Long Gulch auction put off to Feb. 15
Friday's planned auction of the troubled Long Gulch property near Groveland was postponed to next month. Meanwhile, a new development plan has been proposed -- 2,400 mobile homes on 743 acres, rather than 372 conventional homes on 1,158 acres. Both plans call for recreation and open space as well. Project spokesman Dan Levin could not be reached for comment on the new plan or on the status of the auction. The sale was to be held because of unpaid debts related to the Ferretti Road project. The auction was delayed by mutual agreement of the parties involved, said David Absher, owner of the Modesto auction company handling the sale. The auction is now set for 3:30 p.m. Feb. 15 on the steps of the Tuolumne County Courthouse, 41 W. Yaney Ave., Sonora.
Oil pushes up deficit
The U.S. trade deficit in November rose to the highest level in 14 months, reflecting record foreign crude oil prices. The deficit with China declined slightly, while the weak dollar boosted exports to another record high. The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit, the gap between imports and exports, jumped 9.3 percent, to $63.1 billion. The imbalance was much larger than the $60 billion that had been expected. The increase was driven by a 16.3 percent rise in America's foreign oil bill.
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Gold hits $900.10
Gold futures briefly rose above $900 an ounce Friday for the first time as high oil prices, a weak dollar and fears of a U.S. recession led 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. Gold later slipped to $898.70 an ounce on profit-taking but remained in record territory.
Consumer confidence fell as worries about jobs, energy bills and home foreclosures darkened people's feelings about the country's economic health and their own financial well-being. According to the RBC Cash Index, confidence tumbled to a mark of 56.3 in early January. That compares with a reading of 65.9 in December -- against a benchmark of 100 -- and was the worst since the index began in 2002.
Consumer Reports has come up with some practical advice on how to complain effectively when there's a problem with a product or service.