2016 ReWIND: Top 100 Stories for greater Daytona, Sanford & Orlando (81-90)

By HENRY FREDERICK 

Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Headline Surfer is counting down the Top 100 stories of 2016 in the greater Daytona Beach, Sanford and Orlando metro area otherwise known as the I-4 corridor of Central Florida through Volusia, Seminole and Orange counties. 

Among the top 5 contenders for the No. 1 story of the year in no particular order: The Pulse gay nightclub terrorist massacre; the ugliness of the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the continuing saga over homelessness in Daytona Beach; records tied or broken in NASCAR races at Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway; and no relief from escalating violent crime, especially in Daytona and Orlando.

Here are the stories ranked 81-90:

81. Daytona cops: Mainland HS student struck & killed in crosswalk on way to school

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A 19-year-old special needs student at Mainland High School was struck and killed in October in a nearby crosswalk while walking to school after apparently missing her bus, Daytona Beach cops said.

Stephanie Boebert was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:04 a.m. when cops arrived after receiving several 9-1-1 calls.

Here is a synopsis of what happened as described by Daytona Beach Police spokesman Detective Sgt. Jimmy Flynt: Pedestrian Stephanie Boebert, W/F 07-23-97, was crossing west on International Speedway Boulevard at Nova Road on the south side. A vehicle being operated by Paul Dborak, W/M 07/19/54, was traveling east bound on Speedway, making a right turn onto Nova Road. She was struck and died of her injuries at the scene.

“It's just a tragic accident,” Flynt said, adding, "It appears that the driver may have violated her rights because she was in the crosswalk. He said he didn’t see her. The sun was kind of glaring down this morning.“

Witnesses told police the light was red at the time of the fatal accident for traffic going north and south on Nova Road at the time. Dborak, 64, of Daytona Beach, who did get out of his vehicle to help the fallen victim, won't be criminally charged in her death, but will be issued a traffic-related summons in the mail, cops said.

Boebert, who lived on the beachside, decided to walk to school, after apparently missing her bus, according to family members and friends. Boebert, the oldest of three siblings, was born with Alfi's syndrome, also referred to as the 9p minus syndrome, a very rare chromosomal disorder that causes mental and physical disabilities than can severely impact daily life.

"She was a good girl - she had a lot of problems in her life," Stephanie Boebert's mom, Susan Boebert, told WKMG Channel 6. "They said she'd never walk or talk, but hey, she graduated last year."

The Volusia County School District said in a statement that Boebert earned her diploma last year, but deferred her graduation status so she could attend Mainland High School for another year "in order to acquire additional experiences in learning life and employability skills." 

"We are deeply saddened to lose this very special Buccaneer, Cheryl Salerno, principal of Mainland High, said in a prepared statement of the sudden passing of Stephanie Boebert. "To say that our hearts are broken could only begin to describe the emptiness we now face each day without Stephanie."

Mainland student struck & killed by car / Headline SurferThe Volusia County School District said in a statement that Boebert earned her diploma last year, but deferred her graduation status so she could attend Mainland High School for another year "in order to acquire additional experiences in learning life and employability skills." 

"We are deeply saddened to lose this very special Buccaneer, Cheryl Salerno, principal of Mainland High shown here, said in a prepared statement of the sudden passing of Stephanie Boebert. "To say that our hearts are broken could only begin to describe the emptiness we now face each day without Stephanie."

 

82. New Smyrna Beach cops: NSBPD Inv. Brian Morris promoted to patrol sergeant

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- One of New Smyrna Beach PD's finest has been promoted: Inv. Brian Morris has moved up to the rank of patrol supervisor.Morris' sergeant's badge was pinned on him by his wife, Nicole, in June during a City Commission meeting.

Morris has more than a decade of experience with the New Smyrna Beach police force, both as a patrol officer and as an investigator in the Criminal Investigative Division. Prior to becoming a cop, Morris served his country in the US Coast Guard, finishing his service at the nearby Coast Guard Station Ponce Inlet. 

