Celebrating Pine Hills: Establishment Day Parade This Saturday, December 10

December 8, 2022 (Pine Hills, FL) – The community will come together 2 p.m. this Saturday for the annual Establishment Day Parade and organizers are looking for volunteers. The parade, in its second year, will culminate with a celebration at Barnett Park’s Multi-Purpose Field with vendors, food trucks, fun, etc. Special guests for the parade include Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings and Parade Grand Marshal JoJo O’Neal of Star 94.5 FM radio.

The event, put on by the Pine Hills Community Council, is a community-wide effort with representation from organizations in public and private sectors.

Organizers are looking for volunteers for the parade to help as parade marshals, set up and staging helpers, parking attendants and walkers throughout the parade. Reach out to the community council if you want or your volunteer group would like to volunteer: http://www.pinehills.info

Here’s the parade route in case you want to attend or participate: Deauville Drive, north on Pine Hills Road, right on Delores Drive and ends at Barnett Park (off west Colonial Drive).

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Motivation to Vote on Tuesday, November 8

What motivates you to vote? Seriously. It’s no secret that Mid-Term Elections historically have low voter turnout. In the upcoming election, on Tuesday, November 8, there are significant issues on the ballot that can motivate you to get out and vote.

Nationally, here are several: women’s reproductive rights, inflation and democracy. Yes, democracy because we still have people, even public officials, who deny the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. All kinds of changes have been made in many states in the name of election reform even when changes were not needed (like here in Florida). When we select certain people to fill seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, we align with most of what they stand for. It’s not hard to research where frontrunners in the Senate race stand. You can “Goggle” them: Senator Marco Rubio (R) and Congresswoman Val Demings (D).

In Florida, there’s even more on the ballot that could motivate people to go out and vote: affordable housing/homeowners insurance, gun reform and minimum wage increase. I mean, for the most part, people are working or have opportunities to work but wages haven’t kept up with inflation, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Again, who we select as leaders, especially as governor which is on the ballot, will determine if we can get more money in our pay check, for example. (Note: Current Gov. Ron DeSantis in the past opposed a constitutional amendment to raise the state minimum to $15 a hour by 2026. Congressman Charlie Crist co-sponsored a House bill that would raise the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2025. In 2020, Florida voters approved that Florida amendment that DeSantis opposed. We now have annual minimum wage increases until it reaches $15 by 2026. It got started in September 2021 at $10 an hour.)

In Orange County, residents are looking at an increase in local taxes for transportation and transit improvements. The proposed surtax will be in place for 20 years. That’s on the ballot. Here’s something else on the ballot that can motivate folk to get out and vote especially if they are renting an apartment: A “Rent Stabilization Ordinance to Limit Rent Increases for Certain Residential Rental Units.” I know somebody is praying for the ordinance to pass because there is no rhyme nor reason for the exorbitant rent increases throughout Central Florida. I mean they are exorbitant! Many people are living with two or three people to pay rent and survive.

There is so much that could be said historically on why all of us should STAY READY, MOTIVATED to vote. We don’t have to look far to see the injustices done to Black Americans who were just trying to vote. Women had to fight for the right to vote. Thank God, we’ve come a long way as a country and God knows we’ve got a long way to go. I had to take it there because I think we forget that treating people equally and taking care of the “least of these” is our responsibility as children of God.

Whatever motivates you to participate in the process – voting and holding public officials accountable – I encourage you: just do it. Your vote is your voice!

– Trish Marshall, Founder & Editor, Orlando Community News

Orlando Community News, 2022

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Credit Union Grand Opening and Community Festival This Week in Eatonville

October 19, 2022 (Eatonville, FL) – Here’s some great news coming out of Eatonville! Founding members and town officials on tomorrow, Thursday, October 20, will open the doors to Unity of Eatonville Federal Credit Union and follow up Saturday with a community festival in credit union’s parking lot. Location: 323 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite G, Eatonville, FL 32751. Time for the ribbon cutting and official grand opening on Thursday: 10 a.m. Time for the community festival on Saturday: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Unity of Eatonville Federal Credit Union set to open Thursday, October 20.

