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Omegalite MARCH 2010


Fraternity brothers share passion for weather There must have been something in the air some 14 years go at Pi Kappa Phi – literally. Two Omega undergraduates of that era have found their way to being TV weathermen. Steve Templeton (Omega 1444) was a spring 1996 pledge who majored in meteorology. He recruited someone he had met in a Purdue class to pledge that fall, Rob Woods (Omega 1469). Both were intrigued, and even infactuated about weather – passions not universally shared by their peers. Templeton, a Northbrook, IL native always wanted to be a weatherman. In fact he would tell anyone who would listen back home one of his dreams was to chase tornadoes. As a youngster, it was the legacy of his late grandfather, a geology professor, who inadvertently exposed him to the intrigue of

weather. In high school, Templeton took a geology class. “It turns out that I really didn’t like geology,” Templeton said, “but I loved the atmospheric science portion of the class. I found it fascinating to look up in the sky and understand the science of why a cloud forms or why it rains.” Templeton was one of the first meteorologists in the county to receive the Certified Broadcast Meteorology Seal from the American Meteorological Society. He now broadcasts weather for News 4, KMOV, in St. Louis on weekday evenings. Though Woods was interested in weather as an undegraduate, he wasn’t quite yet a zealot. Initially Woods majored in meteorology, but switched to communication with a desire to act. “I loved acting,” he said. “I loved

Steve Templeton stands before the blank weatherboard while broadcasting the weather in St. Louis.

the entertainment business and moved from acting and became a talent manager with well-known clients in the motion picture, commercial and soap opera genre.” That career took the Evansville, IN, native from Purdue to Los Angeles, to Atlanta and New York and then back to the West coast. He was a model and actor from 2000 to 2007 and a talent agent from 2007 to 2009. During his agent stint, Woods attended several Emmy Awards. It was a chance meeting with a world renown actor that helped him move from working with actors to television. “One person told me, ‘You will make it in whatever you do – just do it with passion,’ ” Woods said. “That person was Robin Williams.” Shortly thereafter, Woods changed career paths to be more in line with what he wanted to be while growing up in Evansville. “It was in December 2008 when it really hit me,” he said. “My father had just died and I realized that your life could end at any time. I was not stimulated in my career as a talent manager.” He knew then that what he did in his living room while growing up, what he did as a weather intern in Atlanta while pursuing an acting career, was indeed his calling. “Honestly, I should have been doing the weather from the get-go,” he said. “Ever since I have been a kid, I have loved the weather – especially severe weather. I used to watch The Weather Channel and perform mock weathercasts for my family the living room.” Alongside his modeling, acting and agent careers, he earned an Continued on Page 2

OMEGALITE Omega of Pi Kappa Phi, Inc. Housing Corporation P.O. Box 2700 West Lafayette, IN 47996-2700 Chapter Web address: http://www. Corporation Officers JAY SEEGER PRESIDENT 3817 Old Farm Road Lafayette, IN 47905 765/742-4529, work 765/474-1986, home

BRANDT HERSHMAN VICE PRESIDENT 6142 Maderia Lane Lafayette, IN 47905 574/581-2000, cell

STEVE BOHNER TREASURER 194 Twin Springs Ct. Carmel, IN 46234 317/846-3008, home 317/844-2250, work 317/844-2296, fax steve@langdonand

MARCH 2010 Continued from Page 1 online meteorology degree from Mississippi State, graduating in 2009. Finally, he was on an even level with his fraternity mentor. Upon graduation, Templeton knew of the competitiveness for becoming an on-air weatherman. “I was considering becoming an earth science teacher, but after interning in a TV weather department (at WGN in Chicago), I realized that broadcast meteorology would allow me to combine my passion for both understanding and explaining the weather,” he said. “So, I landed my first job in a small town (Dubuque, Iowa) and that’s when I realized I had made the right career choice. I love what I do and haven’t looked back.” Along the way during his professional career, Templeton became the inspiration for Woods. “He (Templeton) became my pledge pop (in 1996) and is now my mentor today,” Woods said. “With him doing weather in St. Louis and me in California, we email back and forth regularly comparing notes and forecasts. If I ever have a question, he is there with an answer, just like in the fraternity. He has always been there for me.” Ever since January 2009, Woods – who goes by the screen name Riley O’Connor

