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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Longshore View

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Sailboats on the water today as viewed through the pavilion at Westport’s Longshore Club Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Martha Nachman for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 11:38 PM Comments () • Permalink

IHA to Dedicate New Saugatuck Housing Facility on July 25

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The Rev. Peter Powell, president of the Interfaith Housing Association, announced that its new housing at 10 West End Ave. in the Saugatuck area will be dedicated on July 25. IHA broke ground on the six-unit supportive housing facility last fall. (See WestportNow Sept. 22, 2008) IHA received several community grants—including from the Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club—to help purchase the property that led to the house being named the Westport Rotary Centennial House. The property at 10 West End Ave. was demolished on Sept. 5, 2008. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 11:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Officials Meet on Flu Outbreak; Mask Sales Soar

Westport’s emergency management team met today to discuss the town’s preparations for a pandemic flu outbreak while getting an update from state officials, including Governor M. Jodi Rell. WestportNow.com Image
Russell Levine, pharmacist and owner of Colonial Surgical Supply and Druggist, Inc. on Post Road East reported a run on protective masks and anti-flu medicine. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff convened the mid-day meeting as Westport pharmacies reported a run on protective masks as well as medications used to treat swine flu.

“Westporters need to know that we have plans in place to cope with a flu outbreak and while there is a need for vigilance, there is no reason for panic,” he said.

Among those also participating in the meeting were Fire Chief Christopher Ackley, Police Chief Alfred Fiore, Mark A. R. Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, and Human Services Director Barbara Butler.

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04/30/09 10:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

The Taxman Goeth: Underhill Retiring After 16 Years on Job

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Westport Tax Collector George Underhill, 71, told colleagues today he is retiring after 16 years on the job. “This is a new chapter in my life – it’s time to move on,” he said. Underhill, whose wife, Carol, works in the Fire Department, said he had decided to accept the town’s early retirement plan. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 07:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Lines at Parks & Rec for Beach Emblems

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With beach emblems required at Westport town beaches beginning Friday, there were lines of residents today at the Parks & Recreation office at Longshore Club Park to pick them up. “It’s been like this all week” according to Steve Rubin, a department employee. Residents were reminded that applications for beach emblems and other Town of Westport season passes are available online at www.westportrecreation.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 07:14 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westporter Gets One Year on Fraud Charges

UPDATE A federal judge in Hartford today sentenced Westporter Robert D. Graham, a former General Re Corporation executive and former member of the Westport Board of Finance and Planning and Zoning Commission, to one year and one day in prison and fined him $100,000 following his conviction on fraud charges. WestportNow.com Image
Robert Graham: “I realize there are no do-overs in life.” WN file photo

The sentence, which is to be followed by two years of supervised release, was handed down by Judge Christopher Droney, who again rejected federal sentencing guidelines in sentencing Graham, 61.

He is the last of five former Gen Re and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) officials to be sentenced since they were convicted in February 2008 following a five-week jury trial. (See WestportNow Feb. 25, 2008).

“I realize there are no do-overs in life,” Graham told Droney. “Nothing I can say or do now can change what has happened or its impact on the lives of others or on me. Your honor, I regret that more than words can adequately express.”

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04/30/09 04:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Rell: Two Suspected Swine Flu Cases at Fairfield University

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that the state Department of Health has identified two students at Fairfield University as probable for swine flu. 

Rell advised municipal officials and school superintendents of the test results in a conference call this morning. The governor also announced during the conference call that two cases in East Haddam came back negative for swine flu.

With the Fairfield suspected case, this brings the total number of probable cases in Connecticut to five.  All of the individuals are recovering and did not require hospitalization.

Testing done at the DPH Laboratory on samples from two students at Fairfield University determined that the Influenza A virus isolated is non-subtypeable, which means that these cases are not regular seasonal influenza viruses.  Neither one of the cases reported recent travel.

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04/30/09 03:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

Oil-Soaked Rags Touch Off Laundry Room Fire

A Westport family was awakened by a smoke alarm early today after fire broke out in their home’s laundry room from oil-soaked rags used to clean outdoor furniture, a fire official said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished burning materials located on the floor of the second floor laundry room of the large, three-story home at 5 High Point Road, said Assistant Chief Eugene Maloney.

Fire damage was limited to some scorching of the exterior surface of the washing machine and water damage was minimal, he said. Firefighters used fans to vent smoke from the house. There were no injuries.

Maloney said the homeowner said her family was awakened by activated smoke detectors which led to the 5:02 a.m. 911 call.