Located in the historic town nestled north of Orlando next door to Maitland, Unity of Eatonville is making more history in that it is the first federally insured financial institution ever in Eatonville. How apropos because Eatonville was incorporated in 1887, by a group of freed slaves, becoming the first town to be organized, governed and incorporated by African Americans in the country.

A vision of Rev. Willie C Barnes, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Eatonville (in walking distance of the credit union building), the credit union began to take form when he established a taskforce to explore the feasibility of establishing one.

This wasn’t an overnight process – from vision to manifestation. It took years to get organized, obtain the charter from the National Credit Union Administration and began setting up operations.

To get more information about the events this week, celebrating the opening of Unity of Eatonville Federal Credit Union, visit the credit union’s website: unityofeatonvillefcu.com or call (407) 637-5657.

Sources: Unity of Eatonville Federal Credit and Town of Eatonville

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Registration Deadline Tuesday for November General Election

October 10, 2022 (Orlando) – If you want to vote in the November general election and you have not registered to vote, take note: tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the registration deadline. Maybe you need to remind the young adults who are a part of your household: Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the voter registration deadline. No, the state of Florida does not have same day registration yet for elections.

So if you qualify to vote, take the first step in participating in the political process and voicing your preference for your representatives: register to vote.

There are details on how to register on the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office website: http://www.ocfelections.gov. It’s convenient and accessible: you can register online at http://www.RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov or in person at various locations including public libraries, driver’s license offices, Center for Independent Living; WIC and DCF offices or any elections office.

If you have any questions or concerns about completing your registration or updating your information, visit the elections office at 119 W. Kaley St., Orlando, FL 32806 or call the office: (407) 836-2070.

The General Election is Nov. 8 and in Florida, also in Orange County, so much is at stake. Florida voters will decide whether to keep Ron DeSantis as Governor or elect former United States Representative and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, for instance. Orange County voters will decide on several key commission seats and key questions such as whether we should have a transportation surtax and whether we should limit rent increases for certain residential units in multi-family properties.

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Relentless Woman Conference 2022: Two Powerful Speakers, a Pure Display of Love and Hope of a New Day

Sept. 21, 2022 (Orlando) – There’s something about women of faith coming together in unity, expecting an outpouring of the Spirit of God and changes in their lives and in the lives of people around them.

It’s special. It’s memorable. It happened last Saturday at The Relentless Woman Conference held in the beautifully decorated gymnasium at the Wayne Densch YMCA Family Center. The conference, hosted by Minister Casman Mosby, featured guest speakers Pastor Jameliah Gooden and Prophetess Sophia Ruffin.

Themed W.A.R. (Women Anointed and Ready), the conference was the second of it’s kind hosted by Mosby in Orlando. It followed nine months of virtual and private praying, teaching, preaching and fasting by Mosby and a local fellowship of relentless women of God.

Hundreds of people gathered for the Sept. 17 conference and experienced the Power of God through prayer, worship and praise music, dance and flag, song and anthems and his preached Word. No doubt, God was glorified and souls were lifted, delivered and healed.

“It was one for the books,” Mosby said a few days after the conference, which included two sessions, a variety of vendors and special recognition for the women of God who poured so much out throughout the day including Mosby. “Listen you could not walk into an atmosphere like this, and leave the same. You had to be in the room.”

There’s not enough room here to tell it all but here are some highlights:

After prayer and praise and worship, Pastor Gooden, of Unity Church Charlotte, bought the Word for the Morning Glory session which started with prayer at 10 a.m. Gooden spoke from the topic, Don’t take a woman’s word lightly, especially if she’s a woman who’s connected to God.” The message was based on II Kings 22: 14-20 and the influence of Prophetess Huldah in the time of King Josiah. Before she preached, Gooden started out singing a slow tune comprised of one word, “Hallelujah!” – establishing the atmosphere for the power of God to settle throughout the gym-turned-sanctuary. She engaged praise team members from earlier and together, they repeated the sound of a glorious chant, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…!” Shortly after that she laid hands on people and prophesied as the Spirit led.

