Community bank gave back in 2016 by donating $45,000 to local non-profits through its Sierra Grant Program

Bank of the Sierra announced that the first quarter of 2016 saw $45,000 go to a variety of non-profit organizations throughout its footprint. Each quarter the Bank commonly awards approximately 15 organizations with grants, usually totaling $1,000 to $5,000 based on the specific needs of the organization.

The grant program partners with traditional non-profits, public school districts, and other local organizations. The types of projects that benefit from the grants range widely, including initiatives to help underprivileged children and the elderly, housing and community building projects, cultural and educational initiatives, and environmental preservation efforts.

Many of the grants from this quarter were distributed to organizations that support local youth, including Bags4Kids, which hands out backpacks, toys, and supplies to underprivileged foster children, the Olivia’s Heart Project, which works to promote awareness and prevention of fatal cardiac arrest in youths, and a number of other afterschool programs aimed at mentorship and enrichment.

Kevin McPhaill, Bank President and CEO, expressed his appreciation for the grant program and the organizations that benefit from it: “It’s great to learn about the philanthropic work that these organizations can accomplish—especially when local children benefit from it. As always, Bank of the Sierra is pleased to do its part.”

About the Sierra Grant Program
Since its inception in 2004 the Sierra Grant Program has been responsible for donating over $1.4 million to organizations that improve local communities. Non-profits who wish to apply for a Sierra Grant can pick up an instructional brochure at any Bank of the Sierra branch, or visit the bank’s web site at www.bankofthesierra.com/resources/sierra_grant_program.

About Bank of the Sierra
Since its founding in 1977, Bank of the Sierra has grown to become the largest independent bank in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with approximately $1.8 billion in assets. The Bank is a multi-community financial institution that offers a full range of retail and commercial banking services, employing over 400 people at 29 locations, including an online branch, a real estate industries center, and an ag credit center. Offering more than just financial services, Bank of the Sierra is committed to providing the benefits of local banking with a focus on improving the communities in which it serves.

 


 

“Through a crack of light I was unable to find my way
Trapped inside a night but I’m a day.”

The above verse is from the song, Seven and Seven Is,” by Arthur Lee, founder of the 60‘s rock band LOVE.

I headed our 9th meditation column with these lyrics to follow-up with our last two studies on the benefits of meditation mitigating suicide, suicidal thoughts, and depression. The lyrics describe essentially the out-right fact that everything is in our brain, all perceptions of life, death, money, food, sociality, sex, traditions, racism, happiness, sadness, religion, the cosmos - you name it. Some are instinctual at their base level, but most are perverted culturally constructed add-ons attached to the instincts through epigenetics. The lyrics tell us that we are filled with light and not darkness. Is the “crack of light” your meditation practice?

It would be grand if we could strip our minds of all perceptions having to do with life and start over. Does that sound scary? Let’s be real!! What is truly scary is the conduct of our species throughout our civilization up to present times. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone of heinous conduct perpetrated against individuals or groups of people by the epigenetically humanly constructed perception of “us or them” or “you or me.” “Your group’s religious beliefs are not the truth of God, but our group’s beliefs are the truth of God.” This statement is not my opinion. It is a fact of perverted sociality. World leadership through the ages have attached material resources to that flawed concept adding to the hierarchical sociality a militaristic war economy based perverted civilization. Sadly, it's all due to humanly constructed perceptions. Imagine for a moment that you are an extraterrestrial studying planet Earth and its inhabitants. What would you write in your report regarding the condition of the planet and the current state of fitness of the 8.7 million known species? Let’s not fool ourselves, folks. The unbiased report would be dismal at best if for no other reason than the top tier species having created a hellishness for many of the 8.7 million species ultimately determining a catastrophic extinction rate coupled with an unbelievable deleterious alteration of the planet’s life support for the planet’s inhabitants including the top tier “intelligent” species. The first paragraph of the extraterrestrial’s report would begin with the question, “Who are the leaders of this unsustainable catastrophic mess?” The extraterrestrial would rubber stamp its report with “CIVILIZATION CLASSIFICATION 0.7 of 4.0; COLLAPSE IMMINENT WITHOUT IMMEDIATE NEURAL EVOLUTIONARY LEAP. I don't know of another method of freeing our perceptions and finding the light of sustainable life other than mindfulness meditation. The science is clear.

