by Robin Bailey who serves as Executive Director, and a collection of volunteers who make one statement – every day.  “If you need help getting the food you need – call us, we are here to help.”

Bailey does a short video almost every day highlighting where food is coming from and also what he needs in the way of food to meet the daily need.

The Food Bank has on occasion delivered food to more than 70 homes in a single day.

Margo - thank you

Neighborhood in the city hold a local food drive.

That food comes from a wide variety of sources. A neighborhood in the city will hold a local food drive that has dozens, sometimes hundreds of people dropping off bags of food that is then taken to the Food Bank.

There are dozens of locations around the city that have large bins at which that food is left – every supermarket has one, there are bins at the fire stations, and in the churches.

Bailey has access to funds that he can use to buy items that didn’t get to him through the voluntary food chain.

Bailey works within the eco-system that exists at both the federal and provincial levels where people who are at the front-line level exchange views and share solutions to problems while at the same time keeping tabs on just how big a problem the food banks are in place to handle.

Food bank - three young men

They just show up with large bins or boxes filled with food.

Each day a couple of dozen volunteers show up at the food bank to handle the food that has arrived and put in into the short quarantine that all food gets put in.

It then gets placed on shelves where the people who are putting together the food baskets turn to to make up a food package.

There are drivers who take turns picking up food from the many drop off points as well as delivering the food to those in need.

Bailey, who works with Scot Cameron who produces the daily web cast, gets the message out in a short, direct video that rarely runs more than two minutes.

On an almost daily basis people just show up with large bins or boxes filled with food.

The system works with not a dime from the city or the regional government that is responsible for social welfare.

This is just citizens knowing that there is a need and doing what has to be done to fill that need.

The is part of what Burlington is.

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What would the fortune cookie predict for 2021?

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 2nd, 2021



Little did we know how prescient the first page of a section of the Globe and Mail last January 4th would be.

G&M logo

January 4th,, 2020

G&M section 2

Change did indeed come.


We can be very surprised by what is around the corner for us.

A good time to think about what this year could bring.

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Arrest Made After Shooting in Appleby GO Station Parking Lot

Crime 100By Staff

January 2nd, 2021



The Halton Regional Police had a major case on their hands New Year’s Day.


Shooting took place at the Appleby GO station parking lot.

Report of a shooting in the parking lot of the Appleby GO station some time before 1 p.m. on January 1, had the Halton Regional Police Service tending to an individual who appeared to have been shot in a vehicle in the Appleby GO station parking lot in Burlington.

Police officers had been directed to a woman in a vehicle suffering from head trauma that appeared to be the result of a gunshot. A male suspect was arrested at the scene. The female was transported to hospital, where she is receiving care for serious injuries. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

The male and female are known to each other. No additional suspects are outstanding and there is no ongoing threat to public safety.

For the protection of the privacy of the victim, the suspect will not be named at this time, and no additional details will be provided to media.

CrimeStopper_LogoPolice are appealing for any witnesses who may have observed any suspicious activity at the Appleby GO station between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, January 1, 2021, or anyone who may have information about this incident, to contact police at 905-825-4777 ext. 8799.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at

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It is our core values that will get us through 2021 - do we know what those values are?

opinionred 100x100By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2021



graphic 2021

It is going to be a tough year.

It will be a long haul.

There is of course much hope but there is also a lot to think about.

The way we have failed to take care of those seniors who live in long term care facilities is shameful. The lady in my life said this morning that it must be terrible for an older person who “has all their marbles” to sit in their room realizing that there aren’t enough people to really take care of them.

Lurking behind this is the fact that demographically there is a huge wave of people who will find themselves in long term care facilities who should be asking if they are going to be taken care of.

The look of their “sunset years” has been painted out for them – it is not a pretty picture.

The vaccines are now being produced and people are being vaccinated – why there isn’t more assurance as to when the needle will be put in their arm is disturbing.

The eve of the New Year has traditionally been a time to celebrate and look forward to great things ahead.

This year our thoughts may well be asking how we are going to get through what we are experiencing and perhaps looking more closely at our core values.

Reading that the Ontario Minister of Finance slipped out of the country to enjoy a vacation and basically lied to the public about where he was, and the Premier seems to have covered for him, points out just how big the divide is between the haves and the have-nots.