Prophetess Ruffin, of Chicago, came that evening for the second session, “The Glory After Hours.” She praised God and preached on the topic, God will answer ALL of your prayers and ALL your plans will be successful. Using Psalm 20: 1-5, she walked with the audience thorough the Word and stressed you have to believe it and grasp it. Sharing: God will fulfill all your prayers. Be prepared. A New Day is coming. Be unmovable in your faith through adversity (like David in many situations). If you have Jesus Christ, you carry the breakthrough! (You already have the answer. The light. The Word.) Hang on in there with the Lord! Amen.

Minister Casman Mosby (Photo Credit:LMG Photography / Wally Etienne)
Pastor Jameliah Gooden (far right) after preaching at The
Relentless Woman Conference
Prophetess Sophia Ruffin preaching at
The Relentless Woman Conference 2022

Between Morning Glory session and The Glory After Hours session, Minister Casman Mosby (center) praying for a conference participant with support of other sisters and friends.
Relentless sisters Michaelle Desruisseaux (left) with Ales-Cia Winsley
Relentless sisters Kim Stringer (left) and Trish Marshall
Relentless sister Brenda Gandy: Ready for the conference

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Primary Election Highlights: Close Calls and Solid Winners

Sept. 12, 2022 (Orlando) – ONE vote. Locally, Primary Election Day ended with an Orange County Commission seat race too close to call for a runoff vote. The District 6 race was eventually settled (somewhat) days later with community activist Lawanna Gelzer getting the most votes and facing off against Mentoring Program Director Michael Scott in the November General Election. Community activist Cynthia Harris was ONE vote shy of Scott for second place, according to the official election results posted on the county’s Supervisor of Elections Office website. However, the election’s office official RECOUNT results shows Harris was six votes short of Scott. The result of the second place position was the closest among all of the races in the county.

The District 6 seat, open because Commissioner Victoria Siplin this year reached the term limit, represents Pine Hills, Orlo Vista, Ivey Lane, Eagle’s Nest, Washington Shores and Richmond Heights, to name a few communities and businesses along the International Drive corridor.

At least two state races had opposite election results (compared to the District 6 race): United States Representative Val Demings handedly won the Democratic nomination for Senate, winning more than 91 percent of the votes and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist won his bid for the Florida Governor Democratic nomination, with more than 58 percent of the votes against Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried. When Fried conceded on election night to Crist, she rallied behind him and called on her supporters to support Crist in the November General Election, according to reports.

In most of the state races on the Republican side, candidates easily won their races, according to the county’s official election results. Republicans had no primary competition in four of the five open state-level positions – governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general and chief financial officer – all held by incumbents, according to reports.

To see more election results from the county, go to the elections office website: http://www.ocfelections.gov

Editor’s Note: The Primary Election here on August 23 proved once again, the need for strategic efforts to get out the vote among local residents to select their representatives for key public offices and the need for servant leaders who want to make significant change in the communities that they represent.

Those types of leaders work and show that they care about the lives in their communities. You often see them around town or hear from them – well after elections.

Hats off to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who won his re-election bid with more than 60 percent of the votes. Like him or not, you saw Demings and heard from him often – from the time we first learned of the outbreak of COVID-19.

You really don’t have to have a title/public office to be a servant leader (You probably can get more work done, though.)

That reminds me of folk like Sandra Fatmi-Hall, who along with her husband Dennis, spearheaded a community food drive in the Pine Hills community several years ago and never stopped. It’s groceries for families not just one person! While the Halls and their partners financially make the food drive happen, they will tell you that it’s an united effort including a group of residents, students and business owners who volunteer their time and resources. Sandra should be celebrated for all that she does and for a great campaign run for the District 2 county commission seat. (She came in second place.)

