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Archive for Friday, November 30, 2007

State will not renew Last Call’s liquor license; appeal expected

November 30, 2007

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The state is refusing to renew the liquor license of the downtown nightclub Last Call.

A ruling released this morning by the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division found that Last Call's management "fostered an environment" where "illegal drug activities frequently occur."

ABC Director Tom Groneman also found that the club was obstructing justice by frequently warning patrons that police officers were entering the club.

The club, 729 N.H., can not operate without a state liquor license, but it is not likely that the club will immediately close.

That is because Last Call owner Dennis Steffes has the right to appeal the ABC's ruling to the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Revenue, and ultimately can appeal the ruling in district court.

Steffes' attorney has previously said an appeal process could take two to three years.

More on the story later today.

Comments

ksdivakat 7 years ago

anywhere but here hopefully!!! Now maybe the city can work on the granasty and then it would be safe to go downtown again on friday and saturday nights! That would be awesome!!!

GetItRight 7 years ago

Released this morning? Not likely. What is going on Chad? KLWN had this story on at 6:30 this morning - right after they also broke the news about the AG's decision about the City Commission and the open meetings act.

missmagoo 7 years ago

Where will they go? Hopefully BACK TO TOPEKA or KCK where they belong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MattressMan 7 years ago

ksdivakat (Anonymous) says: Now maybe the city can work on the granasty and then it would be safe to go downtown again on friday and saturday nights!"

Let's not forget Abe N Jakes either.........

nlf78 7 years ago

How long will they be allowed to operate? Throughout the entire appeal process? Or just for a few months while they are appealing?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years ago

There will probably be a rumble between Border's and The Bottleneck starring the Jets and the Sharks! Or it may be on the west side of Last Call.

"RIFF Boy, boy, crazy boy, Get cool, boy! Got a rocket in your pocket, Keep coolly cool, boy! Don't get hot, 'Cause man, you got Some high times ahead. Take it slow and Daddy-O, You can live it up and die in bed!

Boy, boy, crazy boy! Stay loose, boy! Breeze it, buzz it, easy does it. Turn off the juice, boy! Go man, go, But not like a yo-yo schoolboy. Just play it cool, boy, Real cool!"

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Last Call owner Dennis Steffes might consider shutting down and opening places in Topeka and KCMO thereby saving his patrons gas money.

I believe the community would appreciate Last Call simply going away.

thomgreen 7 years ago

What would keep him from closing Last Call down, moving to another location and naming it something else?

I'm not sure if this place actually did anything positive for diversity here in town. I do wonder if this was the right step to take, and if it wasn't a rash move. Wasn't Cork and Barrel's license revoked a couple of years back also? Is that still going through the appeals process? If so, it looks like Last Call will be around awhile while this appeal process runs it's course.

As far as The Granada, I'm really not sure where the attack on that place comes from. It is the best concert venue here in Lawrence. It has some of the friendliest staff (no, I'm not one of them), and they are not in the news every weekend. While the shooting death there a couple of years ago was tragic, it was an anomaly, not the norm.

As much as I don't like Dennis Steffes as a person, I still disagree with the manner this is all going down. Does the end justify the means? I guess we'll see. Will this set a precedent on how all bars we deem unfavorable are driven out of business? Just thoughts, that's all.

gphawk89 7 years ago

"Diversity is what makes Lawrence strong."

Well, that depends...

Let's say combine the usual ingredients together to make an apple pie. The diverse ingredients, each tasting OK by themselves, combine to create something extraordinary. In this case, diversity is good.

Now let's say you decide to try adding a quarter cup of maggots to the recipe and make another apple pie. The ingredients are still diverse, but now the pie is not so good.

Forcing some "diversity" out of town can be a good thing - I don't care whether it's liberals, conservatives, or whoever else doing the forcing.

nekansan 7 years ago

"Can anyone cite examples of violence or disturbances going on that are directly tied to Last Call? (And no, finding guns in cars parked across the street doesn't count. Nor does a shooting in Kansas City)"

Uuuhhhh? How about patrons shooting guns inside the club and the illegal drug activity that was observed occurring within the club. Or does that not count either. As I remember reading several of the stories related to the guns found in vehicles, the police observed patrons of the club leaving Last Call and walking to the vehicles in question, but I forgot that is not related right?

