There's Gold In Them Thar Hills! (And I'm Digging For It)

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AP

Today, I'm a gold digger. Literally. I'm in gold country reporting on the "second gold rush." Would-be gazillionaires began descending on the mother lode country this year as gold prices rocketed.

Geologists say 80-90 percent of the gold is still in these hills, but the "easy gold" is gone.

What's left is harder to get--often microscopic gold--which is why it be some time before they reopen the old mines.

Holly Boitano at the Sutter Gold Mine says, "It takes $1,100 a foot to build a mine, which is why the price of gold has to be so high," to make re-opening feasible. Meantime, people are snapping up mining claims as if they're investment homes in Las Vegas two years ago. One old-timer told me, "Buyer beware."

But if you like history, getting outdoors, and doing something different, you might be able to pan enough gold around here these days to pay for your trip. And the National Hotel in Jamestown will soon start accepting gold as payment, just like the hotel did when it first opened in 1859. They have a scale, ready to go, but can't accept gold just yet. They have to wait to be licensed by the county Office of Weights and Measures. Didn't have those back 150 years ago.

Meantime, more email below over whether or not to bail out people facing foreclosure.

From David F.:
"This is a subject that many of us have discussed at the water cooler. It is a lot like the immigration issue, no real cut and dry answers. If my wife and I were to buy a home, and we went to a credible lender who told us to go get 20% down, file the proper credit papers, get the proper approvals, and be satisfied with a 6% or even 6.5% loan, then that is what we would have to do. And that is basically what we did 3 years ago. We did not take any shortcuts...Now if you were to tell me that my next door neighbor, who bought a two story house, went to a lender and either knowingly or unknowingly side stepped the proper systems, either to get a much lower payment, or a much larger house, either way, also knowingly or unknowingly saw their payments balloon several years later, why should they be allowed to bail out and I am forced to deal with what I have?...eventually, I will be stuck with the bill for helping this neighbor out, while he lived better than I did for the past few years."

From Burt F.:
"I think you are doing a service by voicing your readers' disgust of a taxpayer bailout for irresponsible lending and borrowing. The CNN informal poll showed a large majority against a taxpayer bailout. I am against it also. Still, I don't see a problem with the government brokering a deal between lender and borrower to avoid foreclosure, as long as the taxpayer is not taking the hit. The lender can contribute to the solution by lowering the balance and taking a loss that would not be more than the loss resulting from foreclosure. The borrower could pay for a longer period of time, thus paying more over the life of the extended loan, but being able to afford the lower monthly payments. It wouldn't work for everyone, but it would be a win-win for those who could afford such a plan."

Kevin K. responds to the post about the man facing foreclosure:
"So, the problem is that his home is now worth less than what he owes and he cannot refinance? I don't think so. The problem is the mortgage he chose. Because of the bad decision of this particular borrower, and many like him, I make less on my savings and my home is worth less. Real funny..."

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