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November 25, 2020 - 1:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, pembroke, Darien.

Alonzo C. Williams, 44, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with: criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, also a Class B felony. He was arrested after an investigation by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is comprised of officers from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police Department and Le Roy Village Police Department. It is alleged that Williams sold a quantity of crack cocaine to an agent of the drug task force. Williams, who had an active arrest warrant, was located driving on North Street in the City of Batavia and he was taken into custody. Williams was arraigned in Genesee County Court, then released on his own recognizance. The drug task force was assisted by uniformed deputies, Batavia police and the District Attorney's Office.

Michael Eugene Weichman, 25, Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, third-degree assault, and criminal obstruction of breathing. On Nov. 22, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office received a report of a domestic incident that occurred at 5 p.m. on Nov. 19 on Pratt Road. Weichman was identified as the suspect, then arrested and arraigned virtually at Genesee County Jail. A NYS parole detainer was put in place for Weichman and he remains in jail. The case was handled by Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Howard Wilson. Sgt. Andrew Hale also assisted in the case.

Shawn Phillip Wolcott, 38, of South Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt and obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree. Following a complaint of a violation of a court order, Wolcott was arrested at 4:49 p.m. on Nov. 22 on South Main Street Road. During his arrest he allegedly obstructed deputies by barricading himself in his home. Wolcott was released with an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Batavia Court on Dec. 10. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Jacob Gauthier.

Richard David Trykowski III, 39, Tinkham Road, Darien, is charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree; aggravated driving while intoxicated -- BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; moving from lane unsafely; unreasonable speed; and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Trykowski was arrested after an investigation of a one-car accident that occurred at 10:07 p.m. on Nov. 22 on South Lake Road in Pembroke. He was issued appearance tickets and is due in Pembroke Town Court on Jan. 7. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Jacob Gauthier.

November 20, 2020 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, Darien, scanner.

A large field that is spreading fast, according to a deputy on the scene, is reported at 644 Reynolds Road. It's next to a house.

Darien Fire Department is responding and mutual aid from Corfu is requested.

The first field is at the corner of Reynolds and Fargo roads.

UPDATE 2 p.m.: Command reports the fire is about two acres in size.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: UTVs are requested from East Pembroke and Alexander fire departments.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: The UTVs were not needed and put back in service. The fire is out.

UPDATE 3:22: Fire responders back in service.

November 5, 2020 - 2:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, byron, Le Roy, Darien, pembroke, bergen, Stafford.

Jennifer M. Moore, 35, of River Street, Batavia, is charged with: two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that Moore sold crack cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force on two separate occasions. Moore, who had an active arrest warrant, was located sitting in a vehicle that was parked in a parking lot on Park Road in the Town of Batavia, where she was taken into custody. She was also allegedly in possession of crack cocaine at the time of her arrest. Moore was arraigned in Genesee County Court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice. The task force is comprised of law enforcement officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, the Batavia Police Department, and the Village of Le Roy Police Department. The task force was assisted by deputies and the District Attorney's Office.

James O. Weathers, 47, of Teralta Street, Rochester, and Ayeola N. Williams, 46, of East Path Rise, West Henrietta, were arrested on Oct. 31 on Route 33 in the Town of Stafford. At 12:38 a.m., Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore was on patrol in a marked Sheriff's vehicle and stopped their vehicle after observing a traffic violation. Williams was the driver and was put through field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed. Further investigation and a vehicle search allegedly found marijuana and a loaded firearm. She is charged with: criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree -- a loaded firearm, which is a Class C felony; driving while ability impaired by alcohol, a violation; speeding -- over 55 mph, a violation; and operating a motor vehicle while having an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the vehicle. Her passenger, Weathers, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, too. The District Attorney was consulted for bail recommendations and the defendants were arraigned by Town of Alabama Judge Pamela Thurber via Skype due to COVID-19 protocols. Both were then put in jail with Williams bail set at $1,000 cash or bond; Weathers' bail was set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore, assisted by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun.

Charlene Rae Cook, 31, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment, resisting arrest and second-degree criminal contempt. Cook was arrested after a domestic incident at 1:10 p.m. Oct. 25 on Liberty Street for allegedly violating an order of protection. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail on $5,000 cash bail, $10,000 bond, or $20,000 partially secured bond. She was due to return to city court on Oct. 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Kevin Maurice McCoy, 54, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt and failure to appear in court as ordered. At 7:54 p.m. on Oct. 31, McCoy was arrested after allegedly violating a stay away order of protection by being in the presence of the protected party on East Main Street. There was also an arrest warrant for him out of Batavia City Court. McCoy was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in jail, with bail set at $1,500 cash, $3,000 bond or $6,000 partially secured bond. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer John Gombos, assisted by Officer Samuel Freeman.