Rod Phillips is the Minister who is responsible for the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee – the one that is going to get the provincial economy back on track; his ‘follows his own rules’ attitude doesn’t leave us with a surge of confidence.

There are more questions than answers at this point. The challenge for us is to find the core values that make us the people we are and then to ensure that they prevail.

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2020 didn't work out all that well. Let's see what we can do in 2021

Now that we are into 2021 let’s figure out how we are going to get through it – safely.

Take care of each other and stay safe.

Happy New Year !

2021 NY graphic

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Has the postal service forgotten to report the Covid infections ?

News 100 redBy Staff

December 31st, 2020


UPDATE:  Eight people are isolated,  one confirmed infection in Burlington.   Parcel service and letter mail started coming in again today  with reduced volumes.  

Reports of problems at the Canada Post main depot in Burlington are coming in.

Not able to reach anyone at Canada Post for confirmation but one resident reports there has been no service to his address for four days.

The chaos due to a case of COVID.

Our source, who works at one of the several depots in the city that gets mail from Canada Post for redistribution, reports that:

“Parcels at the depot are backed up several days. We have had limited deliveries since Xmas, which prompted a call by myself to the depot to find out why. I was notified shortly thereafter that one of the delivery personnel, which we have a good idea who it is, is infected. He is young so should recover. He delivers only parcels to our outlet and also other locations from the Burlington depot.

Canada Post vehicle

At least one truck drivers suspected of testing positive.

“According to subsequent conversations with other delivery people, five people are in isolation that work with the one person who has tested positive. To make matters worse one of the delivery guys told me shortly thereafter that there are additional cases in Hamilton. Likely Stoney Creek depot (but I don’t know for sure), which is where most of our letter mail comes from. Since we have not had nearly any letter mail since Xmas that makes sense.

“We have had numerous people coming in to pick up parcels that should have arrived yesterday or today but are still showing in transit since Dec 24. I suspect there will be a significant delay for at least the next week or so.

“Burlington residents should expect limited mail service and parcel deliveries for the next few days.”

A cause for concern.

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Framework will guide vaccine prioritization - THIS is not what the public needs to hear

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 31st, 2020


I am sure the ethical frame work, released by the province yesterday,  within which the distribution of vaccines will be distributed is important.

Did the public not expect that there would be one in place? This is not what the public wanted  to know.  People want to know when they will be getting their vaccinations.

long term care - meal

Are the long term care residents first?

People understand that the people working the front lines in the hospitals and those in long term care facilities are high, very high on the list.

I would not want to be the one who had to choose which came first.

It is after those two groups that the vast majority of the public fall into.

When does the 90 year old in good heath get vaccinated?

And where will she go for that vaccination?

We read that there is a shortage of nurses who will do the inoculation and that the people making the decisions are calling in retired nurses and students.

We are just doing that NOW?  That is work that should have been done months ago.

There is no rocket science in this.  We have population data and we know how many people can be vaccinated in an hour.  Do the math.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

Where are the young people on the schedule ?

The public understands that it takes time to set things up – the bureaucrats and the medical community have had the time to get this work  – March, April, May, June and July – when they knew there was going to be a second wave, and when it was becoming clear that a vaccine was going to be available.

Being told that the Ontario government has released an Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution which was developed in partnership with the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force to guide further vaccine prioritization and distribution across the province doesn’t quite cut it in terms of keeping a public informed.

long term care workers

Where are the front line workers on the inoculation schedule; the people at risk working for not much more than the minimum wage.

“This ethical framework is a clear demonstration of our commitment to Ontarians to be transparent,” said General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. “We know that people are eager to get vaccinated and this framework helps ensure that we do it in an ethical, effective and compassionate way.”

“Phase One of Ontario’s three-phase vaccine implementation plan began on December 15, 2020 at two hospital sites, and increased to 17 additional sites the following week, with the delivery of 90,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses. With Health Canada’s recent approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the province can expect about 50,000 additional doses before the end of the month.”

Couple of questions:  How many phases are there going to be and what are the dimensions of each phase ?

The people leading the program to get us all vaccinated as quickly as possible are not generating much in the way of public confidence.