In Orange County, while 189,202 residents voted, the total voter turnout was still very low at 22 percent, according to the official election results posted on the county’s Supervisor of Elections Office website. (There are 857,308 registered voters in the county, according to the elections office.)

While there are local non-partisan public offices in the county, like county commission and school board, Florida is a closed primary state. Primary elections, held every two years, are for voters to select candidates within their party to be voted for in the General Election to assume national, state, county or district public offices.

The General Election will be held on Nov. 8.

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Early Voting For Primary Election Underway

August 11, 2022 (Orange County) – Early voting started Monday for the Florida Primary Election and it will continue through Sunday, Aug. 21 at various locations throughout the county. Early voting hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Many people find voting early – at early voting locations – more convenient and accessible than voting on election day when distractions like bad weather, work and long lines could stop them from casting their ballots.

If you miss early voting, you can vote by mail or vote on Primary Election Day – Tuesday, Aug. 23, at polling sites sprinkled throughout the county. Pay close attention to mail from the county supervisor of elections office because some polling places have changed because of redistricting.

Early vote continues through Tuesday, Aug. 23

Registered voters received or will receive sample ballots to help research candidates who are vying for open public offices.

Key races on ballots include: United States Representative in Congress, Orange County Mayor, several county commission seats, School Board Chair, along with numerous judgeships. Voters will also decide whether to keep a special tax for the school district for essential operating expenses, like paying teachers and support staff. A breakdown of how the money will be used is highlighted on the sample ballot.

There are 20 different locations where registered voters can vote early, including the election office (119 W. Kaley St., Orlando, FL 32806). If you wait to vote on election day, you must vote at your assigned polling place, which is printed on your sample ballot.

To find the early voting location closest to you, call the elections office at (407) 836-2070 or visit the website: http://www.ocfelections.gov. Remember to take your photo and signature identification with you.

Orlando Community News, 2022
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Elections Office Extends Hours To Accommodate Residents Who Want to Register to Vote

The registration deadline is Monday, July 25, for voting in the August 23 Primary Election

July 20, 2022, (Orange County, FL) – Some people may have thought about registering to vote or updating their voter’s registration information and it remained a thought with all that’s going on in our country and even in their own personal lives – like moving and trying to stay healthy.

The good news is the elections office is extending its hours to accommodate people who want to register or update their registration – change name, address or political party, for example, to prepare to vote in the August 23 Primary Election. The deadline to register is this Monday, July 25 so the election’s office will be open for phone calls and in person visits on this Saturday, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., election officials announced today. The office will also be open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday. The elections office is typically closed on weekends and on weekdays, it’s normally open until 5 p.m.

“This is a chance for voters who cannot come in during our normal business hours to make sure they get registered or update their party affiliation before the deadline,” said Bill Cowles, Orange County Supervisor of Elections.

Throughout the state, Central Florida and the county, voters will select key positions for local public office as well as state and national public offices. Here in Orange County, Mayor Jerry L. Demings is up for re-election and has three challengers. There’s a hotly contested county commission seat, for District 6, with seven contenders. Registered voters will get a sample ballot from the elections office in early August – right around the corner from today.

Be prepared: Florida is a closed primary state, in case you did not know. Only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary. There are other races in the county that are non-partisan so if you haven’t selected a party or if you selected a third party, you can still vote on those races. There are quite a few judge positions voters will select. You can always search Google to find out who they are or ask someone you know who works in the judicial system for insight on the candidates.

For more VOTING details go to the elections office website: http://www.ocfelections.gov or call (407) 836-VOTE (8683). The elections office is located at: 119 W. Kaley St., Orlando, FL 32806

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Primary Election Loading. New to Area? Changed Name or Political Parties? Be Ready. Registration Deadline: July 25

Orange County, FL – Summer 2022. People are getting out more and vacationing. High rent costs have caused many people to move frequently. It’s easy to get distracted and miss key dates regarding voting.

