News In Brief

Invoice enclosed

arthur hoyt was comfortable enough teaching chemistry at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway that he stayed on for 23 years, until his retirement. But now he's a bit miffed at his ex-employer. It seems an envelope arrived with his mail recently, containing a form and yet another envelope - this one self-addressed and bearing first-class postage. UCA, it turns out, was billing him for the 69 cents it overpaid in taxes on his life insurance policy. But affixed to each of the two envelopes was a 33-cent stamp, meaning that the school already had spent all but three cents of the amount it said he owed. And that didn't count the cost of the labor or paper it took to prepare and print the bill. "Absolutely ludicrous," sniffed Hoyt. Well, perhaps, UCA officials conceded, but federal and state law still required that the collection effort be made.

Hondas, Toyotas were cars of choice for thieves in '98

Last year, for the first time, the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the US were all Toyotas and Hondas, according to Chicago-based CCC Information Services Inc., which tracks trends in theft and vehicle-damage claims for the insurance industry. The good news for owners of all makes is that claims for major vehicle thefts were down about 22 percent in 1998. The CCC's Jack Rozint credits law-enforcement agencies and auto manufacturers for the improvement - the agencies for focusing more on stolen-car parts, and the makers for marking more parts with identification numbers, making stolen parts easier to trace. The most-frequently stolen vehicles last year, followed (in parentheses) by the rank each held in 1997:

1. 1989 Toyota Camry (1)

2. 1988 Toyota Camry (5)

3. 1990 Toyota Camry (3)

4. 1994 Honda Accord EX (2)

5. 1990 Honda Accord EX (7)

6. 1997 Toyota Corolla (not previously ranked)

7. 1992 Honda Accord LX (20)

8. 1995 Honda Accord EX (4)

9. 1991 Toyota Camry (8)

10. 1996 Honda Accord EX (19)

- Associated Press

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