We can do better than this. And we should be doing better than this.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Are We Waiting for a Miracle because we aren't very good at common sense ?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 30th, 2020



Premier Ford started an online petition to persuade the federal government to enhance border control, presumably to tighten quarantine and restrict flights from COVID hotspots. It may be a little unorthodox for a province to start a public petition, but he must have felt it was necessary.

Our federal government has a less than stellar history when it comes to border control. Failure to act earlier by closing the border and enforcing quarantine was responsible for bringing the virus into our communities in the first place.

But today most of the infection comes via community transmission. Alberta has a pilot program in place to either test or quarantine arriving passengers at its airports. Their records show that less than 2% of all arrivals are testing as positive. Of course, if all arrivals properly quarantined none of this should be a problem. But we know people cheat, even in New Zealand and Australia where the military confines arriving passengers into mandatory quarantine in dedicated hotels.

So bravo Mr. Ford. But before Ford goes all ballistic and accuses the federal government of sloppy border control, he should look in his own backyard. Ontario’s winter surge of COVID cases is almost entirely the result of half-hearted provincial policies. Having declared victory too early, last summer, Ford’s administration has now allowed the virus to spread even further into workplaces, grocery stores and gradually into schools.

Ford OPEN for business

That lifting of the lock-down in March was probably not the Premier’s best decision.

Ford’s enthusiasm in reopening the economy, pretending Ontario was back to some kind of near-normal was folly. Opening bars and restaurants, gyms and churches and expanding the allowed size of private gatherings have all contributed to the degree of sickness we now find.

The mixed messages and ever changing rules of the government’s COVID public health restrictions were proof that the authorities had no plan, were making it up on the run or just muddling through. And then there is the unfortunate hypocrisy, as for example, when one of the government’s senior ministers holidays in the Caribbean while the Premier lectures the rest of us to stay at home.

If Ford actually had a plan it would be ‘waiting for a miracle’ – the vaccine. And even with that his people have fumbled at getting it out of the starting gate. Ontario has the lowest rate of inoculations among all provinces. And stopping inoculations over the holiday period, as if waiting for Santa to return to the North Pole, has not helped the government’s credibility. Not that COVID ever takes a break!

Ford’s effort to restart the economy too early has set this province back, rather than move us ahead. It has turned out to be a short term gain for a much longer and more severe pain. He is fortunate that the federal government has been shouldering the vast majority of the costs of this pandemic. But we know there is only one taxpayer in this federation at the end of the day.

Sadly there is some question as to whether the vaccines will even stop the epidemic or just keep us from getting sick. A scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) has speculated that the virus may continue unabated to spread and mutate, perhaps to a variant which can evade the vaccine we’ve just taken and/or become even more deadly as happened with the Spanish Flu.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

The Teddy Bear makes it all bearable.

While we are waiting for our jab in the arm, shouldn’t our biggest effort be to eliminate the virus to (near) zero, the hard and proven way, as New Zealand and even China have done?

The truth is we really don’t know what these vaccines will accomplish, for how long they will protect and even whether there will be longer term undesirable consequences for those immunized. But assuming they do work as hoped, at current roll-out rates it may take close to a year to immunize enough people to allow us to safely get back to some kind of normal. By contrast New Zealand eliminated its viral contagion in seven weeks with an extensive and enforced stay-at-home lock down.

Mr. Ford’s current partial lockdown for 28 days, given the extent of infection transmission, particularly in the workplace, is not likely going to be enough. All of these half-hearted solutions have only led to COVID fatigue and rule breaking and ultimately to some kind of mental health crisis. And the task is not hopeless. Atlantic Canada has shown how it is possible to manage a contagion while the rest of the provinces have floundered.

In hindsight perhaps controlling this epidemic was too big a job to be left in the hands of the provincial governments and their health authorities. Perhaps the Prime Minister should have enacted the Emergency Act as he had offered to do at the outset of the crisis. After all, the feds are picking up the tab while we lock down and they could hardly have done a worse job with the miserable series of lock-downs. But then Mr. Ford might reasonably point out that the feds needed to have got their own house in order first – and he’d point to border control.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes from time to time about whatever is on his mind.  A former sheep farmer he has served as a federal bureaucrat for 25 years, ran for public office and lost. He was the founder of the first sustainability public interest group in Burlington.