Paul Benavidez, MFA

 


 
Eradicating Polio Discussed At Rotary Meeting
Jim Lewis, Rotary District Polio Chair, discussed Rotary’s commitment to eradicate Polio in the world. The only two countries with polio now are Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sean Morris presented him with a Fillmore Rotary mug.
Jim Lewis, Rotary District Polio Chair, discussed Rotary’s commitment to eradicate Polio in the world. The only two countries with polio now are Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sean Morris presented him with a Fillmore Rotary mug.
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Jacqueline Tovar and Misael Ponce were honored as Top Scholars for the Star Awards at the Padre Serra Center in Camarillo. Students from all the high schools in Ventura County were honored.
Jacqueline Tovar and Misael Ponce were honored as Top Scholars for the Star Awards at the Padre Serra Center in Camarillo. Students from all the high schools in Ventura County were honored.
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Motorcyclist down B St. and Hwy 126, 7:06pm Sunday. Ambulance called to transport
Motorcyclist down B St. and Hwy 126, 7:06pm Sunday. Ambulance called to transport
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Interventional cardiologists at Community Memorial Hospital are the first in Ventura County to treat patients with breakthrough drug-eluting stents approved in October 2015 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

A cardiac stent restores blood flow in diseased blood vessels. Unlike traditional drug-eluting stents, Boston Scientific’s latest Synergy stent utilizes a bio-absorbable polymer on the surface of the stent that breaks down and is cleared by the body after the drug it contains is released, leaving behind a bare platinum-chromium stent.

Existing drug-eluting stents reduce coronary restenosis, but the polymer remaining on traditional stents can cause long-term inflammation and impaired healing that has been linked to complications including stent thrombosis. As a result of the new polymer, the evidence indicates that the Synergy stent will promote healing and reduce the risk of long-term complications. “The Synergy stent represents the latest advance in stent technology, bringing important improvements in performance, patient safety and long-term outcomes,” states Dr. Thomas Kong, Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at CMHS.

The approval by the USFDA of the Synergy stent was based on data from the EVOLVE II clinical trial presented at the American Heart Association’s 2014 Scientific Sessions. The EVOLVE II investigators compared the Synergy stent’s bio-absorbable polymer against a durable-polymer everolimus-releasing stent in 1,684 patients and reported no definite stent thrombosis events with the Synergy stent after 24 hours. Four years of data from the EVOLVE I trial also demonstrated a very low repeat vascularization rate of 1.1 percent with the Synergy stent and a continued 0 percent stent thrombosis rate.

Community Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, as well as the Centers for Family Health serving various Ventura County communities.

 
Rotary supports Piru Youth Sports. Rotary President Kyle Wilson, presented a donation to Lupe Hurtado for Piru Youth Sports.
Rotary supports Piru Youth Sports. Rotary President Kyle Wilson, presented a donation to Lupe Hurtado for Piru Youth Sports.
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Kate English, Rotarian and Katie Rhodes, speaker from Forever Found Forever Found is a nonprofit organization that exists to prevent, rescue and restore child trafficking victims. They began in countries such as India and later realized the problem in California. Between 2010-2012 California task forces identified 1,277 trafficking victims! It is even happening in our county! For more information visit www.foreverfound.org.
Kate English, Rotarian and Katie Rhodes, speaker from Forever Found Forever Found is a nonprofit organization that exists to prevent, rescue and restore child trafficking victims. They began in countries such as India and later realized the problem in California. Between 2010-2012 California task forces identified 1,277 trafficking victims! It is even happening in our county! For more information visit www.foreverfound.org.
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Part 2

Part 2 of last week’s meditation column.

