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Business In brief: Web site lists biodiesel pumps

Sat., Jan. 12, 2008, midnight

Drivers looking for new regional biodiesel pumps recently announced by Blue Sun Biodiesel LLC can check out the company’s Web site.

The site,, lists tentative locations in several Inland Northwest cities. Westminster, Colo.-based Blue Sun last month announced plans to supply B20-grade biodiesel to 22 pumps through a partnership with Coleman Oil Co., of Lewiston, Idaho.

The first sites to get Blue Sun Fusion, a fuel the company says performs in cold weather, could include Lewiston; Sandpoint; Coeur d’Alene on Harrison Avenue; Post Falls on Seltice Way; and Sprague, Wash., said Randy Rutherford, Blue Sun’s regional manager. They should come online at a rate of about one a week over coming months, starting with Lewiston on Thursday, he said.

A pump in Wenatchee already is online, he said.

– Parker Howell


Gold futures top $900 an ounce

Gold futures briefly rose above $900 an ounce – an all-time high – before pulling back Friday as growing worries of a U.S. recession prompted uneasy investors to keep buying the precious metal.

An ounce of gold for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped $6.50 to $900.10 in morning trading, an all-time high and a psychologically important milestone. The precious metal later fell on profit-taking but still ended $4.10 higher to settle at $897.70 an ounce, a new closing record.

Gold also hit an all-time high of $897.30 on Thursday.

“It’s a reflection of market sentiment: Gold is a hedge against uncertainty, and right now it’s the best bet,” said Carlos Sanchez, a precious metals analyst at CPM Group in New York. “None of the other investment options looks that great and gold does.”

Still, when adjusted for inflation, gold remains well below its all-time high. An ounce of gold, which would have cost $875 in 1980, would be worth $2,115 to $2,200 today.

Gold has had a meteoric rise the past year – rising nearly 32 percent in 2007 – boosted by a falling dollar, rising prices for oil and other commodities, and increased Middle East instability. Those trends have lifted the metal’s appeal as a haven; gold is seen as a safe investment in times of political and economic uncertainty.

– Associated Press


City sues banks over lending practices

The city of Cleveland, an epicenter of the nation’s home foreclosure crisis, has sued 21 banks and claimed their subprime lending practices created a public nuisance that hurt property values and city tax collections.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and seeks to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, including lost taxes from devalued property and money spent demolishing and boarding up thousands of abandoned houses.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said Friday that the buying and selling of high-interest mortgages by some of the nation’s biggest banks had devastated neighborhoods struggling to recover from the loss of manufacturing jobs.

“We have to hold accountable those who are responsible,” Jackson said at a City Hall news conference.

Jackson compared the impact of the mortgage practices to the harm caused by drug dealing and said the motive was the same: profits.

The mayor said the city has faced skyrocketing foreclosure-related costs, including police and fire protection for abandoned homes, the expense of maintaining the properties and lost taxes.

The foreclosure crisis has been bad news for nearby homeowners and cities across the country because they lead to falling property values and increased crime.

– Associated Press

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