Brandon C. Dodd, 33, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny -- theft of a motor vehicle; and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. At about 1 a.m. on Nov. 1, Dodd was arrested after the theft of a motor vehicle at a residence on Highland Park. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court via Skype and is due there on Nov. 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Joshua Girvin, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Mathew Ray Albaugh, 35, of Townline Road, Bergen, is charged with driving while intoxicated and speeding -- exceeding 55 mph. At 1:42 a.m. on Nov. 1, Albaugh was arrested on Townline Road in Bergen after a traffic stop for speeding. It is alleged he was driving over 55 mph while having a BAC of .08 or more. He was released on an appearance ticket to be in Bergen Town Court on Nov. 11. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

Kristen Elizabeth Sekuterski, 34, of Orleans Avenue, Batavia, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs -- first offense; and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Following a "check-the-welfare complaint" at 10:04 a.m. Oct. 30 on Alleghany Road in the Town of Pembroke, Sekuterski was arrested. She was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Pembroke Town Court on Nov. 19. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth, assisted by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Justin D. McQuillen, 32, of Freeman Road, Byron, is charged with: driving while intoxicated -- with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- common law; and speeding. McQuillen was arrested Oct. 31 on Oak Street after allegedly being observed speeding at 8:52 p.m. He was released on appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Feb. 3. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Benjamin G. Evans IV, 32, of Federal Drive, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested Oct. 30 after allegedly not following court mandate on Oct. 19. Evans was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Nov. 10. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy  Jacob Gauthier, assisted by Kenneth Quackenbush.

Tricia Marie Ruth Martinez, 27, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. She was arrested after allegedly agreeing to purchase a Halloween costume from the victim and then taking the costume without paying for it at 5 p.m. Oct. 30 on Colby Road in Darien. Martinez was issued a ticket to appear in Darien Town Court on Dec. 1. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier.

Walter Tomlin Snell, 32, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with failure to appear. He was arrested Oct. 26 when located by Genesee County Probation after allegedly failing to appear in court as scheduled. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on his own recognizance. He is due back in city court Nov. 18. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

October 24, 2020 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, Darien, Grand Jury, batavia, Le Roy.

Denzell A. Johnson is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C armed violent felony. It is alleged that on Jan. 30 Johnson possessed a loaded firearm -- a SCCY CPX-2 9-mm handgun. In count two, he is accused of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony. In count three, Johnson is accused of criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count three that on Jan. 30 he had the handgun while at Jackson Elementary School without written authorization of the educational institution. In count four, Johson is accused of criminal possession of a firearm, a Class E felony. In counts five and six, respectively, the defendant is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly possessing cocaine and methamphetamine that day. In count seven, Johnson is accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count seven that he knowingly possessed gelatin capsules, glassine envelopes, vials or capsules or other material suitable for the packaging of individual quantities of narcotic drugs or stimulants for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, packaging or dispensing narcotic drugs or stimulants. In count eight, Johnson is accused of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count eight that the defendant failed and refused to stop the vehicle he was operating when directed to do so by a Genesee County Sheriff's deputy, then fled on foot from his vehicle in an attempt to prevent the deputy from performing an official function as a police officer. In count nine, Johnson is accused of unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in third degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count nine that Johnson, knowing he had been directed by a uniformed police officer or marked police vehicle with activated lights or lights and sirens, attempted to flee by engaging in reckless driving. In count 10, Johnson is accused of reckless driving, a misdemeanor, by driving a 2006 Dodge on a public roadway Jan. 30 in a manner that unreasonably interfered with its free and proper use, or unreasonably endangered users of the roadway. In count 11, the defendant is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree, as a misdemeanor, for driving while his privilege to do so was suspended by authorities. In count 12, Johnson is accused of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a violation, for driving without being duly licensed to do so. In count 13, Johnson is accused of knowingly using, possessing or displaying an imitation or counterfeit official certificate of inspection for the 2006 Dodge. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Johnson is accused of having been convicted of the crime of unauthorized use of a vehicle in third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, on March 2, 2015 in Town of Brighton Court and that conviction forms the basis for count two of the current indictment.

Donald Brown is indicted for the crime of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 12 that Brown knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with the intent to sell it. In count two, Brown is accused of the same crime for allegedly also possessing fentanyl with intent to sell it. In count three, the defendant is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- and these had an aggregate weight of one-eighth of an ounce or more. In count four, Brown is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count four that Brown knowingly and unlawfully possessed a controlled substance -- suboxone. In count five, he is accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count five that he knowingly possessed gelatin capsules, glassine envelopes, vials or capsules or other material suitable for the packaging of individual quantities of narcotic drugs or stimulants for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, packaging or dispensing narcotic drugs or stimulants. In count six, the defendant is accused of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally damaging another person's property.

Kahel Suttles Jr. and Ericka K. McBride are indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 23 in the Town of Batavia that they stole property valued in excess of $3,000 in merchandise from Target ($3,200.84). In count two, they are accused of fifth-degree conspiracy, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly agreeing to intentionally commit a felony. In counts three and four, Suttles and McBride are accused of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly knowingly possessing stolen property -- clothing from Dick's Sporting Goods, and miscellaneous items from Marshalls. In count five, Suttles and McBride are accused of possession of burglar tools, another Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count five that they possessed tinfoil that they used to cover security tags to prevent sensors from being activated when merchandise was taken from the stores. In counts six and seven, the duo is accused of sixth-degree conspiracy, a Class B misdemeanor, for allegedly agreeing to steal property from Dick's Sporting Goods and Marshalls, respectively.