Briefly recapping last week’s discussion of “self-harm” we learned that an individual’s disposition is controlled by the brain’s neural networks and that the person understands her or his environment and personal relations according to how the neural networks were formed due to experiences and influences created by the artifice of cultural constructs. The individual was not born with prejudices, opinions, judgments, ideologies, and the destructive habit of gossiping. Human constructs are acquired. Further, epigenetics enlightens us of the truth that we can change non-genetic negative imprint characteristics of previous generations affecting us. Recall the metaphor of the ocean wave being a negative thought. You have two choices. Confront the wave or dive under it and let the power of it pass over you, therefore, eliminating its power in your life. “Self-harm” is a perception of what is or isn’t and arises through cultural constructs that shape your neural networks.

Metaphorically, the wave is a thought. Negative rumination (waves) produce neural networks transmitting chronic harmful neurochemicals which produce constant cortisol in the bloodstream and so on. Suicidal brooding thoughts are sometimes referred to as “tunneling” because the person sees no-way-out. It’s a feedback loop that’s harmful and hellish to escape. Metaphorically, diving under the wave is meditation. Eventually, through meditation the wave that has been oppressively crushing you becomes known as a mental impression - it’s not even real. It’s an illusion but harmful. The conversion of your perception is the result of the growth of new neural pathways abandoning the old destructive ones using your meditation practice. Meditation teaches the practitioner that your beliefs are cultural constructs. This is why meditation is transformative and clears a path forward toward a workable future for the individual and society. Barriers caused by negative thoughts are deconstructed.

What is truly real is your breath and because of the gift of breath you have life and life only exist in the present moment breath by breath, no other place, and time. The Latin definition of breath is the spirit. Your breath is your spirit. Don’t confuse spirit with religion. Let your spirit, not your thoughts lead you into the ocean of life and life's unknown potentiality. New neural pathways not cluttered with the artifice of cultural constructs produce fruitful life possibilities.

Paul Benavidez, MFA
Meditation class is available at the Active Adult Center

 
Pictured left is Gerardo Arevalo, 22 of Piru, observing and assisting at the event. Arevalo is a student at Oxnard College majoring in Dental Hygiene. He has earned an Associates in arts General Studies Social and Behavioral Sciences from Ventura College.
Pictured left is Gerardo Arevalo, 22 of Piru, observing and assisting at the event. Arevalo is a student at Oxnard College majoring in Dental Hygiene. He has earned an Associates in arts General Studies Social and Behavioral Sciences from Ventura College.
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The CDA Foundation's volunteer dental clinic, CDA Cares, provided $1.5 million in charitable dental services to 1,884 people during the April 16-17 event at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

In addition to providing dental services at no charge to Californians who experience barriers to care, CDA Cares educates the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for an adequately funded dental safety net, which includes a well-functioning Denti-Cal program.

"These events highlight the tremendous oral health need in California and it's an incredible feeling to know that we are able to help more than 1,884 people in just two days," said CDA President Ken Wallis, DDS. "CDA is always looking for ways to improve access to care, and one of the things we're doing this year is sponsoring a ballot measure to raise the state's tobacco tax, which will support health care programs, save billions of dollars in smoking-related health care costs and save thousands of lives."

During the two-day event, dentists and dental professionals provided 11,583 dental procedures, including fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education. Volunteer technicians in the clinic's dental lab area worked to provide 188 complete and partial dentures and repairs.

"It's a great feeling to know you've helped someone by relieving their pain or infection. Patients hug us and leave smiling because they were able to get the help they needed," said Jean Creasey, DDS, chair of the CDA Foundation. "This event was a huge success and we wouldn't be able to host these events without the support of local volunteers and sponsors. We appreciate all the help we received from the Ventura community."

About 1,400 volunteers donated their time and services at the event, including 750 health professionals —dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, nurses and lab technicians — as well as hundreds of community volunteers who assisted with registration, translation, data entry and escorting patients.