Joe Hyde 7 years ago

Considering how many mid- and large-caliber handguns and assault rifles have been grabbed by LKPD so far (weapons owned by customers of the bar), if this establishment moves to another city it could be re-named "Last Round".

local_guy 7 years ago

i just think its funny that the people who dont go out, dont see first hand what goes on, and have absolutely no idea who the people are that they're talking so bad about just go on and on about "diversity." lets be real guys, you want what you would consider a "gang banger" out of YOUR town. and then you develop these views and opinions based on what the newspaper tells you about an incident? wow, i forgot, the news ALWAYS tells the whole truth and NEVER lies. haha. im not advocating last call, i dont even like going there, because there are things that have happened. and the other thing that gets me is the fact that someone referred to that group as "maggots in an apple pie." that was just wrong. people like you are a thorn in the side of our city. i wear big hats, baggy clothes, drive cadillac's, go out and have a good time every weekend. i also have no criminal record, dont do or sell drugs, am a highschool graduate and currently in college. but, oh, wait, i look a certain way, therefore i must be a "gang banger" and the "maggot in lawrence's apple pie." gimme a break. take all the shots you want, i really dont care hahahaha cuz you know im telling the truth. hehe =)

nekansan 7 years ago

"You apparently missed a word in my post. I said CITE those examples.

But if you're going to find articles about the police observing patrons walking to cars that contained guns, don't bother. Whatever illegal activities those patrons engage in outside the club has no bearing on the club's right to maintain it's liquor license.

As for the illegal drugs and shooting inside the club, I am waiting for your evidence."

From this article... Testimony in front of a State Agency.... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/nov...

"Officer Anthony Morgan of the Mission Police Department said he had never seen drug use so prevalent in any bar."

"officers said they frequently saw evidence of marijuana smoking inside the club"

"Morgan also told of a seeing a patron - about four feet from a club security official - hollow out a cigar, fill it with marijuana and begin smoking it."

"He also said a man who appeared to be a bartender at the club went into the restroom and began snorting a white powder through a straw."

And as for the guns & shooting inside the club.... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/may...

"Chris Smith was upstairs in a VIP area when he heard the seven gunshots and a bullet ricochet near him early Sunday inside Last Call, 729 N.H."

"An officer was on routine patrol about 2 a.m. Sunday when he heard what sounded like gunshots in the club and went to investigate. Police said they recovered seven shell casings in all."

So there you have clear and complete citations to support my claims.

nekansan 7 years ago

Smitty: I'm not the one asking for citations of the incidents, that's logicsound04. I referred to them in a non-specific way and evidently that did not meet the required level of proof. I'm sure there will be some argument from him now as to how our citations are proof of nothing and not a good example of the problems with Last Call. I think we are on the same side of this issue.

thomgreen 7 years ago

Man law dictates that men never put "hehe" at the end of their emails, blogs, or online comments. We need to vote on whether to pull local_guy's man card.

= )

rumor_man 7 years ago

I hope there's no spillover violence at Liberty Hall tonight after the Poco concert is over.

I'd hate to see Liberty Hall's license revoked.

http://www.lawrence.com/events/2007/nov/30/23404/

i_have_only_valid_opinions 7 years ago

thomgreen (Anonymous) says:

Man law dictates that men never put "hehe" at the end of their emails, blogs, or online comments. We need to vote on whether to pull local_guy's man card.

= )


Same with smiley faces, buddy!

local_guy 7 years ago

well if thats all that can be said about my post im satisfied..but sometimes people's ignorance just make you giggle..hehe =P..ok that was a joke, but really, that was kinda funny. =)

gphawk89 7 years ago

local_guy:

The "maggots in the apple pie" I was referring to are the ones that DO have a criminal record, DO sell drugs, do NOT graduate from high school, and do NOT go on to college. THEY are the "thorn in the side of our city" as you put it. I would like to think that the majority of the folks going to Last Call are law-abiding folks just out to have a good time. I don't care what Last Call's patrons, you, or anyone else looks like - that's not the point. When I was in college I had long hair, a handlebar moustache, wore a black leather jacket, listened to heavy metal, and drove a loud muscle car. Did that make me a criminal? No. I stand by my earlier statements - diversity is a good thing only if the "ingredients" are good.