Kevin M. Waleski Jr. is indicted for the crime of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on June 26 Waleski knowingly unlawfully entered a dwelling on Ellicott Avenue in the City of Batavia with the intent to commit a crime. In counts two and three, he is accused of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally damaging property -- stairway spindles, and a door frame and lock, respectively. In count four, the defendant is accused of resisting arrest, another Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly attempting to prevent a police officer from arresting him or another person on the same day. In count five, Waleski is accused of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally attempting to obstruct a public servant from performing an official function and did so by means of intimidation, physical force, interference or unlawful act.

Ov Murphy is indicted for the crime of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on April 10 Murphy knowingly entered a building unlawfully, a unit on Highland Park, City of Batavia, with the intent to commit a crime. In count two, Murphy is accused of the same crime while using or threatening to use a dangerous instrument -- a knife. In count three, Murphy is accused of second-degree attempted assault, a Class E felony, for intentionally causing physical injury to a person by means of a dangerous instrument, a knife, in the commission of a crime. In count four, Murphy is accused of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor, for intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury by displaying a knife. In count five, Murphy is accused of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony, for possessing a dangerous knife with the intent of use it unlawfully against a person. In Special Information filed Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Murphy is accused of having been convicted of the crimes of: attempted rape in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, on July 23, 1998 in Batavia City Court; driving while intoxicated, as a misdemeanor, on Oct. 2, 2003 in Batavia Town Court; two counts of second-degree criminal contempt, a Class A misdemeanor, on March 31, 2006 in Batavia City Court; a third count of second-degree criminal contempt on March 6, 2007 in Batavia City Court; and sex offender failure to report change of address/status within 10 days, a Class A misdemeanor, on May 3, 2007 in Batavia City Court. The convictions form the basis of count five in the current indictment.

Eric H. Hess is indicted for the crime of tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 25 in the Town of Le Roy that, believing evidence was about to be produced and intending to prevent that, Hess acted to conceal, alter or destroy it by employing force, intimidation or deception. Hess is accused of tearing open a bag of cocaine and dumping its contents in the backseat and floor area of Genesee County Sheriff's Patrol Car 13. In count two, Hess is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly unlawfully possessing a controlled substance that day -- cocaine.

Nicholas C. Doell is indicted for the crime of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that sometime between Sept. 1 and 2, Doell knowingly and unlawfully entered a garage on Lippold Road in the Town of Darien with the intent to commit a crime. In count two, Doell is accused of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a Class D felony, for taking a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, knowing he did not have the owner's consent, with the intent of using it in the commission of a felony. In count three, Doell is accused of aggravated family offense, a Class E felony, for allegedly committing the crime of second-degree criminal contempt -- an offense against his family or household member, in violation of a valid stay away order of protection. In count four, Doell is accused of a second count of aggravated family offense for allegedly committing the crime of second-degree criminal contempt -- an offense against his family or household member, by intentionally disobeying a mandate of the court -- a valid stay away order of protection. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Doell is accused of having been convicted of second-degree criminal contempt and fourth-degree criminal mischief on Aug. 31 in Darien Town Court. Those crimes were committed against the same family or household and the convictions took place within the last five years, in violation of the time frame specified in NYS penal law (240.75(1)).

Albert A. Ackerman is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on July 15 at the Quality Inn and Suites Hotel on Park Road in the Town of Batavia that Ackerman violated a stay away order of protection. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Ackerman is accused of having been convicted of second-degree criminal contempt, a Class A misdemeanor, on Oct. 31 in Livingston County Court and that conviction was within five years of the crime alleged in the current indictment.

Eric J. McGill is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 2 in the area of Hutchins Place in the City of Batavia that he possessed a billy (expandable baton). In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, McGill is accused of having been convicted of: attempted making a terroristic threat, a Class E felony, on Nov. 10, 2008 in Orleans County Court; third-degree menacing, a Class B misdemeanor, on Sept. 7, 2017 in Town of Shelby Court; and attempted petit larceny, a Class B misdemeanor, on June 13, 2018 in Town of Albion Court. The convictions form the basis for the current indictment.

Deborah A. Schlonski is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on March 16 Schlonski drove a 2005 Chevrolet on Griswold Road in the Town of Le Roy while knowing her privilege to drive was revoked by authorities and she did so while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. In count two, she is accused of driving that day on Griswold Road while ability impaired by drugs, a Class E felony. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Schlonski is accused of having been convicted of driving while intoxicated on March 14, 2019 in Town of Stafford Court. That conviction forms the basis for the revocation referred to in count one of the current indictment.

Warren D. Post is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 24 on Pearl Street Road in the Town of Batavia that Post drove a 2003 Chevrolet while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. In count two, Post is accused of driving while intoxicated, as a misdemeanor, on May 24. In count three, Post is accused of DWI per se, as a misdemeanor, for having a BAC of .08 percent or more that day. In count four, Post is accused of failure to keep right, a violation. In Special Information filed by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Post is accused of having been convicted of driving while ability impaired by the consumption of alcohol on June 18, 2018 in Coxsackie Town Court, Greene County, and that conviction forms the basis for the unlicensed operation referred to in count one of the current indictment.