The CDA Foundation is planning another CDA Cares event this year in Stockton Oct. 15-16.

For more information about CDA Cares visit cdafoundation.org.

 
Welcome to our Fillmore Chamber member Nothing Bundt Cakes (1794 S. Victoria Ave.) in Ventura. They have ten cake flavors to choose from and forty unique cake designs. They also feature gifts and cards. Ari Larson from the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce hands Tom Downey the membership plaque.
Welcome to our Fillmore Chamber member Nothing Bundt Cakes (1794 S. Victoria Ave.) in Ventura. They have ten cake flavors to choose from and forty unique cake designs. They also feature gifts and cards. Ari Larson from the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce hands Tom Downey the membership plaque.
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Ventura County, CA – Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCCDC) will host a free educational workshop open to anyone interested in learning more about Estate Planning. This workshop is part of VCCDC’s “From House to Home” Homeowner Workshops which are designed to educate homeowners on varying topics such as Financial Planning, Property Taxes, Home Selling and more. The workshop will take place Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at the VCCDC Home Ownership Center located at 2231 Sturgis Road, Oxnard, CA 93030 (conveniently located near the 101 Freeway). The workshop will be provided in English and Spanish, both at 6pm.

Local attorneys Roy Schneider from Schneiders & Associates, L.L.P. and Rennee R. Dehesa from Law Office of Shuck, Becker, & Dehesa , L.L.P will be guest speakers. The workshop will go over the basics of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care directives. Plus attendees will find out how to: avoid probate and save money, eliminate or reduce estate taxes, protect assets from creditors, protect the interest of their children after their death, and more.

There is no cost to attend the workshop. Space is limited. Seats can be reserved by calling (805) 273-7800 or on VCCDC’s website: www.vccdc.org.

About VCCDC
The VCCDC Home Ownership Center is a one-stop-shop where a full circle of services and resources is available to prospective home buyers and homeowners, including: HUD approved pre-purchase education and counseling, post-home purchase workshops, realty, and lending services that include down payment assistance programs and more. VCCDC is a certified Community Financial Development Institution and the only nonprofit organization in Ventura County offering affordable loan products and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers.

Since it was founded in 2001 as a local non-profit organization, VCCDC has worked to increase homeownership and economic stability in underserved communities of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. VCCDC is dedicated to ensuring that homebuyers are prepared for homeownership with the support of certified professionals who provide education and guidance, assisting with planning and problem solving. All VCCDC staff is bilingual, proudly serving the community. VCCDC accomplishes its work in partnership with other community organizations, and is financially supported by private and public funds. Visit us at www.vccdc.org and www.facebook.com/vccdc

 

Sierra Bancorp (Nasdaq:BSRR), parent of Bank of the Sierra, today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per share, the same as the dividend paid last quarter but 20% higher than the dividend paid a year ago. The dividend was approved subsequent to the Board’s review of the Company’s financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, which were close to management’s expectations and reflect continued capital strength. The dividend will be paid on May 19, 2016 to shareholders of record as of May 5, 2016. Including dividends paid by Bank of the Sierra prior to the formation of Sierra Bancorp, the Company has paid regular cash dividends to shareholders every year since 1987, comprised of annual dividends from 1987 through 1998 and quarterly dividends since then. The dividend noted in today’s announcement marks the Company’s 69th consecutive regular quarterly cash dividend.

Sierra Bancorp is the holding company for Bank of the Sierra (www.bankofthesierra.com), which is in its 39th year of operations and at approximately $1.8 billion in total assets is the largest independent bank headquartered in the South San Joaquin Valley. The Company has over 400 employees and conducts business through 28 full-service branches, a loan production office, an online branch, a real estate industries center, an agricultural credit center, and an SBA center.