LiberalDude 7 years ago

Diversity is what makes Lawrence great. The issue with Last Call has nothing to do with diversity. This club is being shut down because violence and illegal activities associated with the club. Last Call attracts criminals to town because they don't enforce laws. I hope that after Last Call is gone other clubs that play hip hop/rap will open up that enforce laws. If so, good people who want to have a good time will drive to Lawrence. The criminals who want to break the law will find somewhere else to hang out.

local_guy 7 years ago

funny how when someone pulls your card, its not everyone there, just the "few who ARE drug dealers and thugs." its also interesting how your point of view changed so rapidly. if thats what you meant, why didnt you say it in the first place? last call sucks, i agree, but that wasnt my argument. my argument is, dont judge a whole crowd based on what the ever-so-truthful LJW and LPD tells you about select few.

local_guy 7 years ago

thank you, LiberalDude, for helping make my point! seriously.

nekansan 7 years ago

The article regarding the drugs may be related to LE's & the City's attempts to have Last Call's license revoked, but no one here has claimed that the observations that were cited were inaccurate or false. It doesn't sound like they had to try very hard to see this happening, which means neither would the owner of the bar. This is not about a single incident, it is about an overall pattern of issues related to the bar. Some are directly attributable to Last Call, some are caused by patrons the bar attracts but has no direct control over. The bottom line is the board looked at the problems as a whole and based it's decision on the overall situation. When you have bartenders observed doing cocaine (OK a white powdery substance, but 'cmon), a shooting in a club that is already under scrutiny for attracting guns to an area, and couple that with Steffes' pattern of crying to the press rather than really working to fix the problems, I'm not so sure that the decision will be overturned. I'm not saying it won't but I'd put it more at 50/50. Time will tell.

Kontum1972 7 years ago

they relocated @ City Hall...perfect environment!

Jaminrawk 7 years ago

How can anyone argue for Last Call? Look, I am a pretty liberal person but do we really need a bar where the patrons have been proven to have guns in their cars? Do we really need a bar that requires that much security? Do we really need a bar that has been notorious for fights, drugs and a shooting? Close the place down or move it away from downtown. It sucks going to the Bottleneck for a concert and having to walk past some of the rap video wannabees standing in line from Topeka.

local_guy 7 years ago

i agree, and im not saying it didnt happen (and DEFINITELY not defending), but who observed this white substance being abused and a leafy green substance being smoked? our beloved law enforcemet officers??? so what did they do, take it? the sure didnt arrest them..oooooo that smell/can't ya smell that smell? (of conspiracy!) haha

saxplayer24 7 years ago

I second the motion to pull local_guys man card. Seriously, who says hehe and actually has testicals? As far as Last Call is concerned, most of you that are complaining aren't even AWAKE when LC is open or at capacity so why worry about it? I would expect this sort of complaining from Topekans, I would know I used to live there, over something trivial, but not the citizens of Lawrence. Get off your little perch above the rest of society and take a chill pill.

Also, note that I'm not ending this with "hehe" local_guy you should especially take note of this.

Godot 7 years ago

Does this mean the ABC going to shut down every bar in every city in Kansas that has experienced this kind of activity?

LiberalDude 7 years ago

"Does this mean the ABC going to shut down every bar in every city in Kansas that has experienced this kind of activity?"

I hope so. Isn't that what ABC is for!

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

local_guy 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

local_guy 7 years ago

my comment removed by site staff..are you kidding? what did i say that prompted removal? maybe something truthful about LJW or LPD? give me a break! freedom of speech at its best!

rumor_man 7 years ago

Nothing good ever happens after midnight.

booze_buds_03 7 years ago

Sorry local_guy read the terms of use for posting on this board. Your speech is not free to say the least, and you agreed to abide by their rules. As for the revocation that is great news. How about Dennis move to KC mo where he belongs.

thomgreen 7 years ago

Wow...ironically, that's what my dad always said rumor_man. Even though he would then follow up with stories about running the streets in Kansas City Mo. at all hours of the night, during the depression. I never understood the "do as I say, not as I did" statement from him.