Paul D. Hussey is indicted for the crime of bail jumping in the second degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 24, 2019 Hussey did not appear in Genesee County Court in connection with a charge against him as required when he was released from custody or allowed to remain at liberty, either upon posting bail or on his own recognizance, upon condition that he would appear on the required date or voluntarily within 30 days thereafter.

October 22, 2020 - 2:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in Basom, news, crime, notify, Darien, byron.

Nicholas Brian Turnquist(inset photo left) 35, of Reading Road, West Falls, is charged with first-degree rape. Turnquist was arrested Oct. 21 after a multi-county investigation into a series of sex offenses involving one victim, according to the Sheriff's Office, that occurred at various locations in Genesee, Wyoming and Erie counties. These included an incident that allegedly occurred at 11 p.m. Aug. 23 on Alleghany Road in Darien. He was arraigned virtually in Darien Town Court, then returned to Wyoming County Jail where he is being held without bail on related charges. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Howard Carlson.

Thomas Frederick Rudolph, 29, of Maple Road, Basom, is charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to signal. On Oct. 22 at 12:43 a.m., Rudolph was arrested after a traffic stop on Reynolds Road in the Town of Darien. Rudolph was released on an appearance ticket an is due to appear in Darien Town Court on Nov. 17. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jordan Alejandro, assisted by Deputy David Moore.

Aurello Aragon-Figueroa, 41, of Chapel Road, Byron, is charged with third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony, and offering a false instrument for filing, a Class E felony. He was arrested Oct. 21 after allegedly not reporting income that he was earning and filing applications, starting on Aug. 1, 2014, that were used to determine eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits without citing that income. As a result, it is alleged he received $9,321 in SNAP benefits that he was not entitled to. The case was investigated by Genesee County Department of Social Services Investigator Robert Riggi, and the arrest was made by Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello.

October 13, 2020 - 4:06pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Saigon Lady, news, vietnam war, Darien, Hercules C-130.

A Darien man’s love of aircraft and dedication to aviation history has placed him in the center of a restoration project at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo.

Mike Foss grew up on a farm near Darien, where at the age of 5 he used to stand outside and wave to the C-130s when they flew over. When the pilots spotted the boy, they would dip their wings to him. 

As he grew up, the C-130 became his favorite airplane. Last year at an aviation event, he actually met one of those pilots who dipped his wings at the little boy.

But his mission now, after joining the National Warplane Museum several years ago, is to be actively involved in the restoration of an historic C-130A Hercules, which has been awarded to the warplane museum by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

“I love C-130s,” Foss said. “They are an incredible plane, and to think (that) this (type of plane) is still flying is incredible.”

Initially, there were only three people working on restoration of the plane, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But in June others were brought on board and now the crew has seven members, Foss said.

The plane will be revamped to showcase museum pieces; it will never fly again, according to Foss.

'Saigon Lady' Restoration to be Centerpiece of Geneseo's Vietnam War Memorial

The plane will be the centerpiece of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial being developed at the Warplane Museum, with guidance from Barry Culhane, of Rochester. Culhane was also instrumental in construction of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Rochester, which honors Vietnam veterans from all of Western New York, including Genesee County. 

The museum’s recently acquired C-130, nicknamed “Saigon Lady,” will help the Warplane Museum tell the stories of veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and the Southeast Asian Americans who built a new life for their families in America.

This memorial will be one of the first of its kind in the United States, according to information from the National Warplane Museum.

“Saigon Lady” has a unique history. It was the last military cargo plane to fly out of Saigon on April 3, 1975, before the city fell to the North Vietnamese. Its pilot, Lt. Pham Quang Khiem, was able to fly his family of 10, along with more than 50 refugees, to Singapore and eventual freedom for them in the United States.

On Wednesday afternoon, Khiem and his family, who now live in Ohio, visited the National Warplane Museum, where a special ceremony took place.

Meeting the Artist Who Painted 'Saigon Lady' Portrait

Khiem got to meet the artist who painted a portrait named "Saigon Lady," Carol Culhane, of Albion. Culhane, whose husband, Gerald, is a Vietnam veteran, has dedicated much of her work to veterans. She also did artwork for Barry Culhane and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Rochester.

She is well-known throughout the Batavia area for her paintings done for Ducks Unlimited members, including the late John O’Brien. Most of O’Brien’s vehicles were adorned with scenes of ducks and dogs painted by Culhane. She also donated her talent for a mural at Justice for Children in Batavia. She is planning to do a portrait of Khiem for his family as well. 

Wednesday’s ceremony included an introduction by the Warplane Museum’s volunteer Larry Jones, and museum founder Austin Wadsworth.

Jones told the small crowd, “If you like history and if you like airplanes, this is the place to be.”

What makes Saigon Lady so remarkable is the story behind it, Jones said.

Remarkable Story of an Iconic Aircraft

“This plane is an icon from 1972 – 1975 in Vietnam,” he said. “It is a story of defense and courage and the vision of the museum’s Don Wilson and Ray Ingram who learned the Smithsonian was about to release some of its aircraft, and set to work to acquire this plane.

The C-130 Saigon Lady was, until recently, part of the Smithsonian’s collection. 

On Wednesday, Lt. Khiem told the story in his own words.

