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Higher lead prices help boost earnings at Hecla

Fri., Nov. 9, 2007

Forget silver. The humble mineral lead played the starring role in Hecla Mining Co.’s third quarter earnings report.

Lead is an important byproduct of silver mining at Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine in North Idaho and the Greens Creek Mine in Alaska. Over the past year, lead prices doubled to trade at an average of $1.07 per pound.

Phil Baker, Hecla’s president and CEO, cited higher metals prices in general for helping Hecla post third quarter income of $12.4 million. During the third quarter of 2006, Hecla’s income was $900,000.

Silver prices jumped 17 percent this year to trade at an average of $13.12 per ounce. Gold prices increased 11 percent to $666 per ounce. But lead was the real mover. At current production levels, a 50-cent-per-pound increase in the price of lead over the course of a year could mean $20 million in additional revenue for Hecla, according to company officials.


Red Lion earnings jump

Red Lion Hotels Corp. reported improved third quarter income of $7.1 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with income of $1.5 million, or 7 cents per share, during the third quarter of 2006.

During the third quarter, Red Lion’s revenue per available room increased by nearly 10 percent. The average daily room rate increased 5 percent to $95.

Arthur Coffey, Red Lion’s president and CEO, listed the start of a $10 million stock repurchase program as one of the company’s accomplishments during the third quarter. He also mentioned the company’s 100-year lease of a hotel in Anaheim, Calif., for $8 million.


Airport concessions honored

Spokane’s airport won first prizes in three categories in the 2007 Airport Council International concessions contest.

Spokane’s recently redesigned rotunda and its facilities were honored for best food and beverage program, for best specialty retail program and for overall retail offerings, said Airport Council International-North America.

The food and beverage award singles out a terminal or concourse for its mix, quality, brands and variety of food service choices. The specialty retail program award recognizes a small airport terminal or concourse for variety and quality of services. The third award was for best convenience retail program.

All those awards were in the ACI small airport categories.


Toys get place on top shelf

To celebrate the toys inducted Thursday in the National Toy Hall of Fame, hug a red-haired doll, grab a single-button joystick – or go fly a kite.

Raggedy Andy, the Atari 2600 video game system and the kite were chosen for entry into the Strong National Museum of Play’s all-star lineup, joining the bicycle, Lionel model trains, Mr. Potato Head and 33 other classic playthings.

In 1977, Atari converted a television set, for good or bad, into a toy. While it wasn’t the first home video game system, it popularized the fledgling electronic games genre with its bright colors, catchy music and pop-in cartridge versions of arcade favorites such as Pac-Man, Frogger and Space Invaders.

The game system is the most recently invented member of the hall.

The kite, believed to have originated in China almost 3,000 years ago, is among the oldest.


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