Background links:

Ford’s Petition –   Ontario Vaccinations –   Acting Early

Ontario Mess –    Not Prepared –   Ontario Minister Holiday

WHO Scientist Doubts –    Alberta Airport Arrivals

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One nut case and one provincial cabinet minister who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them - great notes to end the year on

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2020



An Ontario politician who has already been charged once for disobeying COVID-19 rules is blatantly breaking them again.

MPP Randy Hillier posted a photo on Twitter Sunday showing himself and 14 other people at what appears to be a holiday celebration. He used the hashtag “#nomorelockdowns” to accompany the photo, which shows disregard for Ontario’s public health guidelines.

In another tweet, he confirmed the photo was taken Dec. 27.

Ontario has been in a province wide lockdown since Dec. 26, put in place to combat the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and ease the strain on the province’s health-care system.

Announcing the lockdown last week, Premier Doug Ford said it was a necessary measure to save hospitals from becoming overwhelmed in upcoming weeks. Currently, no indoor social gatherings are allowed, except for those with members of the same household.

Hillier Randy MPP

Randy Hillier, MPP for an Eastern Ontario riding had been expelled from the Tory Caucus, is still pushing back over the Covid rules.

Ontarians found guilty of hosting illegal private gatherings can face a fine ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, according to the Reopening Ontario Act.

In November, Hillier said on Twitter he was charged for his role organizing a large gathering at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He has opposed lockdowns and masks and has promoted a debunked pandemic conspiracy theory in the Ontario legislature.

Ford previously called the MPP “totally irresponsible” for the protest. The premier said he’s “never figured out” anti-maskers who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, saying, “this is a very serious virus we’re seeing … around the world, around our country.”

People on Twitter have called for Hillier to resign.

This comes after more than 40 local physicians signed an open letter to Hillier in December, fact-checking his incorrect claims about COVID-19.

“You are spreading misinformation that minimizes the seriousness of COVID-19 to support your personal anti- lockdown and anti-mask beliefs,” Dr. Jeanette Dietrich wrote.

“I urge the public to ignore you and heed the advice of trained health care professionals. Continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, and keep everyone safe.”

The above was picked up from Huffington Post Canada.

St Barts

Described as The Island for Billionaires St. Barts was the holiday destination for the province’s Minister of Finance while the rest of Ontario is under a month long lock down.

It gets worse. We learned today that the Ontario Minister of Finance, Rob Phillips,  had slipped out of the country early in December to the Caribbean island of St. Barts to celebrate the holidays in the sunny, sunny south.

Premier Ford, said he was not aware the Minister had left the county and ordered him to return immediately.


Rod Phillips, was once the Minister of the Environment and moved into Finance. He was at one time the Chair of Post Media. His is going to have to get some media help to get out the mess he is in now.

The Minister did leave for his holiday, which had been planned sometime before the lock down was put in place.

While out of the country his staff was sending out tweets which implied that he was still in the country serving the public.

An example of really sick hypocrisy.

Durham Region, where Phillips’ constituency is located, entered into the “control” phase of Ontario’s tiered lockdown system in late November. Public health guidance for this phase says trips outside of the home “should only be for essential reasons.”

Tweets from Phillips’ official Twitter account reminded Ontarians on Christmas Eve to thank the “special heroes” making sacrifices during the pandemic.

“As we all make sacrifices this #Christmas, remember that some of our fellow citizens won’t even be home for Christmas dinner over Zoom,” the tweet reads.

“Thousands of front line heroes will be at work, looking out for us.”

stocks -

There was a time when Stocks were set up in public places where offenders against public morality formerly sat imprisoned, with their legs held fast beneath a heavy wooden yoke. It was never outlawed – just fell out of favour. Might be time to bring it back

Several photos of Phillips on public visits to small businesses and fundraisers were taken before his trip and were tweeted while he was abroad.

The only thing we haven’t heard from the Minister are the words “Let them eat cake”.

The Premier should think in terms of firing Phillips.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of young people have had to cancel wedding plans because of the 10 person limit lock down requirement for gatherings of people.

With hundreds dying from Covid there are literally thousands who will not be able to attend funerals for the departed.

