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Ex-anchor to drop in on Moscow July 4th bash

A former television news anchor will celebrate the fall of communism with a fall of his own next month in Moscow.

As part of a July Fourth party in Russia, former anchor Arch Deal plans to skydive over the capital with five Russian cohorts and land in Moscow's Olympic Center.

"The Russians are really getting into Levi's and McDonald's and so forth," said Deal, who was an anchor on WFLA-Ch. 8 in 1957-75 and WLCY-Ch. 10 in 1975-77. "Now they're celebrating even the Fourth of July."

Deal, who retired last year as traffic reporter for WRBQ-FM 104.7, does promotional work for Miller Brewing Co.

The event, during which Deal will carry a Russian flag, is a promotion for Miller, which sells its products in Russia through Tampa-based distributor First Republic.

First Republic is working with the Moscow Business Journal and the American Business Center in Moscow to sponsor the party, which will include Texas-style barbecue and country music, said First Republic president Rick Grajirena.

About 6,000 people are expected to attend the celebration, which will cost about $15,000, he said.

Journal chairman Bill Ellis said the party is aimed at Americans. "We're getting a pretty good size population of American business people in Moscow."

Deal, 61, made headlines in 1975 when he fell 3,000 feet after his parachute failed to open at a Cypress Gardens jump. He has made more than 4,000 jumps since then.