First, history of the C-130 provided by the Warplane Museum states the "Hercs," as they were known, were a valuable asset to the Vietnamese Air Force. The Lockheed-made aircraft were the largest and heaviest load-carrying aircraft in the VNAF inventory.

As the enemy advanced southward, the C-130s were used in the evacuation of northern cities. At 11 p.m. on the night before Da Nang fell to the enemy, Khiem and his squadron flew one of the last resupply missions into the city. 

“As soon as we landed and taxied to the ramp, an Army Republic of Vietnam major jumped into the aircraft to assure himself of a seat. I knew that thousands of people in the terminal would rush the airplane after seeing this, so I kicked him off.

"As it was, the ramp was filled with refugees almost immediately anyway. I shouted to them to let me offload my 20,000 pounds of cargo and then I could take about 200 of them. As soon as the cargo was off the plane, people rushed on and we couldn’t stop them.

Overloaded Plane Bound for Freedom

“The loadmaster called on the intercom and said he could not close the ramp because of the people on it,” Khiem said. “I told him to hang on, then hit the brakes. That jammed them in tight enough to allow him to close the ramp. I had to jump on the brakes three times.

"As soon as we got to cruising altitude, I got out of my seat to take a look back in the cabin. There were people hanging on the paratroop static line cables and no one was sitting down. When we offloaded at Tan Son Nhut, we did an actual head count of 350 people.”

The aircraft was designed to carry 90 people. (Some sources say when maximized, it can accommodate up to 128 people.) 

“The flight and panic I saw in Da Nang got me to thinking it looks like the same thing is going to happen in Saigon. I will have to take a C-130 and get my family out.”

Khiem is quick to explain he did not intend to “steal” an aircraft, just borrow it.

Some of the C-130s flew bombing missions to destroy aircraft left behind. The C-130s were loaded with 55-gallon drums of gasoline or napalm and then dropped on VNAF aircraft abandoned on the ramps.

On April 2, 1975, Khiem hitched a ride into Phan Rang on a C-130, hoping to locate his younger brother, who was an airman in the headquarters there. He had hoped to take him back to Saigon to be with the rest of family, but Khiem could not locate him. 

“We were lucky though,” Khiem said. “He showed up at my parents’ home in Saigon five minutes before our escape. On the flight back to Saigon, I thought to myself, ‘If Phan Rang is lost, it won’t be long before the Communists are in Saigon.’ It was time to plan my escape.”

There was a lot of talk among other pilots of stealing a C-130 and getting their families out. But Khiem never said a word about it to anyone in his squadron. 

“Headquarters must have considered the possibility of that happening, though, because they ordered the airplanes to be fueled with only enough gas to accomplish their missions. If you were going to Phan Rang, they gave you just enough gas, plus a small reserve, to get there. You would have to refuel there in order to get back to Saigon.”

Khiem realized a problem would be finding someone to help him escape.

A Little Help from Friends

“One of my best friends, Major Nguyen Huu Canh, was in the VNAF in our sister squadron. We had been friends a long time and we discussed the possibility of getting out. I knew once a pilot managed to steal an airplane and escape, the VNAF would tighten security, making further escapes impossible. I told my friend if we are not number one to escape, there will never be number two.”

The Major’s family was in DaLat and he wanted to get them to Saigon. But on April 2, DaLat was overrun by the communists and he lost contact with them. After that, he was willing to go along with anything Khiem planned.

“On April 3, all the C-130s were used on bombing missions. I was number one standby on the mission, but I needed time to tell my family what I had planned. I went to the Squadron Operations officer and told him I didn’t feel good, so he agreed to drop me to the bottom of the list.

"That gave me a chance to run home for lunch. I took my brother aside and told him what I had planned. I asked him to take charge of the family and keep them close to home.

“If they heard from me, they were to go immediately to the Long Thanh Airport, which was about 17 miles southeast of Saigon. Long Thanh was a former U.S. Army airbase, on which I had landed several times during training. It had been closed since the U.S. withdrawal in 1973 and was deserted.

Leaving Immediately with Luck on Our Side

“When I got back to the airport, I waited for something to happen. At 3 o’clock, my friend Major Canh called to say he had been assigned to a food resupply mission to Phan Rang. Actually, another pilot had been assigned to the mission, but he complained he had already flown two missions that day and was tired, so my friend volunteered to take his place. I ran home and told my family to leave for Long Thanh immediately.

“But we had another problem. Since we were in different squadrons, we would not ordinarily fly together. In fact, I could not even get into his squadron area.

“Once again we were lucky. The airplane he was supposed to take had mechanical problems and his squadron borrowed one of our airplanes – Hercules CF 460 (Saigon Lady). I met him at the airplane. Now the problem was getting rid of his copilot.

"We told him that I would be glad to take his place in order to fly with my friend, and to look for my missing brother. He was only too happy to take the rest of the day off, especially since he had a date. I warned him not to go back to the squadron since they might not like our switching places without authorization.

“These missions had become so routine that we could take off within minutes, and that created another problem for my plan. The 17 miles to Long Thanh was on a rough country road and I knew my family could not get there before 4 p.m. I also knew once we took off, timing would be essential.