What I am looking for is a word stronger than ‘hypocrisy’. Putting Phillips in stocks on the lawn outside the Legislature might be an appropriate punishment.

The bigger damage is to the concept of public service which used to be something that was seen as noble. The giving of one’s self to serve the public, which is certainly what those thousands of hospital workers who care for those with COVID-19 are doing, gets trashed by people like Phillips.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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A full moon and common sense don't seem to mix

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 30th, 2020



There is something about the strength of a full moon – the tug it has on our emotions and the impact it has on the earth.

Unfortunately that gravitational force does not bring any common sense with it.

full moon dec 29

A full moon in the process of rising over the city

One Gazette reader learned that the 6 foot social distance had been reduced to 3 feet for some – and the moon had nothing to do with it.

“Saw a family of cousins, aunts and uncles greeting on the street, mask-less, hugging and exclaiming, “So nice to see you again”, while the cousins piled into a van.”

Our reader suggests that family might want to touch base with each other around the 9th of January and ask how they feel.

The vaccine exists – but we have to be inoculated with it before it can do any good.

I am sure that most people listen for the number the province publishes on how many new infections are reported and how many deaths are recorded.

Adhering to what the lock down requires us to do individually is not always easily – but it is the only way we can stop the spread of the virus.

There is no rocket science to what we have to do. The rocket science has already taken place – the vaccine was determined and manufactured in record time.

We now wait for the next full moon and see what the governments report.

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Did the Mayor get the feedback she was looking for from her colleagues?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2020



The genesis for the document the Mayor sent her colleagues on December 7th came out of a 2017 Citizen Review Committee report that called for a review of the role for Deputy Mayors in subsequent terms of council.

Mayor Meed Ward was putting together the list of who would serve as Deputy Mayor and when and explained to her colleagues that one could not serve as the Deputy Mayor (DM) while they were serving as Chair of a Standing Committee. Changing that rule would call for a change in the procedural bylaw. While doing that it made sense to the Mayor to take a deeper look into what the other members of Council thought the role should be when they were serving as Deputy Mayor.

DM evolution graphic

A Council meeting on evolving the role of deputy mayor. First time around it didn’t produce all that much.

In a short visual presentation to Council, which was meeting virtually, Meed Ward set out what she saw as the options.
Roles and Responsibilities, Term and Term Extension, How Selected and Other. It was the “other” that was particularly interesting and revealing.

Meed Ward and Itabashi mayor

When the Mayor travels – and this one does like to travel – she needs a deputy mayor in place to ensure there is continuity of operations should a crisis hit the city.

Meed Ward pointed to possible variations: A purely ceremonial role where the Deputy Mayor would represent the Mayor and cut a ribbon or make a few comments at some event.

It could possibly be a situation where the deputy gave advice and worked as a partner with the Mayor. Should the person serving as Deputy be elected or appointed? Should there be an additional stipend and what should the term of office be? Anywhere from a month to the full four years.

It was clear that the Mayor was wide open to any ideas – not something one normally gets from a sitting Mayor. In the comments she made after the presentation she said she saw part of a Mayor’s job was to groom and nurture future holders of the office.

The over-riding question was – does council do nothing about the role or should it be enhanced?

Meed Ward is currently taking a course at McMaster on Corporate Governance and had learned that continuity of operations was critical. It was while doing the course work that Meed Ward fully realized that there really wasn’t an acceptable backup policy – someone to fill in when the Mayor was not available.

That resulted in a report she brought to council that led to a long protracted discussion on just what the role of a deputy mayor should be and if there were people on council who could step into the role if it became necessary.

The discussion revealed a lot about the other members of council: how they saw themselves and what they thought the role of a deputy mayor of council should be. They all wanted it to be more than cutting ribbons and taking part in flag raising.

The pressing concern for the Mayor was having a deputy in place and then developing a program that would educate the Councillors on just what is expected of them should they have to fill in for the Mayor.

The current council includes five people who had never served on a committee and knew next to nothing about how a municipal council worked. They were both green and wet behind the ears.

They have grown in the two years they have been in place and it is becoming clearer as to who has the skills and the inclination to seek higher office.

What these members of council were not prepared to do was set out just what the role of a deputy mayor should be.