Morris has been decorated numerous times for exemplary performance during his 10-plus years of service at the NSBPD, to include a decoration for saving someone's life in the performance of his duty, Police Chief Mike Coffin noted. Sgt. Morris will now make the transition back to the Patrol Division and will be assigned as a shift supervisor following the completion of additional training. "The citizens of New Smyrna Beach and his fellow officers will benefit greatly through his continued service as a sergeant with the New Smyrna Beach Police," Police Chief Mike Coffin told Headline Surfer.

NSBPD Brian Morris promoted to sergeantBrian Morris has been decorated numerous times for exemplary performance during his 10-plus years of service at the NSBPD, to include a decoration for saving someone's life in the performance of his duty, noted Police Chief Mike Coffin. 

Sgt. Morris will now make the transition back to the Patrol Division and will be assigned as a shift supervisor following the completion of additional training. 

"The citizens of New Smyrna Beach and his fellow officers will benefit greatly through his continued service as a sergeant with the New Smyrna Beach Police," Coffin told Headline Surfer.

 

83. VCSO: Daytona Beach man suspected of robbing Deltona store fished out of Deltona pond 

DELTONA, Fla. -- It didn’t take long for Volusia County sheriff’s deputies and a K-9 to track down a suspect Saturday night after he unsuccessfully tried to rob a Deltona Family Dollar store, then tried in vain to hide from law enforcement in a nearby pond.
 
"When deputies closed in on the suspect, 29-year-old Sean Torres of Daytona Beach, he was submerged with only his face out of the water," Sheriff's spokesman Andrew Gant told Headline Surfer. "Torres tried explaining that he was “just fishing” and that his fishing pole was in the water.

Of the attempted robbery, he claimed, 'The guy who did it went that way.'" The Sheriff’s Office had been alerted to the incident around 8:36 p.m. at the Family Dollar at 951 Doyle Road. Deputies learned a white male with his shirt on his head and a large “Loyalty” tattoo on his stomach demanded money from the store clerk. When the clerk said no, the suspect threatened to shoot him, and reached into the back of his shorts as if he had a gun. Then he ran away without any money. 

The VCSO’s Air One helicopter arrived in the area quickly and spotted a person near the edge of a pond next to the store. The helicopter crew guided deputies and a K-9 unit to the area as Torres moved from the edge of the pond into the water. As they moved closer, Torres surrendered with his hands up and slowly trudged back to land, saying he did not want to be bit and would not hurt K-9 Jago.

"When deputies closed in on the suspect, 29-year-old Sean Torres of Daytona Beach, shown here, he was submerged with only his face out of the water," Sheriff's spokesman Andrew Gant told Headline Surfer. "Torres tried explaining that he was “just fishing” and that his fishing pole was in the water.

Of the attempted robbery, he claimed, 'The guy who did it went that way.'" The Sheriff’s Office had been alerted to the incident around 8:36 p.m. at the Family Dollar at 951 Doyle Road. Deputies learned a white male with his shirt on his head and a large “Loyalty” tattoo on his stomach demanded money from the store clerk.

When the clerk said no, the suspect threatened to shoot him, and reached into the back of his shorts as if he had a gun. Then he ran away without any money. The VCSO’s Air One helicopter arrived in the area quickly and spotted a person near the edge of a pond next to the store. The helicopter crew guided deputies and a K-9 unit to the area as Torres moved from the edge of the pond into the water. As they moved closer, Torres surrendered with his hands up and slowly trudged back to land, saying he did not want to be bit and would not hurt K-9 Jago.

Deputies noticed a “Loyalty” tattoo across his stomach. The store clerk recognized Torres as the suspect who tried to rob the store. The owner of the property with the pond told deputies he’d never seen Torres before and never gave him permission to go fishing.
 
Torres was taken into custody, and while in the back of a VCSO patrol car, he repeatedly shouted and threw himself against the interior, kicking the doors, damaging the vehicle and causing it to rock. In addition to his robbery charge, Torres was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail on a charge of criminal mischief. He remained there today on $30,500 bail.