"We couldn’t land at Long Thanh and wait around for them to show up. A C-130 landing on an abandoned airstrip would raise an alarm, and the rest of the crew would know right away what we were doing.

“I had to delay takeoff somehow, so I made sure I got to the airplane before the flight engineer. I pulled several circuit breakers that would not normally pop by themselves, and I knew they would be hard to spot. The flight engineer finally spotted the popped breakers and we cranked the engines at 3:30.

"I am sure the crew was wondering what had gotten into the pilot, since each checklist was read and reread thoroughly. I delayed as long as I could, but we were still rolling before 4 p.m.

One Shot at Escape

“In all my calculation about where we would go, the problem of fuel had always been on my mind. I did not think we would have more than an hour and a half of fuel on board, which would have only been enough to get us to Thailand, and that was not far enough to ensure our safety. But getting this airplane was an opportunity we could not pass up, no matter what the outcome. 

“The first thing I did when I got out to the airplane was flip the master switch on to check the fuel level. My heart leapt into my throat when I saw the tanks were full. The line crewman must have anticipated my surprise, because he apologized, explaining he had taken a smoke break while fueling the airplane and forgot about the new rule regarding rationing.

"He begged me not to turn him in. Of course, I gave him a stern look and told him not to ever let it happen again, and then told him to forget about it. With a full load of fuel, we could fly all the way to Singapore. My friend was still despondent about the loss of his family, but he didn’t care where we went as long as it was out of the country.

“Right after takeoff, I turned off all the radios and the transponder. Then I turned on the intercom and said, ‘What’s the matter with them anyway? Why are they sending us to Long Thanh to pick up those people.’ Now the crew knew we were going to Long Thanh, but they thought we had been sent there by headquarters.

"I told my friend we had to slow down, saying if we fly slow, maybe they will think it is a helicopter on their radar screen. As we began to circle the airport, I looked down and tried to spot my family.

“The place was deserted and I got a sinking feeling. The next time around, I searched the country road for them and there they were. Five little cars about a half mile from the airport. I knew my brother had briefed the family to run onto the airport as soon as they saw the ramp come down.

"When the ramp was open, I asked the loadmaster to offload the cargo, which was 20,000 pounds of dry rice. So far they didn’t suspect anything, but I knew I couldn’t take them out of the country without letting them know what I was doing. 

“As soon as my family was on board, I said, ‘Gentlemen, I have to tell you that this aircraft will not go back to Saigon any more. We are leaving the country. Anyone who does not want to go is free to leave now.’

Skimming Waves, Singapore Bound

"The flight engineer unhooked his seatbelt and headset and got halfway out of his seat, then sat back down and said he would go with us. The number one loadmaster, who was a 10-year VNAF veteran, must have thought we were defecting to the North Vietnamese, because he got off as quickly as he could.

“Once we were off, we headed out to sea at tree-top level. As soon as we got over the sea, we dropped down to 50 feet above sea level so we wouldn’t be picked up on radar. I mean, we were low. After an hour of skimming the wave tops, I realized we were over international waters and we climbed to 16,000 feet and set a course directly for Singapore."

They landed at 7 p.m. – 56 refugees from the war -- and announced they were “illegal” and wanted asylum. The airport had closed at 5 p.m. and the person who dealt with such people couldn’t be found. Finally at about 1 a.m. 20 trucks filled with police surrounded the airplane and Khiem and his passengers surrendered, explaining they would like political asylum in Singapore.

No one knew what to do with them, so Khiem suggested the airport give them charts and fuel to fly to Australia and they would leave. That seemed like a good idea to airport personnel, until the matter of paying for the fuel came up. They would only accept U.S. currency, and the passengers only had about $400 of the $5,000 needed. 

“Fortunately, they were sympathetic,” Khiem said. “They must have had an idea how the war would end. They billeted us in what was like a jail, l and then treated us as heroes. We were there 19 days, then a bus came and took us to a resort island. We had beds to sleep in, not the floor any more.

"The next day we were flown to Guam. We were on our way to a new life in the United States.”

Khiem had managed to get his entire family out, with the exception of his youngest brother, who was in the Army. After the Communists took over, he was sent to a re-education camp for two years of brainwashing. In September 1991, just three months before their father passed away, Khiem’s brother and his family were reunited with the rest of the family, after 16 years apart.

Love for America, Making a New Life

Khiem’s love for America had begun when he attended the language school at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in November 1969 as a Vietnamese Air Force cadet. He received his basic pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base, then moved on to Keesler Air Force Base. Eventually, he was assigned to fly transport aircraft and was pilot in command of C-123K aircraft, before moving up to the C-130.

His family of 10 included five brothers, all of them in the military during the war. Three of his brothers were in the VNAF and his oldest brother was the chief training officer for the 62nd wing of the VNAF at Nha Trang. It was a family that believed in their country and was willing to fight to save it – almost to the bitter end. 

“What I’ve dreamed for the last 45 years is thanking the U.S. for accepting my family,” Khiem said. 

The next day after he and his family were taken out of Singapore, the USAF claimed the C-130 and flew it to South Korea. It was flown there for several years, then flown to the United States to be used by the Coast Guard. It’s final flight was to the museum at Dulles.