Damn, I was totally busted on the smiley face. But I plead that I had to put it in there to make sure no one thought I was being malicious. It was to emphasize the joking manner in which I called local_guy's man card into question.

Can I go to John C. McGinley for a decision on this appeal?

ksdivakat 7 years ago

I would ask all of you who are against it if youve actually been in last call?? and do you know dennis?? let me clue you in.....2 gangs one upstairs one downstairs....weed being smoked in plain site, and other drugs being done in plain site, of not only some plain clothes detective but also by dennis himself, in the bathrooms are people getting it on most of the time and youd have to step over them to go to the bathroom. Dennis does in fact warn the bar when the cops come in, thats why we were allowed to smoke inside coyotes for so long. Dennis doesnt care what the city laws are, he makes his own laws up and thats what he goes off of, and yes i do know Dennis personally, hes a nice guy, but has a warped sense of making money. In case you dont know, he wanted to turn coyotes into a parking lot and last call was supposed to be a electronics store! but he got into a beef with the city and wanted to shove his opinions and such in the citys face and dare them to do something about it. Someone once asked on a blog if dennis would allow monica to go into a bar like last call......and Dennis said "hell no" not ever! I heard that with my own 2 ears! Monica isnt even allowed in there after it closes for the crew to clean and do the money drawers.....she can go to coyotes with him but not last call.....also, the crowd from last call has robbed the convience stores heading out of town back to KC and there was nothing anyone could do cause there were so many of them! And for all you disbelievers, researxh LJW for the article that shows the security cameras in the convience store!!!! So, the "crowd" that last call attracts is no good for lawrence, ABC doesnt have to have a reason not to renew a liquor license, and if ABC was smart, they would just stand outside last call and card everyone, cause I promise you that there are underage drinkers in there every friday and saturday night!

akt2 7 years ago

It takes a lot of time and money to fight the City of Lawrence and the State of Kansas. Surely other violations will occur on, or around the premises during the appeal process. The final stage is set, and anything from here on out is just icing on the cake.

Jaminrawk 7 years ago

The Bottleneck may have hippie wannabees but you can't say that the Bottleneck has the rep that "Last Call" does. I'm not saying that any bar doesn't have an occasional fight but COME ON! I know you have to be "fair" but everyone that has gone by Last Call knows that it is WAAAAY different than the others bars downtown. I don't remember having to be patted down to go in Louises. I haven't ever seen MILSPEC working the door at the Red Lion. I don't rmember having heard shots fired inside the Tap Room. Every "urban" bar that has been at that location has had the same problems. Remember "Tremors", anyone? It is no better than the "Moon Bar" or what is currently at that location now. But to be fair, I would say "Brothers" is almost as bad.

flyin_squirrel 7 years ago

ABC will not go to Last Call and look for minors. They only visit the college bars when they come to town.

Mike Blur 7 years ago

effbombs, there IS a dress code at Last Call. At least there was the one time I went there. There was a long list--15-20 items? of "do's and "don'ts" posted right next to the door.

I went there primarily to speak from authority while trying to dissuade people close to me from going. I stayed for one watered-down drink, and left the bar high from a contact buzz. I don't think I've ever been exposed to so much lingering cheeba smoke in my life!

And, just to make sure, I wore a gray t-shirt and black shorts. Gotta sport neutral colors!

Oh, and nice Mentors reference there, Tweakin. El Duce--he's my f**king hero!

Jaminrawk 7 years ago

I agree, Brothers' day is probably coming, especially if Last Call closes. The Granada incident was unfortunate but once again, it DID follow a hip hop show where there were a lot of people from out of town.