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04/30/09 12:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

Museum Night at Bedford

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Westport’s Bedford Middle School Wednesday nght hosted its annual Museum Night titled “Art in the Middle Ages.” The exhibition was compiled by art teachers Lynne Karmen, Cecily Cowburn and Peter DiFranco. They were aided by a committee headed by local parent, Kim Getschow. The show featured a variety of work by sixth to eighth grade students in a mixed media format. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kristin Rasich Fox for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 30, 2009

8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. - Staples High School - Zon Del Barrio, Latin dance and music
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Presidents, Politicians & Popular Heroes”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “The Art of the Birdhouse”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Home”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Not Picture Perfect”
7 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Planning & Zoning Commission Work Session (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - [email protected] Library: Sheryl Kayne, “Immersion Travel USA”
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Around the World in 80 Days”


04/30/09 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Soccer Tourney Raises $1,500 for Save the Children

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Westporter Andy Mondino, a Greens Farms Academy and Westport Soccer Association U-18 player, along with a friend, as a community service project recently organized a soccer tournament at GFA to raise money to help the refugees in Darfur. They raised $1,500 that they gave to Save the Children. Contributed photo


04/30/09 02:39 AM Comments () • Permalink

Enjoying His 31-Cent Scoop

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Aiden Cohen, 2, of Norwalk enjoyed his 31-cent scoop ice cream tonight at Baskin-Robbins in Westport as the ice cream chain held its Third Annual 31-Cent Scoop Night in conjunction with the national Volunteer Fire Council. Members of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department and a fire engine were on hand to help out with the festivities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 12:08 AM Comments () • Permalink

Helping the Cause

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Members of the Staples High School varsity girls lacrosse team were among those turning out at the Westport Baskin-Robbins tonight for the company’s Third Annual 31-Cent Scoop Night. Members of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department are in the background. Baskin-Robbins honored America’s firefighters with a $100,000 donation to the National Volunteer Fire Council National Junior Firefighter Program. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


04/30/09 12:05 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yueli Liu “Lucy” Yang, 42

Yueli Liu “Lucy” Yang of Westport passed away on Monday, April 27, 2009 in Norwalk Hospital after a long and courageous battle with cancer at the age of 42.

She was the beloved wife of Ken Yang for more than 20 years, and mother to three children: son Michigan Yang, 19, daughter Janice Yang, 16, and son Joseph Yang, 14, all of Westport.

Born in Tian Jin, China, she was the daughter of En Yu Liu and the late Jun Fen Guo. She was deeply loved by her brother WenHao Liu, sister Yue Ling Liu, and father and mother-in law, Jin Sheng Yang and Xiu Zhen Wang.

Having emigrated from China in 1990, shortly after the birth of her first son Michigan, she joined her husband in Kentucky.

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04/29/09 11:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Hudson Valley Bank Officially Opens Westport Branch

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Hudson Valley Bank, a Westchester-based bank with $2 billion in assets, officially opened its Westport branch today at 420 Post Road West. Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff (3rd l.) joined James J. Landy (5th l.) president and CEO, and other bank officials and dignitaries in cutting the ribbon. The bank had a “soft” opening last fall. Landy said he was pleased with the response of the Westport community to the bank’s services aimed at individuals, businesses, professional service firms and not-for-profit organizations.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com


04/29/09 10:53 PM Comments () • Permalink

31-Cent per Scoop Ice Cream Today at Baskin-Robbins

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Baskin-Robbins will host its Third Annual 31-Cent Scoop Night today from 5 to 10 p.m. at all Baskin-Robbins locations nationwide, including the Westport store at 180 Post Road East. Baskin-Robbins is partnering with the national Volunteer Fire Council, the nation’s leading non-profit association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS and rescue services. Members of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department will be there along with a Westport Fire Department fire engine. Pictured is last year’s event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/29/09 11:54 AM Comments () • Permalink

Cruising Along the Saugatuck

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Members of Westport’s Saugatuck Rowing Club go through their paces Tuesday on the Saugatuck River near Westport’s center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


04/29/09 04:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

10 a.m. - Westport Public Library - [email protected] Library: Kristin Delfau, “Turbo-Mom’s Guide to Saving Money Without Wasting Time”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Presidents, Politicians & Popular Heroes”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “The Art of the Birdhouse”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Home”
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Around the World in 80 Days”
5 p.m. - 10 p.m. - Baskin-Robbins, 180 Post Road East - 31-Cent Scoop Night assisted by Westport Volunteer Fire Department
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - [email protected] Library: Hendrie Weisinger, “The Genius of Instinct”
8 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Board of Finance Government Efficiency Subcommittee
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - CT GreenScene, Fairfield County GreenDrinks


04/29/09 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Hanging His Fellow Artists

