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3492.00 105.75 6.83

-22.69 +0.65 +0.01

DOW FALLS. Uncertainty about the economy's strength and the president's budget proposals helped push the market to a mixed finish Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 22.69 to 3,492.00.

Tampa Bay/State

Tampa editor leaves

for Idaho newspaper

Times Tampa editor John Costa on Tuesday was named executive editor of the Idaho Statesman, a Gannett Co. newspaper in Boise, Idaho.

"We're really excited about the prospect of having somebody of John's caliber come work with us and help us be all that we can be," said Statesman publisher Gordon Black. Executive editor is the top newsroom position at the newspaper, which has a circulation of 63,300 daily and 83,570 Sunday.

Costa, 49, joined the Times staff 20 years ago as a reporter and has been a senior editor in St. Petersburg and Pasco County, as well as in Tampa. He recently returned from a journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Times executive editor Paul Tash said Costa's contributions will be missed, but the search for his replacement already has begun.

"Our efforts to improve the newspaper we deliver to readers in Tampa will go forward without interruption," Tash said.

USAA TO RAISE RATES. USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Co. said it plans by October to raise rates in Florida to homeowners by an average of 30 percent and condominium owners by an average of 20 percent, and require higher $1,000 deductibles in higher-risk areas. For policyholders in Pinellas County and coastal counties to the south, rates would rise by as much as 49 percent. With 100,000 homeowner policies in the state, USAA also plans to do away with its guaranteed replacement coverage on its "Home Replacement Plus" policies. Instead, the company will pay up to 25 percent more than the amount of coverage set in each policy. The changes require approval of the Florida Department of Insurance. USAA holds 4 percent of the homeowners insurance market in the state and sells policies only to military officers and their dependents. The Texas-based company said it does not plan to cancel or not renew current policyholders.

COMCENTRAL GETS CONTRACT. ComCentral Corp. of Tampa said it has received a contract to provide operator long-distance services to the Jockey Club of Las Vegas, a time-share complex with 14,000 members. The company said the contract is worth $300,000 over two years. ComCentral, a long-distance company, said it signed the agreement with J.D. Manufacturing, a Nevada company representing the club.

ECKERD REFINANCING COMPLETED. Jack Eckerd Corp. has closed on a $950-million debt restructuring that will save the Clearwater-based drugstore chain up to $35-million in annual interest costs. Chemical Bank and NationsBank were lead underwriters in the deal, which was spread among 11 other banks. Eckerd's long-term debt will remain at about $1.1-billion, but the savings came by calling early many of the high-interest junk bonds that were used to finance a management-led buyout in 1986.

MINORITY AGENCY GETS CONTRACT. The Gothard Group, a Miami-based minority-owned public relations and advertising agency, has won Florida's tourism advertising account for the African-American market, it was announced Tuesday. The Gothard Group received unanimous approval from a panel of tourism industry leaders from across the state.

CUSTOMERS CONSIDER OPTIONS. Some Beacon Homes customers and subcontractors are considering trying to push the builder into involuntary bankruptcy to get back money they say they are owed, said Roger Biver. He is one of several distraught Beacon Homes customers forming a support group that will meet for the first time Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Pasco County Library's Hudson branch on Fivay Road. Beacon Homes owner Clyde Hoeldtke Jr. announced in March that he was going out of business after struggling with financial problems that left at least 40 customers' homes unfinished.


INFLATION FEARS EASE. The cost of living barely budged in May, bringing smiles at the White House and prompting one economist to declare, "The inflation scare is over." The Labor Department said Tuesday that the 0.1 percent rise in consumer prices last month reflected the biggest drop in gasoline prices in more than two years and moderation in other areas including housing, clothing and cars. But food costs, driven higher by a 48 percent surge in tomato prices, took another leap upward. So did medical costs, which are still rising faster than any other sector of the economy, and tuition prices.