The statements contained in this release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements based on management's current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. Readers are cautioned not to unduly rely on forward looking statements. Actual results may differ from those projected. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties including but not limited to the bank’s ability to maintain current dividend payments or increase dividend payouts to shareholder, its ability to continue to generate record financial results, changes in economic conditions, interest rates and loan portfolio performance, and other factors detailed in the Company’s SEC filings. Sierra Bancorp undertakes no responsibility to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

 

The 2016 Flower Show is over for another year. Those who participated, both as entrants and spectators, agree it was another great event. There were 339 entries across the nine divisions. The flower show co-chairs, Joanne King and Linda Nunez, worked tirelessly to pull everything together.

However, without the volunteers, vendors and donors, the show would not have gone on! The committee wants give a BIG, SINCERE thank you to all who helped. They are too numerous to name individually and include those who set up the tables, put out the signs, planned for most of the year, took entries, set out the flowers, created the website, sent plants for the plant sale, called the judges, sold the plants, helped the youth with arrangements, carried entries, manned the cafe, sold tickets, took notes for the judges, etc. We even got a few volunteers from the website. Without all the help, there may not have been a Fillmore Flower Show. Also, a thank you to all who came to enjoy the flower show. Fillmore was truly in bloom this year! More than one person was heard to exclaim, “Isn’t the community of Fillmore special?”

The Fillmore Vision 20/20 Civic Pride Committee sold tickets for door prizes to make money to support the Flower Show for next year. Many merchants and donors gave items. We wish to thank the following for their contributions:
Ari Larson —Vivi jewelry; Avenue Pet; Bennett’s Honey Farm; Carolyn Laskey, Central Station Bar and Grill; Chivas Skin Care—goat milk soap; Diamond Realty & Investments; El Pescador Restaurant, Genmai Restaurant; Joanne King; King and King Ranch; Mary and Ian’s Eggs; Ventura County Nursery (Moe Shea); Otto & Sons Nursery; Paula Collin’s hand painted gourds; Sandi Ward’s Train Stop; The Scented Path; The Treasure Station; Vallarta Restaurant.

Music during the public viewing was spectacularly supplied by Becky Morales on Saturday and Mr. Cooper on Sunday.

Special thanks go to Amelia Aparicio and Doris Nichols. Ms. Aparicio encouraged her students at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club to enter the composition competition. Ms. Nichols had her Fillmore Middle School students draw roses and other flowers. Along with the other youth who wrote about “Fillmore in Bloom”, and those who created arrangements, it was delightful to see such talent on display.

The judges for the Flower Show are professional judges who are in high demand. They travel around to many flower shows, but they really enjoy coming to Fillmore. One of the judges remarked, “This show gets better every year! The arrangements, bouquets and potted plants continue to improve each year.”

The Fillmore Flower Show began in 1919. Except for a few years when the volunteers got tired, it has been proud tradition here. Thank you to all who participated, helped and came to the flower show this year. It is never too early to start planning for next year. Look at our website, fillmoreflowershow.com, to see the winning entries and many more flowers and plants.

 

The 12th Annual NAMI Ventura County Walk benefitting the National Alliance on Mental Illness will be on Saturday April 30, 2016 at the Ventura Promenade. Check in and registration will begin at 9:00 am with the start time for the 5k walk beginning at 10:30 am. The Walk will be held rain or shine. There will be a program from 10:00 am to 10:30 am which will feature speakers from the Ventura County community.

The Walk is a tradition that provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the facts of mental illness, to erase the stigma associated with mental illness, and to raise funds so that NAMI Ventura County can continue to offer all of their programs and services at no cost to persons who can be helped by those services. It gives everyone a chance to show their support for all of the efforts put forth by NAMI Ventura County.

NAMI bases their mission on the principles of support, education, and advocacy for persons impacted by mental illness. They provide classes for family members, providers, and persons with a lived experience of mental illness. They also present in schools, hold support groups for family members, and provide outreach to persons who come to see persons who are in the inpatient psychiatric units in Ventura County. NAMI Ventura County also has a Peer to Peer class for persons in recovery and a Connections support group for persons in recovery as well.