PURDUE UNIVERSITY from his acting days – had been the lead weather forecaster for cable broadcaster Crown City News in Pasadena, CA. “This is where I am supposed to be (on TV),” Woods said. “I am lucky to say that I have been down several different career paths. So many people say, ‘I wish I would have done that, or I always wanted to try that.’ Well, I have tried them.” Both Woods and Templeton say Pi Kappa Phi helped form them into what they are today. Templeton, a former rush chairman, saw the parallels between rush and TV. “You know those awkward rush parties where you need to talk to rushees you don’t know?” Templeton said. “Then you hit that stride where you’re just being yourself and chatting people up. Nowadays, I’m chatting it up with thousands of people through the camera. No one wants to watch the awkward weather guy.” Woods saw tremendous growth while an undergraduate chapter member. “I still to this day say the best time of my life was in the fraternity,” he said. “Little did I know that when I started Purdue I would leave there having it made such an impact. Living and being associated with Pi Kappa Phi gave me so much confidence … it gave me a chance to be a leader.”

PAT KUHNLE SECRETARY 720 Chelsea Road W. Lafayette, IN 47906 765/743-1111 ext. 205, work 765/743-6087, fax 765/743-1256, cell pkuhnle@purdue The Omegalite is published at least twice a year by the Omega of Pi Kappa Phi Housing Corporation for its alumni. Address corrections should be mailed to us at the contact information listed at the top of this box.

Rob Woods, going by a stage name of Riley O’Connor, does the weather for Crown City News in Pasadena, CA, a community cable network channel.


MARCH 2010


Above: The 2008 and 2009 R. B. Stewart Awards stand in front of the undergraduates. Right: The 2009 RB Stewart Award stands alongside a plaque listing individual category awards.

Omega repeats as Purdue’s top fraternity Pi Kappa Pi has been recognized as the top fraternity at Purdue for the second year in a row. On Oct. 20, 2009, the chapter received the 2009 R.B. Stewart of Excellence signifying it as the best of Purdue’s 41 chapters. It won the same award in 2008. “It’s a great honor to receive the R.B. Stewart Award for two consecutive years,” archon Dan Cronin (Omega 1702) said. “A lot of time and effort go into our programming and daily operations and it is great to be recognized with this award. “Earning the award for the second year shows our commitment to excellence is paying off.” Chapter programming is multilayered and diverse. In 2008-09, for example, it raised $7,500 for the Pi Kappa Phi national philanthropic effort, Push America. It also had more than one-third of the chapter

volunteer at a local high school with a special needs class. Furthermore, chapter members volunteered 426 hours in community service. It had alumni involvement in homecoming, the Pi Kapp 100 (a 100-kilomter cycling ride to raise money for Push America), new member recruitment, Founders Day (an event whereby we honor the date of our national founding) and the chapter housing corporation. The Omega chapter finished fourth in fraternity intramurals and had championships in five individual or team sports in 200809. Academically, it had 52 percent of the chapter members at a 3.0 or higher, including four members with a 4.0 in the spring semester. It ranked second and sixth in fraternity grades in the two semesters

in the 2008-09 academic year. Since taking on the fall and spring pledge classes, membeship stands at 116. “This period in the chapter’s history may be the strongest it has ever been,” chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle (Omega 1197) said. “The members individually are quality men and collectively they consistently continue to raise the bar of what fraternity means at Purdue.” In addition to the overall award, the chapter was named Purdue’s best in six of the nine categories used to judge the overall winner. Those individual awards included: • Outstanding Chapter Management • External Relations • Leadership Development • New Member Development • Philanthropy • Social Development

Oct. 16 Minnesota homecoming football tickets now available Alumni can place ticket orders for the Oct. 16, 2010, homecoming football game through the chapter now. Tickets for the game are available for $46 each. Purdue will host Minnesota on Oct. 16, but gametime has not yet been determined.

Use the enclosed order form to purchase tickets in the Pi Kappa Phi block. If you provide us your email address in the return form, we will let you know the activity schedule for that day once the Big Ten determines the game time. In order to be included in the Pi

Kappa Phi block, we need payment by Sept. 15. Questions? Contact chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle. His contact information is included elsewhere in this newsletter.