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Westport artist Miggs Burroughs hangs a lenticular portrait of fellow Westport artist Howard Munce in advance of the opening of his show “Journeys” Saturday at the Fairfield Public Library. Other portraits include local artists Roe Halper, Enid Monroe, Tracy Sugarman, Nina Bentley, David Rogers, Alberta Cifolelli, and Arthur Burke. The show opens Saturday 5-7 p.m. in the Bruce S. Kershner Gallery and will feature 25 lenticular images. The technology involves using a lenticular lens to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. The show runs through June 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/29/09 01:36 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mexican-Born Poetic Prodigy Visits Staples

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Ekiwah Alder- Beléndez, a 21-year-old Mexican-born poetic prodigy, addressed students today at Westport’s Staples High School in honor of Latin Culture Week. Born with cerebral palsy, Ekiwah began composing poetry at the age of 3 and is the author of three volumes of poetry. Staples teacher Marylou Huisking (l) coordinated efforts to bring him to Staples under the sponsorship of the Westport PTA Cultural Arts Committee. Contributed photo


04/28/09 09:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport Public Shred Day Set for May 9

Westport will hold a public shred day on Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, at 180 Bayberry Lane at the Westport Weston Health District. 

Residents may shred up to five boxes (12” x 18”) per household free of charge.

“This is an opportunity for Westporters to dispose of personal, confidential and sensitive papers such as bank statements, canceled checks, credit card statements, tax papers, medical records,” said First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff. 

“Shredding personal papers helps insure protection against identity theft, in addition to spring cleaning file cabinets.  Our environment also benefits since all material will be recycled.”

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04/28/09 09:29 PM Comments () • Permalink

Don’t Eliminate Collab Course

To the Editor:

My name is Katie Cioe and I am a student at Staples High School. My father, Crispin Cioe, is a renowned musician and my mother is a retired reporter and currently owns her own business. We live on 4 Valley Road in Westport. I want to thank you for being an entertaining source of information and every time I visit your Web site I am thoroughly informed of recent happenings in Westport.

I wish the sole reason for this letter could be to express how I love when a picture of myself is posted when I am involved in a town event or how I want to publicize a new club or event. However, unfortunately I am writing to you on the more serious manner of the education budget cut that Westport is faced with today.

I am currently a student in the Collab (Collaborative) course which is a class that has been affected by this horrific budget cut. Collab is a non-traditional U.S. history course where students are engaged in-depth discussions and exposed to important texts such as “A Peoples’ History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

This is a course where U.S. History Honors and English Two Honors are combined and students learn educational units as a collaboration of both Social Studies and English. Students learn how to synthesize information and at the end of each quarter write an in-depth analysis of their performance.

According to the new budget, Collab will not be available to students next year. Along with this course, Robotics, Latin American Studies, Senior Option, and many other unique classes will be erased from the Staples curriculum. I am deeply saddened by this drastic cut because it affects my future and my career at Staples. Collab has helped me realize my serious inclination toward government.

Through exposure to current events, Collab is a place where my critical thinking skills have developed. Due to this, I have joined Junior Statesman of America and will participate in my first debate at Staples High School on Saturday, April 25 against prestigious schools like Hunter, Horace Mann, High School of Math and Science, and many various other esteemed private schools. One of the reasons a public school can go up against such highly ranked private schools is because of the dedication this town has to education.

Staples High School was recently ranked No. 1 in the state and the entire Staples community was thrilled at this fact. However, this budget cut seems to disagree with our status because we are cutting the classes that make our school “the private school with no tuition” anomaly it is. Robotics, Collab, and other unique courses are vital to helping students realize their interests and helping them gain the drive to pursue their interests in the future. It would be a shame to let our children’s future go to waste.

Staples High School is one of the crown gems of Westport society. From Wreckers football games to Players’ Productions to Teacher of the Year ceremonies, there is a lot to be proud of at Staples. We truly deserve our No. 1 ranking, or at least we did. I realize we are in a deep economic recession and no one understands this more than students at Staples. We are the ones who are going to have bills to pay and have to try and restore our country in the future.

Clearly, we, as the youth, feel this burden as much anyone in Westport. However, if this budget is replenished, it comes out to a mere $12 a household a month, and $144 per household a year. We need to invest in our children’s future and make this sacrifice.

It is these classes that make Staples what it is. If we let the value and reputation of Staples High School, then other aspects for Westport will decline as well. Housing prices will drop and town will lose many important members of our society. The youth will lose trust in the board and will exude less Westport pride

The main reason my parents moved me here from Fieldston Ethical Culture Private School in New York City was the education system. If we instate this budget cut, then house prices could go down and we could no longer have the same Westport pride. I implore you to make this decision and help the future of our children and the future of America. Thank you for your time.

