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OFFICES MAY BE EERILY EMPTY THIS AFTERNOON

It could get lonely at the office this afternoon. Two-thirds of parents admit they sneak out of work early on Halloween to take kids trick-or-treating, according to a survey conducted for the Four Points Sheraton hotel chain. Three out of four rearrange their business travel to be home to escort their little ghosts and goblins, the survey reports.

Walter Industries doubles its profit

Walter Industries Inc., a Tampa producer and exporter of metallurgical coal for the steel industry, doubled its net income in the third quarter, the company reported this week. "Our natural resources business generated outstanding results," said Michael Tokarz, Walter Industries' chairman. The company reported net income of $55-million, or 97 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, compared with $24.4-million, or 46 cents per diluted share, for the year-earlier quarter. Earnings would have been $1.27 per share if it weren't for a steep decline in Walter's financing and home-building unit due to the deteriorating market, and charges totaling $21.3-million. The Natural Resources & Sloss group had revenue of $322.2-million in the third quarter, a 61.2 percent increase.

Tampa port boss gets $7,350 bonus

Tampa's port director will get a nice bonus check after his bosses on the Tampa Port Authority board rated his performance as outstanding last week. The $7,350 "performance incentive award" for Richard Wainio represents 3 percent of his $245,000 base salary. A revision to the incentive program that went into effect two years ago made the awards a one-time bonus instead of adding them to port authority employee annual salaries.

Boatmaker plans to cut production

Boat manufacturer Chris-Craft Corp. announced Thursday that it will shut down full assembly production at its Manatee facility this holiday season. The company notified about 200 workers that it will stagger manufacturing shifts during the six weeks starting Thanksgiving week, according to the Bradenton Herald. The company could not guarantee that it would return to pre-Thanksgiving production or that employees would still have work in the new year. "We certainly plan to; that's the hope," said Meghan Stout, director of marketing for Chris-Craft. Two months ago, the company laid off 40 workers in Manatee County and 40 at its North Carolina plant.

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