Look, I actually like hip hop and I know that the majority of the patrons who go to these places aren't looking for trouble, but there is just something in the makeup of these places that causes violence. When guns become involved then it's time to make drastic changes.

thomgreen 7 years ago

ABC visited and had a patron ticketed at Free State Brewery this year. Last time I checked, Free State wasn't a "college bar".

black_butterfly 7 years ago

You racists need to look up the word diversity in the dictionary. And while you are at it, please spell check yourselves once in a while. You just make yourself sound so uneducated (which you probably are). There is so much more to diversity than race. Furthermore, the Last Call is not the only bar in town that has patrons of many races. Yes it is a good thing that The Last Call is on it's way out, but not because people of many races go to the bar. If you think that all of the trouble came ONLY from Topeka and KC residents, think again. Some of them are Lawrence kids, born and raised here AND some are KU Athletes. You love to "whoop and hollar" when these kids are helping win football and basketball games for KU. You love to brag about how great the KU teams are then. I'll be glad when they do finally shut LC down so you all can find something else to B(****) about. I just hope you all dont' slit your wrists when you come to the horrific realization that ALL of Lawrence's violence didn't spawn from The Last Call! LOLOL

estespark 7 years ago

Last Call is almost as violent as the "Old" Yacht Club on a Thursday night.

LiberalDude 7 years ago

beobachter, I disagree 100%. Hip hop and rap is not the problem. Many people in Lawrence do like this music and want to be around others who like it. Last Call is the problem, not the music!

There are tons of hip hop/rap bars and clubs around the country that don't have any violence problems. Last Call attracts criminals and violence because it is a safe haven for illegal behavior.

This isn't about the type of music that is played! It's about a club that doesn't follow the law.

rumor_man 7 years ago

I've heard that it's a gay hip-hop bar and that Fred Phelps will be there tonight.

doc1 7 years ago

A gay hip hop bar? Maybe Steffes could open one of those and call it Balls and Weiners or keep it a gangster bar and call it AK-47

Jaminrawk 7 years ago

I personally never said anything about it being a "black" problem. I specifically said "rap video wannabees". There are a lot of white kids that fit into that group. Heck, the kid that stabbed J.R. Giddens at the "Moon Bar" was white. However, to try and act like clubs that cater to a rap culture don't occasionally become dangerous, is ignorant. Westport had the same problems with numerous clubs. I mean, when there is a dress code to eliminate "gang colors" it's probably not the best place in town to go have a good time.

Once again, I LIKE hip-hop. I just don't like bars where the owner can't control the patrons, employees or security. That would be "Last Call" ladies and gents.

effbombs 7 years ago

jaminrawk- there is no dress code at last call. thats why they are known as club kandi without a dress code. having a dress code would probably be a smart idea for them.

effbombs 7 years ago

i would argue that the music could be part of the problem. i saw first hand last week...everything was fine until the dj played a few songs such as 'where ya hood at?' all of sudden a fight breaks out. now i'm not saying rap music is to blame but it was hard to deny the effect of a few particular songs.

George_Braziller 7 years ago

It's about time. I've been wondering how long it would be before I would find a body in my front yard. I've already found butcher knife in the yard and another neighbor had a handgun thrown onto the front porch after some of the "activities."

KCMO_Jayhawk 7 years ago

As a student at the University of Kansas, a native of Kansas City Missouri, an African American, and a social work student I am disgusted with the comments on this article. Many of the comments stated perpetuate stereotypes and tons of misinformation.

While Last Call may not be of interest to many of you that does not make it a bad place. In fact I'm willing to bet that over half of you have never even stepped foot in Last Call.

Your attacks on Last Call represent just how norrow-minded our society is and explains why there is still a large road block to cultural competency.

Drugs, guns, music, and a certain group of people do not cause or perpetuate violence. Ignorance is what causes and perpetuates violence. And in the case of violence it is no secret that media shapes the views of many. Many people from all walks of lives become blinded and commit acts of violence, it is not limited to one group of people. You should shape your own opinions by visiting Last Call and doing personal research.

I have been to Last Call on a few occasions. I'm still alive, I didn't see anyone doing drugs nor were there any acts of violence.

Acts of violence take place all over Lawrence, as well as all over the world. We live in a violent society but stereotyping violent people and secluding them to one area will not create change. There must be a better solution.

As far as underage drinking, I think we all can agree it takes place at a lot of bars around town...not just Last Call.

I think it is tasteless for the city to deny renewal of Last Call's liquor license in order to run it out of the city. There are other ways to get rid of a business that are more tasteful. Last Call is in business in Lawrence rather some of you like it or not and it has a right to operate regardless of what crowd is presumably patronizing the bar.