MARCH 2010


Housing Corp VP files for Congress

Ron Sadkowski, Eric Strohacker, Rick Harvey and Jeff Rollo pose in front of pledge paddles in the chapter dining room following the Founders Day celebration and initiation.

Nearly 2 decades after pledging, Indy firefighter becomes member As part of its Founders Day celebration in December 2009, Pi Kappa Phi helped an associate member from 18 years ago to find completion. Eric Strohacker (Omega 1776), a nine-year veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department, became an Omega chapter initiate at Purdue. Unbeknownst to him, alumni of his era have been working for nearly five months to get Strohacker initiated. Strohacker started his undergraduate studies at Purdue in 1991, but transferred to another institution prior to his initiation. He eventually dropped out of the second institution, which was closer to his Indianapolis home, to enlist in the U.S. Navy. After completing his four-year commitment, Strohacker returned and earned a degree in electrical engineering technology. Since then, the 36-year-old has been a firefighter, become a water rescue instructor, a volunteer at the local schools and a third and fourth grade football coach. Each year as part of its Founders Day events, the Omega chapter tries to identify men as alumni initiates. A group of alumni from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s heard of this effort and suggested Strohacker.

Four alumni visited an undergraduate chapter meeting a month before the event and made their plea to the chapter members. Alumni from Connecticut, California, Indianapolis and Chicago came to Indiana to be alongside Strohacker as he became the chapter’s 1,776th initiate on Dec. 6. A formal dinner followed the afternoon initiation and debriefing. Ron Sadkowski (Omega 1299) was one of the alumni in attednance. “The value of initiation into Pi Kappa Phi proves our brotherhood does not end upon graduation,” Sadkowski said, “it precedes the lifelong bond that is built upon by past, present and future men.” Strohacker speaks emotionally about what it meant to finally finish was he started in 1991. “I am lucky because not everyone is given a second chance,” he said. “This is why I have always been proud to be part of the fraternity and now officially as an initiate. I guess the best way to describe my feelings is that my initiation validates everything that I already knew and felt about the brotherhood. “I have been blessed with great friends who their efforts have given me this opportunity.”

State Sen. Brandt Hershman (Omega 1196), R-Wheatfield, IN, hopes to replace his political mentor in the U.S. Congress. U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Fourth District, announced in February that he will not seek a 10th term representing Hershman an area that runs north of Bloomington to the Illinois line to north and east of Lafayette. Buyer cited his wife’s auto immune disease as the reason for not seeking re-election. Hershman, serving his third term as a parttime Indiana State Senator, is the field representative for Buyer. Hershman is also the State Senate Majority Whip. The Housing Corporation vice president will face 13 others in a May primary. Opposition includes Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who cannot seek re-election to that post due to state term limits. Others include another state senator, a Butler University professor and the Greenwood mayor.

Chapter encourages Pi Kapp 100 support Alumni are encouraged to participate in, or financially support the 10th annual Pi Kapp 100. The 100-kilometer April 17 cycling event runs from the Indianapolis area to campus. Undergraduate and alumni riders are asked to get pledges to support their ride. For more information or to be an alumnus rider, contact Tyler Lewis, Push America chairman, at, 949.910.2683. To financially support the chapter’s efforts, tax deductible donations can be made payable to “Push America” and returned with the enclosed donor slip.


Archon Report It is certainly a great time to be an Omega Pi Kappa Phi. Fortunately, the chapter is blessed with an exec that is nearly intact from the fall. That has allowed us to “hit the ground running” in terms of chapter leadership. In rush, for example, we followed up a 29-man fall class with 21 in the spring. Eric Allen’s (Omega 1724) effort of 50 new men was the most since 1998-89 when the house was rebuilt. We now have 116 members and pledges on campus. Our third annual “War of Roses” competition will be in April. The War is a weeklong, Greek-wide empathy training and talent competition. Working alongside numerous sororities, we are able to raise funds for Push America, our national philanthropy. Our April 17 Mom’s Day-Pi Kapp 100 is coming, too. We seek alumni riders and support and you can read about that opportunity elsewhere in this Omegalite edition. In the fall, we paired with Delta Delta Delta for the multiple events surrounding football season. Ryan Nugent (Omega 1717) was a homecoming king candidate and served on the court. This spring, we are working alongside Phi Mu for both BMOC (Big Man on Campus) and Grand Prix. BMOC is a campus-wide Greek talent competition to raise money for cancer research sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha. Nick Prichodko (Omega 1752) spearheaded the Pi Kapp-Phi Mu dance team competing in BMOC. We continue to have roughly 30 members participate every other week in our local volunteer relationship at a special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. We are also nearing yet another milestone in our chapter’s history. When we initiate the Fall ’09 and Spring ’10 pledges, we will cross the 1,800-initiate threshold. This could not have been possible without the strong foundation that was built by our alumni. Dan Cronin (Omega 1702), Fall 2009, Spring 2010, archon