84. Small plane crashes near New Smyrna Beach; pilot treated for minor injury

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Authorities say a small airplane crashed near New Smyrna Beach on Monday afternoon, setting some trees on fire in the process, but the pilot, who was alone in the fixed-wing aircraft, was treated on scene for minor facial injuries.

Lee Kraus, the 1983 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza's owner and pilot, escaped with only minor injuries to his face in the 3:30 p.m. crash that resulted in a wing catching fire and spreading to nearby trees before responding units from the New Smyrna Beach Fire Department extinguished the flames, said Andrew Gant, a Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman. 

The plane went down in the vicinity of Venetian Bay, at Airport Road and Pioneer Trail. Several residents heard the crash and called 9-1-1 after running outside and seeing trees on fire.

Plane crashes near New Smyrna Beach, FL / Headline SurferLee Kraus, the 1983 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza's owner and pilot, escaped with only minor injuries to his face in the 3:30 p.m. crash that resulted in a wing catching fire and spreading to nearby trees before responding units from the New Smyrna Beach Fire Department extinguished the flames, said Andrew Gant, a Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman. 

The plane went down in the vicinity of Venetian Bay, at Airport Road and Pioneer Trail. Several residents heard the crash and called 9-1-1 after running outside and seeing trees on fire.

Lee, a Connecticut resident where the plane is registered, also owns a home in the nearby Spruce Creek Fly-In gated community.

What caused the crash is unknown, but it will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

85. Govenor removes 'acting' from surgeon general title for Celeste Philip, ex-Volusia County deputy health exec

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott in May removed the word "acting" from the job description for Dr. Celeste Philip, the state surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Philip has served as Florida's acting surgeon general since March. She's also a one-time assistant director of the Volusia County Health Department.

Philip left her Volusia County position in 2013, when she accepted the position of Florida interim deputy secretary for health.

The governor said he was proud to make the appointment of Philip permanent, saying in part, "Since becoming acting surgeon general this spring, Dr. Philip has met with community health leaders on a statewide tour to discuss how DOH can continue to collaborate on improving the health of families and visitors in our state. Dr. Philip also oversaw the recent launch of DOH's New HIV Data Center and Florida's Healthy Babies Initiative." Scott continued, "Dr. Philip has also been working diligently with county health departments and local mosquito control districts to ensure our state is ready to combat the possible spread of the Zika virus. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Philip and DOH to protect public health in Florida."

zika / Headline SurferThe governor said he was proud to make the appointment of Dr. Celeste Philip, shown here at left,  permanent in May, saying in part, "Since becoming acting surgeon general this spring, Dr. Philip has met with community health leaders on a statewide tour to discuss how DOH can continue to collaborate on improving the health of families and visitors in our state. Dr. Philip also oversaw the recent launch of DOH's New HIV Data Center and Florida's Healthy Babies Initiative." 

Scott continued, "Dr. Philip has also been working diligently with county health departments and local mosquito control districts to ensure our state is ready to combat the possible spread of the Zika virus. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Philip and DOH to protect public health in Florida."

Dr. Philip said in response to the appointment that she was "honored to be named state surgeon general and secretary of DOH" and was looking forward to continuing to serve Florida's families and visitors.

"With our state and local partners, we will maintain our commitment to addressing community health needs, developing HIV reduction and prevention strategies and preparing our state to combat viruses like Zika," Philip said. "I know Florida is positioned to be a national leader in public health and I am dedicated to working toward this goal on behalf of Florida's residents and visitors."

And Dr. Phillips' reference to Florida's residents and vistors is especially significant with the Zika virus knocking on Florida's doorstep, esprecially since it is a global tourist destination.

86. VCSO: Ocala man killed in Pierson after jumping from moving vehicle

PIERSON, Fla. -- A trip to Volusia County by three co-workers ended in tragedy for a 34-year-old Ocala man after he became angry and jumped out of their moving pick-up truck and died, a Volusia County Sheriff's official said.