The Walk in Ventura County is a fun family event with activities for children and opportunities to socialize. It also provides our community with a way for us all to come together to show our support for needed services for all persons impacted by mental illness.

To register as an individual walker or to form a team and/or to find information about sponsorships please call 805.641.2426 or visit ww.namiventura.org.

 
 
Ricardo Lomeli, Derek Flores and Matthew Hamond presented a program on what they endured during the Navy Seal Invitational last year. It involves team work and physical fitness. They are preparing to compete again this year.
Ricardo Lomeli, Derek Flores and Matthew Hamond presented a program on what they endured during the Navy Seal Invitational last year. It involves team work and physical fitness. They are preparing to compete again this year.
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Congratulations to Joe Beebe & Grace Kline, left, for receiving the Yard of the Month Award for April! (As you can see, They are EXCITED!) Amongst the many plants you will find in front of their beautiful home are: Mulberry Tree, Avocado Tree, Japanese Maple, Calla Lillies, Birds of Paradise, Dr. Seuss Plant, Japanese Boxwood and Gorgeous Red Velvet Roses (from Otto & Sons). Please drive by 649 4th Street, cross street A St. to view their beautiful cared for yard by Reyes Landscaping! Thank you to Otto & Sons for their generous gift to the winners of $40. Fillmore Chamber Rep Theresa Robledo presents Civic Pride Vision 2020 Award for Yard of the Month.
Congratulations to Joe Beebe & Grace Kline, left, for receiving the Yard of the Month Award for April! (As you can see, They are EXCITED!) Amongst the many plants you will find in front of their beautiful home are: Mulberry Tree, Avocado Tree, Japanese Maple, Calla Lillies, Birds of Paradise, Dr. Seuss Plant, Japanese Boxwood and Gorgeous Red Velvet Roses (from Otto & Sons). Please drive by 649 4th Street, cross street A St. to view their beautiful cared for yard by Reyes Landscaping! Thank you to Otto & Sons for their generous gift to the winners of $40. Fillmore Chamber Rep Theresa Robledo presents Civic Pride Vision 2020 Award for Yard of the Month.
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Thank you Rotary of Fillmore for your donation to the Fillmore High School Arts Show. We appreciate your continued support of this event. The show will be this Thursday April 14th at the Memorial Building. The Fillmore High School Concert and Jazz Bands will be performing as well as Ballet Folklorico of Fillmore High School. The Drama Department will be presenting skits and the main room will be filled with student art and photos. Come and celebrate an evening of art with our talented students.
Thank you Rotary of Fillmore for your donation to the Fillmore High School Arts Show. We appreciate your continued support of this event. The show will be this Thursday April 14th at the Memorial Building. The Fillmore High School Concert and Jazz Bands will be performing as well as Ballet Folklorico of Fillmore High School. The Drama Department will be presenting skits and the main room will be filled with student art and photos. Come and celebrate an evening of art with our talented students.
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California Poppies
California Poppies
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The Official State Flower of California, the California Poppies, are blooming above Fillmore. The California poppy
(Eschscholzia Californica) was designated the state flower of California in 1903. All State Flowers Also known as the flame flower, la amapola, and copa de oro (cup of gold), the California poppy grows wild throughout the state.

Native Americans in California valued the poppy as a food source and for the oil extracted from the plant. Every year, April 6 is California Poppy Day and May 13th - 18th is Poppy Week. Gold is a theme in California symbols; the state colors are blue and gold, the state nickname is The Golden State, and gold is the official state mineral.

 

The Ventura County Garden Club will meet on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at 1:00 PM at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 117 7th Street, Santa Paula. Lynne Godin, co- owner of "This is a Monarchy," will speak on Monarch butterflies. Rick Krause & Lynne Godin educate children and adults alike at local schools, butterfly encounters and garden clubs. Please attend and learn how to start your own butterfly garden at home. Light refreshments will be served. Members and guests are welcome.