Katie Cioe


04/28/09 03:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

300th Volleyball Victory for Staples Coach Bruce Betts

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Bruce Betts (c), head boys volleyball coach at Westport’s Staples High School, achieved his 300th career coaching win Monday with a 3-0 victory over Harding at Staples. Betts, who started the volleyball program in 1987 but did not play official matches until the FCIAC recognized boys volleyball as a varsity sport in 1991, has a 300-52 career record. After the match, players, parents, and fans gave him two signed volleyballs and a banner. Rob Goddu for WestportNow.com


04/28/09 10:00 AM Comments () • Permalink

Bench With a View

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A man on a bench enjoys the view of the Saugatuck River in Westport’s center on Monday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


04/28/09 04:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

8:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. - Staples High School - Ekiwah Adler Belendez, Poet
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “Presidents, Politicians & Popular Heroes”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Historical Society - “The Art of the Birdhouse”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Home”
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “Not Picture Perfect”
Noon - Westport Public Library - [email protected] Library: Robert Sullivan, “The Thoreau You Don’t Know”Canceled
7 p.m. - Staples High School Auditorium - Free screening of documentary “No Kidding, Me Too!” by Joe Pantoliano about mental health disorders
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – RTM Finance Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 102 – RTM Transit Committee
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Architectural Review Board
8 p.m. - Westport Country Playhouse - “Around the World in 80 Days”


04/28/09 04:05 AM Comments Closed • Permalink

Westport Youth Festival Holds Fundraiser

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Zach Bomes, a Staples sophomore, and Ann Lupo, a Weston senior and a volunteer for the Westport Youth Film Festival, purchase tickets tonight at the Bow Tie Cinema in Norwalk from Westporter Sandy Lefkowitz, coordinator of the Westport Youth Film Festival. Tonight’s fundraiser preview film performance featured Sam Mendes’ “Away We Go.” Mendes’s works include “American Beauty” and “Revolutionary Road.” The Westport Youth Film Festival will be held on May 9 with 60 selected short films to be shown at Town Hall and Toquet Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


04/28/09 02:50 AM Comments () • Permalink

Westport News Moves to Fairfield, Makes Staff Changes

The Westport News has moved from its Norwalk office to Fairfield and will be published from the office of the sister Hearst Corp. weekly newspaper the Fairfield Citizen, a source at the newspaper said today. Callers to the Westport News number in Norwalk today were told to call Fairfield.

Hearst announced Friday the elimination of 44 jobs at its Connecticut newspapers and among those affected were Will Rowlands, Westport News editor since 2004, and Carol King, Lifestyle Editor, the source said. (See WestportNow April 24, 2009)

The company said it plans to eliminate another 80 positions within three months as part of a consolidation and cost-cutting effort.

Also leaving Hearst was Patricia Hines, the 23-year editor of the Fairfield Citizen. Taking over as editor is Frances Moore, a Fairfield resident and a graduate of Sacred Heart University who will also oversee the Westport News, the source said.

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04/28/09 01:20 AM Comments () • Permalink

Happy 80th Birthday Bill Meyer

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Longtime Westporter Bill Meyer (shown with wife, Carolyn) got an 80th birthday surprise today at the girls softball game he was umpiring—a birthday cake. Meyer has been involved in Westport Little League, Y’s Men, Sunrise Rotary, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), and myriad other organizations and causes during his tenure in Westport. The Parks and Recreation Commission later honored him at its meeting and Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff (next to Meyer in baseball cap) read a proclamation marking his birthday.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com


04/28/09 12:53 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, April 27, 2009

Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Greens Farms Roof Fire

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Westport firefighters today quickly extinguished a roof fire on a Greens Farms Road home near where workers had earlier been soldering a gutter. Assistant Fire Chief Robert Kepchar said firefighters responded to a 4:29 p.m. 911 call from 253 Greens Farms Road reporting smoke in the stairwell to the second floor. Firefighters opened up the roof area to get at the flames while others inside opened up the interior wall and extinguished the fire that was traveling up the rafter bays on the interior of the roof, he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


04/27/09 11:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport, Weston, Wilton Review Flu Outbreak Preparations

The leaders of Westport, Weston, and Wilton said today they have reviewed emergency pandemic flu preparations with their emergency management officials as well as the director of the Westport Weston Health District following outbreaks of swine flu in the United States.

The three communities are grouped together by the Connecticut Department of Public Health for purposes of responding to pandemic flu and other health emergencies.

“We have had emergency plans in place for some time and are confident that our towns and Health District are prepared and will be able to respond appropriately should there be a need,” said Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff.

“It is vital that our residents be familiar with the flu symptoms and follow the instructions of the health professionals in the case of illness,” said Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss.

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04/27/09 09:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

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