MARCH 2010


Chapter hosts ESPN analyst A sports commentator implored college students to find mentors and learn from them at a recent speech sponsored by the fraternity. ESPN analyst and former UCLA basketball coach Steve Lavin spoke to a crowd of more than 100 people – with the majority of them being Pi Kapps – for nearly an hour on Feb. 20, shortly before he broadcast the Illinois at Purdue game. In his comments, Lavin, 45, said he started developing mentors while a basketball player at a small school in California. “You’re at a stage right now when I was at Chapman University writing letters to the people in a career that you have great interest in,” he said. As a 19-year-old, Lavin turned to his father’s coach while at the University of San Francisco, Pete Newell, for advice. Newell, who won an NIT title at San Francisco and a national championship at CalBerkley, identified four coaches to emulate. Newell identified then UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian, Indiana’s Bob Knight, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Purdue’s Gene Keady. Lavin wrote each of them and eventually spent time on each of their campuses to observe coaching techiniques. Later, when he moved from an assistant at Purdue (1988-91) to UCLA, he got to learn from John Wooden. “I want to find that perspective, to find those (fictional martial arts master) Mr. Miyagis and those (Star Wars fictional mentor) Yodas who are out there,” Lavin said. “It’s not just the current hot names; it’s those who are still around. They are in their 70s, 80s or 90s … I don’t think we take full advantage of the wisdom, the experience of the wise old souls with sage advice that our parents and elders can give us.” Lavin said that once you choose your mentors, you need to fully develop your values. “You will find that these old tried and true values really is what it’s all about,” he said. “That’s still the foun-

Archon Dan Cronin poses with ESPN analyst Steve Lavin on Feb. 20. dation. You can never get away from those fundamentals – the gratitude of hard work of being prepared, being grateful – those basics.” Lavin credits his parents and his basketball mentors for making him who he is today – a nationally recognizable TV analyst. When he became head coach at UCLA in 1996, he was among the youngest coaches in the nation at 32 years old. While head coach, he led his team to a .650 winning percentage in seven seasons. His teams went to the NCAA Sweet 16 in five of those years. Being a film and TV major at Chapman, the transition to broadcasting made smoother. Furthermore, as a youngster, he would attend San Francisco Giants games, take a tape recorder and sit up high in the stands recording play-by-play. He would then play it for his early mentors, his parents. “They would critique and review – and bless their hearts – you know they were bored stiff with a sixth or seventh grader doing nine innings of baseball,” he said. “They said ‘this is wonderful, Steve, this is great.’” “The beauty is that my job now is how do you communicate to the fan, the viewer at home about Big Ten basketball? How do you keep your material fresh?”


MARCH 2010


School board honors fraternity donation, volunteerism Pi Kappa Phi’s community outreach was recognized, both by local media and school board officials on Nov. 9, 2009, in Lafayette. Chapter members gathered to present a check for $1,863 to the Lafayette School Board. The donation represented the local grant portion of the chapter’s 2008-09 $7,452 Push America fundraising in 200809. The money will support programming in a special needs class at Jefferson High School. In the Fall 2009 semester, nearly 30 chapter members have volunteered numerous hours of time in the special needs classroom. It is the second year that Pi Kappa Phi members have assisted at Lafayette Jefferson High School’s low incidence class. Andrew Scheil, fall Push chairman, and Jim Vasil, last year’s national Push Chairman of the Year spoke to the school board. “Our chapter has raised nearly $120,000 for Push America since 1980,” Scheil said at the school board meeting. “In recent years, Push America has allowed chapters to donate 25 percent of their academic year fundraising to local agen-