When it was released to the National Warplane Museum, a crew disassembled it and transported the wings and fuselage by truck to Geneseo, where it has been reassembled.

After settling his family in America, Captain Khiem began flying for American Airlines, and retired about seven years ago from U.S. Air. He is rated to fly the Boeing 727-100/200, 737-200/300/400 and AirBus 319/320/321.

His friend Major Nguyen Huu Canh is presently flying for an oil-drilling company in Houston.

Khiem has been to the National Warplane Museum several times during the past year to see his C-130. He is eagerly supporting their mission to restore his plane, physically and financially, Warplane Museum founder Wadsworth said. 

Photos courtesy of Virgnia Kropf.

Below: Pham Quang Khiem (with baseball cap on at left) and his family pose with the C-130 he “borrowed” and flew his family to freedom just before the Communists invaded Saigon. The plane will be the centerpiece of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, which recently acquired it from the Smithsonian.

Below: Carol Culhane, an acclaimed artist from Albion, poses with Pham Quang Khiem and the picture she painted entitled "Saigon Lady," which will accompany the historic airplane that is to be completely restored.

September 2, 2020 - 12:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Darien, bergen, crime, notify.

Andrew Pierre Schneider, 42, of Millersport Highway, Amherst, is charged with: felony aggravated driving while intoxicated -- with a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI common law -- with a previous conviction within 10 years; and failure to keep right. Schneider was arrested Aug. 29 following an investigation of an accident that occurred at 1:01 p.m. July 31 on Harlow Road in Darien. Schneider was issued appearance tickets and is due to return to Darien Town Court on Sept. 15. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Howard Wilson.

Jennifer Lynn Bobzin, 50, of West Bergen Road, Bergen, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated -- with a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; and following too closely. At 6:58 p.m. on Aug. 30, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a two-vehicle accident on West Bergen Road in Bergen. Bobzin was arrested at the scene and released with appearance tickets for Bergen Town Court. She is due there on Oct. 7. The case was handled by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

August 22, 2020 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Darien, accidents.

A two-car collision is reported in Darien at Broadway and Harlow roads. One of the vehicles went off the roadway and into the woods. Unknown injuries. Darien fire and EMS are responding.

UPDATE (By Howard) 1:34 p.m.: Two vehicles, not blocking, minor MVA with no injuries, a first-responder reports.

August 8, 2020 - 1:50pm

The McGuire Group’s Seneca Health Care Center in West Seneca is pleased to announce that Mackenna Fagan, of Darien, celebrated her five-year anniversary with the company. 

As a certified occupational therapy assistant -- COTA, Fagan provides direct care and therapy to assist patients in regaining their independence and helping them prepare to return home or to a different level of care.  

She is a graduate of Erie Community College with an associate degree in Applied Science.

She resides with her husband Joshua and son Declan. 

Seneca Health Care Center provides 24-hour skilled nursing care, subacute rehabilitation, Journeys palliative care and respite/short-term services.

The facility continuously receives outstanding five-star ratings from the federal government and finished in the first quintile of New York State’s quality metric for six out of six years.

For more information, visit www.mcguiregroup.comor www.medicare.gov.      

(Submitted photo)

July 31, 2020 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, accidents, Darien.

A driver is unresponsive in Darien after an accident at 10805 Harlow Road. The caller to dispatch says the vehicle is off the roadway; a first responder says it's partially blocking traffic. Darien fire and ambulance and Mercy medics are responding. Mercy Flight is on ground standby.

UPDATE 1:12 p.m.: EMS on scene reports the operator is possibly intoxicated. Mercy medics and Mercy Flight put back in service. A Sheriff's deputy is responding.

UPDATE 1:24 p.m.: Darien ambulance is put back in service.

July 22, 2020 - 1:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien Lakes State Park, Darien, news, scanner.

Park police have requested the assistance of a state trooper at Darien Lakes State Park to help with a raccoon that won't stop trying to get into a camper's tent at site #17.

July 15, 2020 - 2:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, fire, Darien.

A barn fire with a lot of smoke and some flames showing is reported in Darien at 9796 Harper Road. No people are believed to be inside the barn, but there are probably farm animals inside.

No propane tanks can be seen near the building, according to the caller to dispatch. The location is between Sumner and Richley roads.

Darien Fire Department is dispatched along with Mercy medics and mutual aid from Corfu and Alexander fire departments.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.: According to a first responder on scene, the fire is contained to one bale of hay inside a small one-story metal shielded structure. The structure is not on fire and they are pulling out the bale of hay that is ablaze.

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: Now the fire is going into the 30 by 50 foot structure and command says firefighters "should be able knock it down quickly" with a single line.

UPDATE 3:06 p.m.: The fire was extinguished about 10 minutes ago. No structural damage. The assignment will be back in service soon.

July 2, 2020 - 4:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, news, accidents.

A two-vehicle accident is reported at Route 77 and McVean Road in Darien. One of the vehicles rolled over. Unknown injuries. Darien Fire Department and EMS are responding.

June 25, 2020 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, infrastructure, Bethany, Darien.
Public Notice
  • Colby Road bridge (just south of CSX railroad) in the Town of Darien will be reopening on Monday, June 29.
  • McClernon Road bridge over the Black Creek in the Town of Bethany will be closing Monday, June 29 for major repairs. The bridge is expected to be closed for four to five weeks.

