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"I didn't do anything wrong. I did everything I could to comply with the law. I feel good about it."

---President Clinton, after Attorney General Janet Reno extended her probe into his campaign fund-raisingEDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top


EVER SINCE THE NEWS BROKE on Oct. 4 that President Clinton, 51, was getting a hearing aid, ear doctors have seen a surge in business--especially from other baby boomers who had been reluctant to admit that they suffered from an infirmity of the aged.

HEARx, one of America's largest distributors of hearing aids, reported a 90% jump in sales in the week after Clinton's announcement, plus a 50% increase in appointments at its clinics. Other providers, such as Miracle Ear and Beltone, also have seen hefty hikes.

Because of the Clinton factor, the trade group Hearing Industries Assn. expects this robust growth to be more than a temporary phenomenon. When Ronald Reagan, then 72, got a hearing aid in 1983, there was a 30% sales rise. In recent years, though, sales have advanced at a single-digit pace (up 5.2% in 1996 and up 9% in the first half of 1997). Although an estimated 26 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, a mere 6 million of them wear hearing devices.

One typical hearing-impaired baby boomer in denial: Lemma Daniels, 49, of Sunrise, Fla., who had in the past canceled five hearing appointments. But Clinton's announcement made her reluctance evaporate. Says Daniels: "If he doesn't feel bad about it, why should I?"EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Jennifer RiveraReturn to top


YOU THINK YOUR PROPERTY taxes are high? Consider Dell Computer Chief Michael Dell. After being slapped with a $600,000 tax bill for his nearly complete castle in Austin, Tex., Dell sued to have the assessment overturned. He contends that his three-story, 33,000-square-foot complex--with an eight-bedroom main house, indoor lap pool, exercise room, and conference room--is worth only $5.5 million to $6.5 million, his estimate of its resale value. Travis County tax officials figure construction costs are upward of $45 million, even in its incomplete state.

Dell's gripe: No county officials visited the property. Instead, they made construction estimates based on available descriptions. Officials say they were denied access, despite repeated requests, to the 60-acre estate. Dell's lawyer says he's arranging to get assessors onto the site.

Chief Appraiser Art Cory says that if the case goes to trial, he's hoping to get help from his counterparts in Cook County, Wash., home of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Gates similarly filed a protest to the $53 million assessment of his 40,000-square-foot lakefront house after getting his own annual bill for $600,000. But he recently dropped his complaint.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Gary McWilliamsReturn to top


TEST ANXIETY COULD BE particularly acute this fall for thousands of business-school applicants. They face delays in taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test, which is now given only on special computer terminals. People must make appointments for available computer time at the 470 test sites worldwide.

But the Educational Testing Service says that it underestimated the test-taker demand in such cities as New York. The situation is even worse in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe: In Moscow, the wait for a test date is four months.

For would-be MBAs, the result is a big headache. Many have been told to find other test centers or make a later appointment. Fred Gross, 25, a currency options trader, couldn't get a date in Manhattan until November, so he's trekking 35 miles to Verona, N.J., to do it this month.

ETS assures computer test-takers that their results will be back in time for January application deadlines. You find out your score right after you finish, but getting certified results sent to admissions officers takes two weeks. The ETS is trying to remedy the shortages by shipping extra computers and by extending the hours at test sites.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT Carol Matlack and Nadav EnbarReturn to top

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