In Florida, the deadline to REGISTER for an upcoming election is 29 days. When is the upcoming election? Glad you asked! It’s August 23 and it’s a Primary Election in which voters will mainly select representatives for the county commission, school board, various judge positions along with key state and Congressional offices.

That makes July 25 the DEADLINE to register or update your registration, if you want to vote in the election. July 25 is also the deadline if you want to select a party affiliation or if you want to switch your party affiliation. While most of the county races for public office are non-partisan or non-party specific, all of the state and national public offices are.

Locally, voters are looking at either keeping County Mayor Jerry Demings or selecting someone new. Same thing with School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, for example. There are two other people running against her, according to the election’s office website.

If you are registered to vote in Orange County, you should have already received a notice of election letter from the supervisor of elections office. If you have moved, of course, you probably didn’t get it. Don’t sleep. Call the elections right away to find out what YOU need to do to be able to vote in the upcoming election.

If ever there was a time to vote, even for local races, it is now! Why? In Florida, the legislature passed Senate Bill 90, which many in the political world view as another attempt to suppress people’s vote.

How? Well, go to the county’s elections webpage and see the changes that have been made when it’s been reported by election officials that there WAS NO widespread voter fraud in the state in the past 2020 Presidential Election. Still, the majority Republican held Florida legislature made significant changes to the way people vote in the state. And although the bill has been challenged in court, it is still in place and voters will need to take extra care to make sure they are ready to vote in order to vote with ease on or before election day.

One key thing change has to do with early voting and what we know as drop boxes. They are now called Secure Ballot Intake Stations and the requirement is that the stations be manned when they are opened during early voting hours, according to election officials. Election supervisors can be heavily fined if the stations are not manned. So you see how valuable your VOTE IS. Also, it’s so important to research candidates and elect servant leaders whose track record most align with your core values.

Takeaways: Make sure you read over the notice of election letter from the elections office. Make sure you are registered to vote where you currently live. Florida does not allow same day registration (You can’t register to vote on election day so you have to be properly registered.) Also, if you plan to vote by mail, make sure to CALL the elections office to get instructions on verifying your signature and that your identification will still work.

This is a time we all need to be our brothers and sisters’ keepers, especially if those persons are seniors and may need a little help with verifying their registration. In most cases, they have lived in their communities for a long time and have earned the right to have their voices heard through their counted VOTE.

Vote by mail ballots will go out mid-July and early voting will start two weeks before election day, according to election officials.

For other details about the upcoming election and the candidates, call the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office at (407) 836-2070 or visit the website: http://www.ocfelections.gov

Trish Marshall, orlandocommunitynews@gmail.com 
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A Weekend Celebrating Fathers and Freedom

June 19, 2022 (Orlando) – This weekend has been full of celebrations for many people throughout Central Florida in recognition of two national holidays: Father’s Day and Juneteenth Day, which President Joe Biden signed into federal law on June 17, 2021.

It’s been a beautiful weekend with family tributes to fathers trending on social media and to top it off, CNN tonight is broadcasting a special: Juneteenth: A Global Celebration For Freedom. Fast forward: When Earth, Wind and Fire band members performed their hit song “September” somebody in my household begin to move in his seat and sing…hee hee. Me: “SANG HONEY! and Happy Father’s Day again! You are amazing father who continues to be there for your now adult children. God bless you!”

May God bless all dads out there protecting and providing for their families! I acknowledge my father, resting in peace, John L Martin and all of the men in my family and extended family, who are fathers and mentors. I know often fathers are overlooked on their holiday: You can barely find decent Father’s Day greeting cards to choose from, etc. So today, we give fathers here with us, their flowers while they live and can enjoy them with their families and honoring the legacy of those who have passed away.

Tom Joyner, legendary radio personality and media business mogul, used to broadcast a segment called Real Fathers, Real Men to honor great fathers and men throughout the country.