 The incident occurred just before midnight on Saturday night, and an extensive search ended with the discovery of the man’s body on the side of the road on State Road 40 in Pierson at 9:43 a.m. Sunday morning. The victim has been identified as Bryan Robinson.

Robinson took a selfie with his cell phone showing him with two fishing buddies just before noon Sunday and posted it on Facebook, saying, "Rain can't stop us."

A relative, Kathy Robinson, responded, "You guys are nuts."

Little did she know how prophetic those words would become hours later. Others who learned of Bryan Robinson's death were understandably shocked.

"I don't even know what to say or where to begin, said Corie Megan Cook of Dunnellon on the victim's Facebook page. "You were (an) amazing person and friend. You will be (missed) by so many as (you) have truly touched so many hearts."

Here is a synopsis as to what led to Robinson's death as described by Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson to Headline Surfer: "Three men who work together in Marion County drove to Volusia County to fish and get a group tattoo. According to the other two men, while their tattoos were finished, the victim’s tattoo was taking longer because of the intricate design that he had picked out. Not wanting to wait the additional three hours, the other two told the victim that they were leaving and that he could go with them or stay behind to get his tattoo finished." 

Davidson continued: "The victim was upset as he left with his friends, reportedly becoming increasingly angry during the drive back to Marion County. At some point while passing through Pierson, the victim opened the door of the truck and jumped out. The driver, who estimated that he was decelerating from about 40 mph at the time, pulled over and the two began searching for the victim. After about a half-hour of unsuccessful searching, they called the Sheriff’s Office."

Ocala man killed in Pierson/ Headline SurferHere is a synopsis as to what led to the death of 34-year-old Bryan Robinson of Ocala in Pierson as described by Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson to Headline Surfer:

"Three men who work together in Marion County drove to Volusia County to fish and get a group tattoo. According to the other two men, while their tattoos were finished, the victim’s tattoo was taking longer because of the intricate design that he had picked out. Not wanting to wait the additional three hours, the other two told the victim that they were leaving and that he could go with them or stay behind to get his tattoo finished." 

Davidson continued: "The victim was upset as he left with his friends, reportedly becoming increasingly angry during the drive back to Marion County. At some point while passing through Pierson, the victim opened the door of the truck and jumped out. The driver, who estimated that he was decelerating from about 40 mph at the time, pulled over and the two began searching for the victim. After about a half-hour of unsuccessful searching, they called the Sheriff’s Office."

Patrol deputies and a Sheriff’s Office helicopter immediately launched a search for the man, but were unable to find him until Sunday morning. That’s when a Sheriff’s Office helicopter crew doing a flyover spotted the Robinson's body on the grassy shoulder along the north side of West S.R. 40, just east of Bert Royal Road, the Sheriff's spokesman said.

87. Hundreds stung by jellyfish along World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- When the purple flags are being flown along the World's Most Famous Beach, they're not for a Barney the dinosaur birthday party. The flags are a warning to be alert about jellyfish -- those nearly invisible critters that blend in with the soapy surf and sometimes wash up along the shore.

Though they may be cool to look at, their sting is far less pleasant. And they have certainly made their presence felt to hundreds of beach goers in the last week, up and down Volusia County's nearly 50 miles of beaches.

There were 63 stinging victims on Aug. 23, on top of some 200 in the seven previous days, according to beach patrol officials.

"We believe they are the Moon Jellys," Senior Captain Tamra Marris of the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue told Headline Surfer. "We are advising people to pay attention to the beach condition flags. When we fly purple, then that is an indication there are jellyfish in the water."

Jellyfish a nuisance in Daytona Beach in August / Headline SurferJellyfish were a really big nuisance for swimmers at the World's Most Famous Beach in late August.

"We believe they are the Moon Jellys," Senior Captain Tamra Marris of the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue told Headline Surfer. "We are advising people to pay attention to the beach condition flags. When we fly purple, then that is an indication there are jellyfish in the water."

Marris said lifeguard are treating the stings with white vinegar, adding, "We have not had any transports to the hospital. The stings are occurring throughout the county beaches."