Timothy J. Hens, P.E., Superintendent, Genesee County Highway Department

June 2, 2020 - 6:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Darien.

Luis A. Ramos-Mercado (inset photo left), 35, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: attempted burglary in the first degree -- use or threatened use of a dangerous instrument; criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- previous conviction; menacing in the second degree -- with a weapon. Ramos-Mercado was arrested on a Batavia City Court warrant for an incident that occurred at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 30 on East Main Street in Batavia. He was released under supervision and is due back in city court on July 9. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Austin Hedges, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Trevawn Oral Wright, 19, of Highland Park, Batavia, is charged with two counts of second-degree harassment -- with physical contact. Wright was arrested after Batavia police responded to Highland Park for a report of a disturbance. After an investigation, it was found that Wright allegedly punched a male in the head and attempted to strike another male with a jug of water. He was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

Torre Steven Walls, 28, of Alleghany Road in Darien, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny. Walls was arrested at 9:45 p.m. on May 29 after an investigation of a domestic incident that occurred on Alleghany Road in Darien. It is alleged that Walls stole his girlfriend's Ruger SR22 pistol following a verbal argument. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Darien Town Court on July 21. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy James Stack.

Rae C. Cook, 31, Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Cook was arrested at 5:43 a.m. on May 30 on Liberty Street following an incident in which she was allegedly found in the presence of a person protected by an order of protection. She was arrested then issued an appearance ticket for July 21 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Dalton Joseph Rarick, 30, Whitfield Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with: aggravated driving while intoxicated -- having a BAC of .18 percent or more; DWI; and refusing a preliminary breath test. Rarick was arrested at 10:16 p.m. May 29 on West Main Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Alan R. Murray, 74, Spencer Court, Batavia, is charged with operating a vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more, and driving while intoxicated, with a previous conviction within the last 10 years. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens.

Brian Keith Dyer, 53, North Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Dyer was arrested at 9:50 p.m. on May 23 on Ross Street in Batavia after an investigation into a fight/disturbance there. He is due in Batavia City Court on July 21. Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins handled the case.

Carrie L. Vargo, 35, of Tonawanda Creek Road, Clarence, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Vargo was arrested at 3:23 p.m. on May 14 after allegedly contacting a protected party on Summit Street in Batavia via email. Vargo was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Alec Roberts.

Nikkia Marie Farias, 22, of Thorpe Street, Batavia, is charged with making unnecessary noise. Farias was arrested at 3:17 a.m. on May 26 following several noise complaints. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Flanagan, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

Thomas James Leonard, 36, address unknown, is charged with petit larceny. Police were called to Dollar General on East Main Street in Batavia after it was reported that a male had stolen items from the store and was fleeing. Leonard was arrested and issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

A minor teenager who lives on Halstead Road in Batavia was arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana at 4:36 a.m. on May 24 on State Street in Batavia after a domestic incident. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

May 29, 2020 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, news, Darien.

stilltrainfire.jpg

Three train cars of garbage caught on fire in Darien this afternoon and to enable volunteer firefighters to fight the blaze, the train was moved further up the track into Erie County.

Darien Chief Jeff Luker said given how tightly compacted the trash was in the cars, it was a hard fire to fight but the rain was expected to help.

Darien Fire Department along with Pembroke, Corfu, Indian Falls, and Alabama responded to the fire.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

still_5trainfire.jpg

still_2trainfire.jpg

still_3trainfire.jpg

May 29, 2020 - 12:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, fire, news.

A train reportedly has six of its railroad cars on fire, with flames showing, on the tracks near Genesee Street and County Line Road. Darien fire and EMS are responding.

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: Law enforcement is on scene. Pembroke's tanker is called to provide mutual aid.

UPDATE 12:12 p.m.: Corfu is also called to provide mutal aid to fight the fire.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: Erie County asks that Crittenden Road be shut down and law enforcement is responding to do that. Erie County fire police are also responding.

UPDATE 12:59 p.m.: Indian Falls and Alabama fire departments are called to the scene.

UPDATE 1:26 p.m.: The train was pulled into Erie County to provide firefighters with better access to entinguish the blaze. East Pembroke is called to their hall to stand by for all West Battalion calls.

May 4, 2020 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Darien.

State Police have released the identity of a 77-year-old man who apparently drowned on his property at a residence on Broadway Road, Darien, on Saturday.

David Scott reportedly had gone out to set up a pump in a retention pond. At about 12:27 p.m. his daughter found him partially submerged in the pond. 

Volunteers with the Darien Fire Department along with Mercy EMS personnel attempted to revive Scott but were unsuccessful.

May 3, 2020 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Darien, notify.

dariendrowningmay32020.jpg

A 77-year-old Darien resident was found yesterday afternoon by his daughter partially submerged in a pond on his property at 976 Broadway Road, according to State Police.

The victim could not be revived. State Police are refusing to release his name.

Emergency responders were dispatched to the residence at 12:30 p.m., yesterday.

A police source said investigators have yet to determine how he fell into the pond. The investigation is continuing into the cause of death.

Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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