In like manner, OCN is sharing some special tributes from our Facebook timeline as a tribute to fathers, real men everywhere. This is not all of them – just some that were posted early on Sunday morning. Excellent job mothers, wives, children and grandchildren!

Patrice Deleveaux Knowles wrote about her husband, in part: “Thank you for being a bright light to your adult children in so many ways. Your daily words of wisdom continue to inspire them. May God bless and keep you may his favor rest upon you. We love you dearly.

Angie Cowan posted this about her grandfather: “They say a girl’s 1st love is her daddy. For me, it was my Granddaddy. He was always there from the start and any time I needed him until God called him home. Happy Heavenly Father’s Day Granddad and miss you! Happy Father’s Day to all the real fathers!”

Dana Thomas wrote of her dad, “Shout out to my first love & my forever bank account. I love you dada.” That’s hilarious because she’s a young adult who’s out on her own and a Supermodel in my book!

“Wms M Lynette” wrote tributes throughout the day of many of the men in her life who are fathers. For her Uncle Rose: “You loved us and always supported us in every endeavor. You married us and I’m sure we’ve made you proud. You were at my college graduation cheering as loud as anyone, I miss those times but I’m glad I have so many fond memories of you. I’ll love you forever.” She and her family celebrate her husband Ron, year round. This time, in part, she wrote: “To the world you are just a man. They see you as just another creation. To us, you are the BEST hubby, father, grandfather on this side of Heaven. You are our provider, supporter and protector. We appreciate you for your constant love. Today we celebrate you. We give God glory for creating you just for US. We love you to the moon and back! Malachi 4:6: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

Yu’Vette Young wrote of her husband, Calvin, “Happy Father’s Day to my one! Enjoy your day love!

Carralyce Buford wrote this of her dad: “You’re absolutely everything a daughter could ask for in a father. Happy Father’s Day Daddy.”

Around town, especially in the north Orlando area, many restaurants, especially those that serve breakfast and brunch, were packed out – some with wait times of an hour of more, most likely because of Father’s Day. The patrons seen waiting appeared to be mostly families with young children and couples.

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, in Eatonville, celebrated fathers the entire weekend. On Saturday, the church hosted it’s annual Pre-Father’s Day Breakfast which featured a hearty menu, quartet singing along with a guest speaker, Minister Julice Miller. The pastor made a special presentation and announced the church’s Influential Father – Gerald Robinson. On Sunday, Pastor Barnes took the time to acknowledge all fathers by having them stand up and praying for them and all fathers. He later preached from the sermon topic, “The Influence of a Father.” It was a very encouraging message about the role and responsibility of the father in the family.

Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 19 is our country’s newest holiday. The holiday marks the notification on June 19, 1865 to slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. Texas became the first state to establish a Juneteenth holiday in 1980 (CNN). The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, freeing African slaves in confederate states but the more than 250,000 African slaves in Texas were not notified.

This year, throughout Central Florida, people of all ages, races and backgrounds, gathered to commemorate the holiday. More than 1,000 people gathered on Friday, June 17, for a Juneteenth Freedom March and Block Party in downtown Orlando, according to local reports. There were also other Juneteenth celebrations in Seminole, Lake, Volusia and Osceola counties.

After all that we’ve been through and face as a county, from police brutality against Black people, political upheaval (especially regarding gun violence and mass shootings) and attempts to suppress people’s right to vote, it is past time to celebrate and continue the fight for freedom! Because at the end of the day, we all were created equal, by God Almighty!

We all are a part of the Human Race and the Bible tells us to love God and love our neighbor (each other) as ourselves. Amen!

-Trish Marshall, Founder & Editor, OCN

Email: orlandocommunitynews@gmail.com

Rev. Alphonso Bush (center), along with members of Macedonia’s young performing arts ministry, in a skit about the Juneteenth holiday.
Juneteenth Flag which symbolizes the federal holiday signed into law by President Joe Biden in June 2021.

Nate Marshall, father of five and grandfather of three.
Andrew Knowles, father of two

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