Scottsdale seeking to acquire trust land

PHOENIX - Scottsdale wants to acquire nearly 4,000 acres of state trust land in the far northern area of the city.

The Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission is working to prioritize a list of state land parcels that have long been sought for conservation.

Scottsdale Preserve director Kroy Ekblaw says the city's first priority this year is to buy a 2,400-acre parcel of state trust land in the McDowell Mountains southwest of the Bell Road and 136th Street alignments.

The parcel will be sold at public auction. A city sales tax provides funding to buy preserve land.

NAU investigates payments to firm

FLAGSTAFF - Northern Arizona University police are investigating payments that the university's post office made to a security company owned by the university's now-retired postmaster.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports that Ed Talley retired earlier this year shortly after the investigation began.

Officials say the investigation began when a new accounting software program spotted suspicious payments for security.

University spokesman Tom Bauer says investigators are trying to determine how much money was paid to the security company and how long payments were made.

Talley and his attorney would not comment. Talley had run the school's post office since 1977.


Consumer price rise driven by gas spike

A spike in gas prices drove a measure of U.S. consumer costs up in February by the most in more than three years. But outside the gain in fuel costs, inflation was mostly modest.

The consumer price index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent last month from January, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. It was the biggest monthly rise since June 2009.

Still, three-fourths of the increase in the index reflected a 9.1 percent surge in gas prices. That was also the largest monthly gain since June 2009. Gas prices had fallen in the previous four months. Since last month's increase, gas prices have started to fall.

Strong auto output boosts factory production

A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production last month, the latest sign that manufacturing is helping to drive economic growth after lagging for much of 2012.

Factory output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in February from January, after falling 0.3 percent in the previous month, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

Fund pays to settle insider trading charges

Hedge fund CR Intrinsic Investors will pay more than $600 million in what federal regulators are calling the largest insider trading settlement ever.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged the firm with insider trading in 2012, alleging that a portfolio manager illegally obtained confidential details about an Alzheimer's drug trial from a doctor before the final results went public and made trades from that information. The SEC said Friday the fund neither admits nor denies wrongdoing.

The Associated Press