The coloration of a moon jelly often changes depending on its diet. If the jelly feeds extensively on crustaceans, it turns pink or lavender. An orange tint hints that a jelly's been feeding on brine shrimp.

These alien-looking creatures are named for their translucent, moonlike circular bells. Instead of long, trailing tentacles, moon jellies have a short, fine fringe (cilia) that sweeps food toward the mucous layer on the edges of the bells. Prey is stored in pouches until the oral arms pick it up and begin to digest it.

88. New Smyrna Beach firefighters save house by limiting most of early morning blaze to garage

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Just after 1 a.m. Dec. 1, New Smyrna Beach Fire Department Engine 50 was dispatched for a fire outside a residence at 533 Ball St. where firefighters found a fully involved detached garage fire with impingement onto the single family residence.

Engine 50 then upgraded the alarm to a residential structure fire. New Smyrna Beach Fire Departments Engine 52, Engine 53, Edgewater Rescue 55, Volusia County Fire Services Squad/Engine 23, Battalion 50 and Volusia County Emergency Medical Services responded to assist Engine 50.

"Engine 50 quickly made a search of the residence and evacuated two occupants," New Smyrna Beach Fire Department Lt. Mike Greene told Headline Surfer. "Heavy fire conditions from the detached garage was impinging onto the rear of the residential structure. Engine 50 pulled a pre-connect fire hose and was able to have the fire under control in four minutes. Crews on scene effectively stopped the fire from entering the residential structure."

NSBFD Lt Mike Greene / Headline Surfer®NSB house fire / Headline Surfer®"Engine 50 quickly made a search of the residence and evacuated two occupants," New Smyrna Beach Fire Department Lt. Mike Greene, shown here at left, told Headline Surfer. 

"Heavy fire conditions from the detached garage was impinging onto the rear of the residential structure. Engine 50 pulled a pre-connect fire hose and was able to have the fire under control in four minutes. Crews on scene effectively stopped the fire from entering the residential structure."

There was moderate damage to the residence, but not enough to call it a complete loss, though the same couldn't be said for the detached garage, which had extensive fire damage.

Damage to the structures is estimated to be $20,000. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. 

89. COMING OF AGE: Daytona State College’s Center for Women and Men celebrates 40th anniversary 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Daytona State College’s Center for Women and Men has come of age, celebrating its 40thanniversary of serving students on the Daytona Beach campus.

Located in the Greene Center, the CfWM has come a long way since its 1976 opening, the result of a vision shared by now-retired faculty members Dot Moore and Ellen O’Shaughnessy, who were honored during the event held Dec. 1. 

Originally created to help remove barriers to education for women, their mission was founded on the premise that education and workforce training in a supportive and nurturing environment can lead people out of the binds of poverty and uncertainty into a life of independence, self-sufficiency and purpose. 

“For decades, the center focused on helping displaced homemakers with little-to-no work experience, women who because of divorce, widowhood or other circumstances would come to learn new life skills, gain self-confidence and train for employment,” said Erin LeDuc, who recently joined the center as its new director. “Today, the center also serves men, reflecting an expanded mission and scope dedicated to serving the needs of all students seeking to find their place in the ever-changing social and economic landscapes of our communities.”

Daytona State College Women's Center / Headline SurferLocated in the Greene Center, the CfWM has come a long way since its 1976 opening, the result of a vision shared by now-retired faculty members Dot Moore and Ellen O’Shaughnessy, shown here in the inset, who were honored during the event held Dec. 1. 

Originally created to help remove barriers to education for women, their mission was founded on the premise that education and workforce training in a supportive and nurturing environment can lead people out of the binds of poverty and uncertainty into a life of independence, self-sufficiency and purpose. 

“For decades, the center focused on helping displaced homemakers with little-to-no work experience, women who because of divorce, widowhood or other circumstances would come to learn new life skills, gain self-confidence and train for employment,” said Erin LeDuc, shown here, who recently joined the center as its new director. “Today, the center also serves men, reflecting an expanded mission and scope dedicated to serving the needs of all students seeking to find their place in the ever-changing social and economic landscapes of our communities.”