They did agree that there needed to be a deputy Mayor in place for more than a month at a time and in January the Mayor will release the names of the people she would like to see in place as deputy mayor for the balance of this term which has a little less than 22 months left.

Mayor Meed Ward wanted to know what her colleagues would like to see as the role of a deputy mayor. She didn’t get much in the way of a clear answer.

“What do you think the role should/could be?”
“Should the term be monthly? Quarterly?”

Meed Ward asked: “What else comes to mind, is there anything missing? We need to capture those thoughts now.”

Meed Ward

Mayor Meed Ward was looking for much more in the way of input on the role of a DM from her council colleagues.

Meed Ward kept pressing the other members of council: “I want to be open minded and hear what my colleagues think” adding that she has her own initial thoughts. She was not on for one person serving as deputy minister for a full year.

The decision as to who serves as deputy mayor is part of the Mayor’s job. She will listen to council but she decides.

Councillor Sharman made it clear to his colleagues that he had served as the deputy mayor in place when the flood hit parts of the city in August of 2014.

Flood Fairview plaza

The day the rain wouldn’t stop both the Mayor and the City Manger were out of town. Councillor Sharman was the DM – he had to call a Special meeting of Council – something for which he admits he was not prepared.

“I was not prepared for that” but the city did get through it.”

Sharman had yet to get over not being given a chance to serve as deputy mayor so far this term saying that he was the “primary” Councillor and that he wasn’t sure what his not being part of the list that did serve as deputy mayor “was all about.”

Shawana Stolte 1

Councillor Stolte wanted a lot more in the way of discussion on just what a DM should be doing.

There were a number of good ideas put out for discussion. For Councillor Stolte the immediate objective was to get a deputy mayor in place “so that the Mayor could “get a good night’s sleep” Meed Ward had said that the city was at risk in not knowing just who would stand in for her if she were incapacitated.

Stolte agreed with that position however she did not want to take time at this point to define just what the role of a deputy mayor should be.

That for her is something that would be discussed during 2021 because “it is a bigger conversation” that needs time and some research. One of her questions was – Why enhance the role? Stolte pointed out that there was a statutory responsibility to have a deputy mayor in place and she wanted to see a number of people who had some training and experience to be able to slide into the job when the Mayor was unable to.

Councillor Kearns pointed to the diversity on council and said the mayor should uses the most qualified people to serve as deputy mayor. She felt council should be cautious and careful to ensure that chaos did not result with a less than clear understanding of the job.

Kearns with Mike

Was serving as DM resume padding ?

Was the role of deputy mayor just resume-building, should DM get paid more, would a deputy mayor have more in the way of ranking?

Getting in as a DM is one thing – how do you get out,  asked Kearns.

Councillor Sharman took that one step further and asked: What happens when the DM screws up.

There was an occasion when, due to a communications error, that the feelings of two Councillors were “hurt”. Everyone stepped around just who the two were and what the circumstances were – but that did point up the importance the newbies place on the job.

Councillor Nisan said he found that when he was serving as the DM a document would be put in front of him that h would be asked to sign.

On one occasion Nisan chose to meet with the city solicitor and ask for some direction before signing.

The Emergency Control Group, (ECG) that in practice runs the city while there is a pandemic and the province has set some rigid rules. In Burlington the Mayor takes part in the ECG meetings and the city manager reports to council on what they are doing and why.

Councillor Sharman has always had issues with just the Mayor taking part in ECG meetings.

Councillor Nisan pointed out that with continuity being the major driving force the ECG becomes a focal point for a DM. He added that there might come a point when there is more than one critical issue taking place which could stretch what a councillor could handle.

KG Dec 7

Councillor Galbraith had little to say on the role the DM should play.

Councillor Galbraith, who was chairing the virtual meeting, didn’t have all that much to say other than he had served as the DM and he had no problems. His assistant did come up with a “chain of office” he could wear.

He saw the role as more ceremonial than anything.

Angelo B

For Councillor Bentivegna it was a big step.

Councillor Bentivegna saw the discussion as a “big step” and pointed out that anything this council might put in place could be changed by a new Mayor.