Lafayette School board members pose with chapter members as well as special needs students and teachers. cies. This is whey we stand before to thank them for their service. you tonight.” Three of the special needs stuVasil recognized the seven chapdents, three teachers and one parent ter members who attended the meet- joined the fraternity members during and spoke about the work the ing the presentation. fraternity does in the classroom. Steve Beeler (Omega 1169), the “We thank you for allowing us to Jefferson High School special educabring the mission of Push America to tion department head helped identiLafayette Jefferson High School,” he fy the need and establish the local said. partnership in 2008. The efforts are The school superintendent lauded consistent with the mission of Push the chapter’s efforts and donation. America, the national fraternity’s After a photo opportunity with outreach program. school board officials, the superinChapter members rotate regulartendent went out of his way to greet ly with the homeroom classroom for each fraternity member individually Continued on next page

Andy Scheil, fall Push America chairman works on a puzzle with a Lafayette Jefferson High School special needs student.

Eric Allen practices sign language with a student alongside a teacher’s assistant in the chapter’s volunteer relationship.


MARCH 2010

Continued from previous page the high school students. During the 2008-09 school year, chapter members volunteered more than 300 hours in the class. Low incidence classroom teacher Alyssa Jenkins praised the fraternity members’ impact on her students during a TV interview after the presentation. “I have noticed a difference in the kids (when fraternity members are in class),” she said. “First of all, (the students) get excited every day. They look at the schedule to see who is coming and at what time. If there’s someone new, (the students) flock to them and want to know ‘who are you?’ and ‘what’s your name?’ ” The fraternity members work with the students on life skills such as buying groceries, washing clothes and making change. One of the special needs parents wrote a blog comment on the story section on the WLFI TV-18’s Web page.

“These wonderful Purdue students volunteer every day at Jeff High School’s special education classes for low-incidence disabilities,” she wrote. “They are terrific! We appreciate their generosity.” The same parent sent an email to the chapter, too. She wrote: “My husband and I are just bowled over by your generous donation to my daughter’s classroom. Of course, even more impressive is your day-to-day volunteering with students. You’ll never know how your presence adds to the enrichment of their daily lives. “I would also like to pay you a special compliment. She is my only child. If she’d had a brother, I would have wished for a Pi Kappa Phi, as clearly you are as good as they come.” As a portion of its coverage of the school board meeting, the local TV station featured the chapter’s partnership. It can be seen at: "


BIRTHS: Ethan Odell Clark, son of Janice and Matt Clark (Omega 1583). Sept. 16, 2009.

DEATHS: 371 Roland C. Sutton Jr. Nov. 17, 2009 542 William C. Bradshaw Oct. 12, 2009 1227 Edward A. Aleman Nov. 18, 2009 (complications following cancer treatments)

Ethan Clark

Amelia Leslie

Amelia Claire Leslie, daughter of Rebecca and Phil Leslie (Omega 1506). Dec. 26, 2009.

PURDUE UNIVERSITY al/local_wlfi_Lafayette_LSC_approve s_new_elementary_districts_20091109_rev1" The city newspaper also devoted a portion of its meeting coverage to the check presentation. A reader also commented on the newspaper article. “I think it’s really cool that a fraternity specifically chose a special needs classroom in which to volunteer and donate. Kudos to them!”

Robbie Staton plays ball with a special needs student.

Ohio Sept. 19, 2009 Mike Child (Omega 1582) and Joellen Hodge, Michigan City, IN Oct. 3, 2009 Tom Bentley (Omega 1436) and Beth Stone, Chicago, IL Oct. 24, 2009

MARRIAGES: Zach Isbell (Omega 1634) and Brooke Kingsley, Glen Allen, VA Sept. 6, 2009 Kent Weatherwax (Omega 1545) and Kelly Franczkowski, Akron,

Mr. & Mrs. Isbell

Mr.&Mrs. Weatherwax

John Cimino (Omega 1379) and Nancy Bartik, Chicago, IL Sept. 19, 2009 Eric Fobes (Omega 1607) and Amanda Ahrenholtz Aug. 29, 2009