I have visited many bars in Lawrence. I have a preference for some over others. Those that I do not like I just simply have not gone back to.

In response to patrons of Last Call robbing liquor stores after leaving I simply ask, how do you know that those people came from Last Call? Were you there? Did you see them?

Who is to say that the patrons of Last Call are from KC or Topeka? No one, unless you have surveryed the patrons at the bar, which I'm sure you haven't based on your postings.

In all, I say to those that find Last Call to be a bad place but have yet to visit, please do! Make your own observations of who is patronizing the bar and then formulate your own opinions. Who knows...you just could be wrong on this issue! If you find that you do not like it then just don't return. But do not advocate for it to be closed on the basis that you do not enjoy the place because there will always be others that do, whom you will be excluding!!

George_Braziller 7 years ago

It doesn't matter to me if you are from Topeka, Kansas City, Goodland, or Windom, Kansas. I don't care if you like country, rock, rap, hip hop, or pop. I don't care if you are from Antartica, South America, or Mars.

"I have been to Last Call on a few occasions. I'm still alive, I didn't see anyone doing drugs nor were there any acts of violence."

Guess what. I'm a neighbor of Last Call and I've seen plenty. It's finally time for it to go. This is not about the color of one's skin or music preference it is pubic safety and removing a nuisance.

saxplayer24 7 years ago

rumore_central, you're right, fred phelps WILL be at the gay only bar, after all everybody knows he's just trying to hide something by condeming it. Also, speaking of good 'ole fred, you need to check a spoof sight that was made, http://www.godhatesFIGS.com its a pretty good website and will give you a couple of laughs

black_butterfly 7 years ago

beobacher- do you hear yourself? Last call is NOT the only club in Lawrence that exclusively plays hip hop music........where did you get that idea? My son will be 19 in December and all he listens to is hip hop and rap. He was an honor student at Free State and received a full academic scholarship to college where he is doing well. He has never been arrested, doesn't drink, and doesn't have a bunch of babies all around town. (He's never been to LC for that matter) Hip Hop music is NOT the problem. Yes Last Call is a problem, but it is not because they play Hip Hop and Rap, no matter how badly you all want that to be the problem, it just isn't. And some of you are just dellusional if you insist on thinking that it is ONLY out of towners causing trouble. Oh, FYI... Rap music is not the only genre of music that talks about sex, violence and killing and not ALL rap music talks about that. GAWD get a clue.

KCMO_Jayhawk 7 years ago

In response to George_Braziller:

My reason in mentioning race and music was solely based on all of the previous comments which I took the time to read through (as you obviously did not)! Rather you believe it or not this message board proves that race and music choice are key in this situation. This shows through the comments that many have posted. And if you believe that for one second race and hip hop music does not play a role here in Lawrence or anywhere else in this country you are SO WRONG! Do your research and look for recent events like the Jena Six and Pant Sagging Laws in the South (just to name a few)!

Just because you live by Last Call that does not make you the spokesperson for wrong-doings they may or may not take place INSIDE the club. I'm almost positive that you have never stepped foot in the club and have only watched what goes on outside and your attention has probably been drawn to Last Call because of all the negative media reports! There are numerous other clubs that have fights or scuffles outside after closing...but I'm sure that doesn't matter to you because you don't live near those places or you haven't heard about them in the news!

effbombs 7 years ago

mike blur- i don't know about the list of don'ts i didnt see it when i went a few weeks ago...but the head of security is my trainer and he told me that they don't have a dress code.

jayhawks11 7 years ago

I think Last Call should remain open. Majority of the people going to last call do not go there to cause trouble they go to have fun. I am one of those people. Last Call is the only club that I actually have fun at. Abe and Jakes is ok but they mix tracks entirely too much. Axis is just plain BORING!!!! They music sucks. Every time I have went they were playing music that was 3-5 yrs old! WTF!!! Last Call is the only place that I can go to where the music is right. And people are actually DANCING and not just standing around trying to look cute. As said before the owners are not responsible for what happens outside of the club. Fights have also happened outside of Abe and Jakes/ Axis. Also the people coming from KC or Topeka are not always to blame for the drama a lot of the time the residents of LAWRENCE are the main ones causing drama.

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