Through anchor programs such as Fresh Start, New Directions and CCAMPIS, the Center for Women and Men has provided hope and a springboard to better lives for countless Volusia and Flagler County residents. Over the years, it has expanded its scope of services, becoming a hub where all students in need can seek out services and help in one central location. 

The DSC Center for Women and Men's new Falcon Fuel food pantry is helping to mitigate food insecurity among DSC students, an issue that, along with homelessness, has become a growing concern with colleges and universities across the nation. 

And that's not all when it comes to the center's humanitarian efforrts to ensure students with little or no funding are helpedso they can stay the course. 

The center also provides temporary emergency bus passes to help students get back and forth to classes, and a lending library helps students offset the cost of textbooks. Further, students wanting to achieve a professional image for job interviews can use the center’s Clothes Closet to look their best.

90. NSBFD: 3 cats rescued in New Smyrna Beach house fire

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- There's an old proverb that goes something like this: A cat has nine lives. For three it plays, for three it strays and for the last three it stays." Whether that is true was not something New Smyrna Beach firefighters took for granted in rescuing three cats from a residential structure fire in early October.

Here is a summary of what occurred in the 6:45 p.m. Saturday incident at 725 Dougherty St. as described by New Smyrna Beach Fire Department Lt. Mike Greene in an email to Headline Surfer:

"Fire Department units arrived within minutes and found a single story residential structure with fire visible on the front of the structure. The fire was quickly extinguished by first-due fire units. Firefighters rescued three cats from the home. Two cats suffered smoke inhalation and were revived on scene by firefighters. All three cats subsequently survived."

NSB firefighters save 3 cats in house fire in October 2016 / Headline SurferHere is a summary of what occurred in the 6:45 p.m. Saturday incident at 725 Dougherty St. as described by New Smyrna Beach Fire Department Lt. Mike Greene in an email to Headline Surfer:

"Fire Department units arrived within minutes and found a single story residential structure with fire visible on the front of the structure. The fire was quickly extinguished by first-due fire units. Firefighters rescued three cats from the home.

Two cats suffered smoke inhalation and were revived on scene by firefighters. All three cats subsequently survived."

Greene said nobody was home at the time of the fire. Estimated damage to the structure is estimated to be $30,000. The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said.

RECAP:

December 30, 2016
81. Daytona cops: Mainland HS student struck & killed in crosswalk on way to school
82. New Smyrna Beach cops: NSBPD Inv. Brian Morris promoted to patrol sergeant
83. VCSO: Daytona Beach man suspected of robbing Deltona store fished out of Deltona pond 
84. Small plane crashes near New Smyrna Beach; pilot treated for minor injury
85. Govenor removes 'acting' from surgeon general title for Celeste Philip, ex-Volusia County deputy health exec
86. VCSO: Ocala man killed in Pierson after jumping from moving vehicle
87. Hundreds stung by jellyfish along World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona
88. New Smyrna Beach firefighters save house by limiting most of early morning blaze to garage
89. COMING OF AGE: Daytona State College’s Center for Women and Men celebrates 40th anniversary 
90. NSBFD: 3 cats rescued in New Smyrna Beach house fire
 
December 30, 2016
91. Rare Kemp's ridley sea turtle rescued near Ponce Inlet recovers at Marine
92. New Smyrna Beach Finance Director Althea Philord-Bradley receives special award
93. Volusia County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Henderson graduates from FBI National Academy
94. Daytona Beach Shores Christmas Parade: Highlighted by Billie Wheeler on Facebook
95. Lake Helen's Vernon Burton retains zone 2 seat without opposition; Jim Connell wins zone 4 seat in Nov elections
96. Swimmer rescued in Daytona surf & dead manatee washes ashore in New Smyrna
97. Daytona Beach-based United Way selects 15 to lead strategies on programming & funding
98. Principals of the Year announced for Volusia County Schools
99. DeLand firefighters rescue cat from storm drain
100. State Attorney RJ Larizza returned to office without opposition
 
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet in Daytona Beach, Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards.

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