Mr. & Mrs. Child

Mr. & Mrs. Fobes


MARCH 2010

2009 Annual Giving Report $1,000 OR MORE 376 Robert Swartz 462 John Gaydos $500 280 464 722 1031 1366 1488


$999 William H. Hundhenk Robert A. Rust Jack Berlien Mark Higgins Jeff Tang Brent Wunderlich

$100 TO $499 295 William Swager 289 Clark S. Armstrong 316 Harold Schweiger 325 Grafton Houston 355 William Swager 420 Clark Thornton 436 Richard H. Lowe 448 Kelley Carr 478 Richard A. Smith 506 James D. Jackson 509 Duane M. Davis 517 Richard Wingard 520 Al Kirchner 522 David Griffiths 571 John L. Weaver 580 Larry Reed 621 Hugh Flanagan 629 E.D. Gruwell Jr 632 James O'Reilly 643 Bob Griffiths 672 Ron Lema 706 Gerard Buente 819 Jim Berlien 827 Phil Newhouse 835 David Lane 852 Kim Tubergen 858 Bernard Platt 951 Greg Linder 975 Jeff Gates 1017 Bruce Halley 1030 Lars Kneller 1197 Pat Kuhnle 1286 Mike Porter 1251 Dan Coppersmith 1312 Brent Peacock 1367 Matt Bouma 1461 Kevin Johnson 1554 Justin Hubbert 1591 Brandon Delia 1659 Brian Heiwig Psi William Newell

$50 TO 89 263 604 634 733 736 751 769 842 862 994 1077 1272 1222 1277 1401 1405 1443 1459 1516

$99 Herman G. Riggs Rolund De Hoog Anthony Terlep David F. Davis William Kanouse John Anglin John Lovell Jay Hackleman Richard Widman R. Michael Little William M. McNichols Steve Bohner Todd Spaulding Chris Carrier Pat Lyons Porter Draper Jim Taller Dustin Zufall Nathan Damasius Bob Kramer

$25 TO 286 385 399 596 636 664 727 738 1374 1376 1423

$49 Donald C. Adams William MacBeth Eldon Knuth Jerry Davee Fred Lyijynen Michael Cornick David R. Davis E. Neil Jay Lars McCain Mark Simmonds John Reidelbach

UP TO $24 838 Mark Laurent 588 Hilton Henry 1429 Jason Morin OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS TO CIF IN MEMORY OF EARL BOHNER 1031 Mark Higgins 1197 Pat Kuhnle HONARARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO CIF Psi Bill Newell in honor of Pat Kuhnle ALUMNI PUSH AMERICA DONATIONS 355 William Swager 509 Duane Davis 629 Edwin Gruwell

PURDUE UNIVERSITY 751 1031 1142 1197 1272 1450 1488 1624

John Lovell Mark Higgins Brian Newell Pat Kuhnle Todd Spaulding Andy Parker Brent Wunderlich Adam Poor

The Omega of Pi Kappa Phi, Inc. housing corporation received 114 gifts during 2009 for $13,093. The breakdown of gifts included: $3,334 Mortgage reduction $3,174 Non-designated $2,950 Chapter improvements $1,535 Omegalite publication $1,375 CIF account $725 Chapter Push fund raising Mortgage reduction donations were applied to the principle. The mortgage balance as of 12/31/09 was $162,142.13. The 24-year mortgage matures in 2016. We are paying 6.0 percent interest. The interest is based on the 3-year treasury index with a 2.75 point margin. The next 3-year adjustment is due in June 2010. Non-designated gifts are applied at the discretion of the housing corporation and are used to supplement publication of the Omegalite. A total of $2,606.13 was used for alumni mailing costs during 2009. Non-designated funds are also added to chapter improvement donations used on the chapter house for summer projects. During 2009, $32,244.47 was spent on improvements as well as repair & maintenance. The largest single cost was $19,182 for kitchen cooking equipment replacement. Other expenses included: HVAC maintenance ($4,757.21), window repairs ($3,496.75, which included some weatherstriping replacements), tree removal and trimming ($2,250), general maintenance ($2,078.51) and kitchen fire suppression system improvements ($480). Undergraduate rent as well as alumni donations fund the corporation’s anual budget.