It was Councillor Sharman who asked the question that should have been at the beginning of the meeting: “What business problem are we trying to solve?” He understood that the need for continuity was critical and had already pointed out that he was the most qualified Councillor to take on that task and didn’t understand why he wasn’t the full time DM.

Mayor Meed Ward certainly understood. One does not put the fox in the hen house.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. Unbeatable? Some Tory's seem to think so.

Marianne Meed Ward will let her colleagues know what she has decided to do with the DM issue – she seemed to be looking for more in the way of ideas from council members.

She did say that she was prepared to spend some time with Councillors and mentor them but said it would be difficult to do much for them if the rotation is monthly – quarterly would give her the opportunity to do more for them.

Expect the rotation to be quarterly and this time around Councillor Sharman will get a chance to strut his stuff.

The Mayor will present her list early in 2021

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Lock down seems to be working - a month less a day to go.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 29th, 2020



How is that lock down going for you so far?

Lisa Kearns who from time to time walks the streets of ward 2,  reports that people are “walking for health and walking dogs. Not seeing any groups, the odd distanced coffee walk is happening.”

Lisa Kearns

Councillor takes to the streets – all seems to be well – quiet.

“All food service is open for pick up, including coffee shops so there is some activity there.

“Parking is readily available as well, so an indicator of reduced activity.

“Merchants all closed since lock down, chatted with one who was in store doing paperwork but not allowing in customers.

“Overall, 90 min parking fees waived was well received. Parking supply better managed for availability around commercial areas. Would still have to measure the Covid factor as merchants report more destination shopping (in and out) compared to leisure retail (store to store browsing).

Parking meter wrapped

Parking isn’t free but a quarter will get you 90 minutes.

“Significant absence of “December P” negative parking emails this year, last year there were 7 oppositional, detailed and direct emails with about 12 general concern emails. This year zero.”

No word from any of the other members of Council – yet.


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Just why do people gamble

News 100 blueBy George Wolfson

December 29th, 2020



It is well known that real money gambling makes entertainment more exciting and the experience of visitors intriguing.

Financial motivation is very important for those gamblers who come to casinos to try their luck not only for fun but also in the hope of getting a cash prize. If you find yourself interested in gambling, below you will find the most popular reasons why people are involved in this sphere.

Key Motivations by Experienced Gamblers

Paid Wolfson pic a

Monetary rewards greatly affects our behavior.

Money is a very strong human stimulus. Receiving monetary rewards greatly affects our behaviour and turns off rational thinking. The desire to gamble and take risks has become a modern phenomenon in the financial life of gamblers. Take a look at these five examples:

1)     Businesswoman

She is an ambitious and professional businesswoman with a very difficult job. She works in the world of finance and experiences the ups and downs of the financial industry on a daily basis. She feels the need to relax after work without burdening herself with the need to go out. Therefore, she takes advantage of online gambling on When she plays slot machines, she’s not doing it to win. As a professional, she knows how to set limits on gambling.

2)     Team leader from the event planning industry

He is in charge of a team of people at his job. In the evenings, if he has free time, he prefers to stay away from people. When he plays slots, he prefers to win, but not always, as slots are just fun. He understands his statistical odds of winning and doesn’t expect more.

3)     A professional bartender

He enjoys extreme outdoor sports and works seasonally. In the off-season, he visits mountains for skiing and snowboarding. His hobby is what makes him happy. He likes to live on the edge. When he gambles, he is not motivated to win: he rather enjoys the thrill of risk-taking. As someone who doesn’t like routine, he loves slot machines. His motivation to play is based on emotion. This is a typical example of someone who loves slots because of the chemistry that takes place in the brain and the release of dopamine associated with it.

4)     A university student

He works part-time and likes experiments. His lifestyle is intensive and he doesn’t have much free time. He enjoys spending time with his friends, loves playing computer games, and knows all the slots available on the market. He loves the gamification elements that most of these games offer.

In Conclusion

Paid wolfson pic b

Behavioral psychology explains some of the reasons people gamble.

So, what really motivates players to enjoy gambling? The reasons and motives are numerous. In general, it can be explained by behavioral psychology. We have given just a few examples of players, who enjoy gambling at online casinos. For a deeper understanding of the issue, psychologists need to study the reasons why people play in detail.

However, we made a non-scientific effort to explain why people play.


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