Northwest Digest

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2007

KTOO to launch new stations today

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JUNEAU - KTOO-FM will officially launch its two new stations - KRNN-FM and KXLL-FM - at 5 p.m. today.

The public is welcome to attend a gala reception at the studio, 360 Egan Drive, starting at 4:30. The party will go on the air live at 4:50 p.m. with an introductory ceremony.

Three KTOO members will be randomly chosen to push an "on-air button" to launch each of the KTOO stations.

KTOO News will be at 104.3 FM, Rain Country Radio (KRNN) will take 102.7 and Excellent Radio (KXLL) will inhabit 100.7.

Waldenbooks to close three Alaska stores

ANCHORAGE - Three of five Waldenbooks stores in Alaska are closing this month.

The closures are part of the parent company's plan to shed its money-losing mall-based outlets and focus on its profitable Borders superstores.

The stores in Anchorage's Northway and 5th Avenue malls and the Bentley Mall in Fairbanks will close Jan 26., said Ann Binkley, a spokeswoman for Borders Group Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Binkley said the company has no plans to shut its other two Alaska Waldenbooks stores. Those stores are in the Plaza mall in Ketchikan and in the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla.

The Wasilla mall's new owner, however, is expected to redevelop the place, leaving the status of its current tenants unclear.

The Alaska store closings are part of a downsizing that has occurred over several years. Closures typically are announced in January, when lease renewals come due, according to Binkley.

Waldenbooks arrived in Alaska in the 1980s and had as many as seven stores in the state by the mid-1990s, including four in Anchorage. The Borders Books and Music store on Dimond Boulevard went up in 1994.

The company decided that profits from the Northway and Fifth Avenue mall stores aren't large enough to justify the expense of keeping them open, Binkley said. The company will focus instead on improving the Borders store, which carries a much larger inventory.

There is no Borders store in Fairbanks. The company wanted to keep the Waldenbooks store there open but the mall's managers chose not to renew the lease, Binkley said.

Judge allows class action in Costco case

SEATTLE - A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Costco Wholesale Corp. of denying promotions to women.

Under the order from U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, the class will include women who have been denied promotions to certain senior staff or management positions at Costco since Jan. 3, 2002. Former employees also are included.

The named plaintiffs - Shirley Rae Ellis, Leah Horstman and Elaine Sasaki - worked at Costco warehouses in Colorado and California. They claim the company was quicker to promote less-qualified men and refused to give proper notice of advancement opportunities.

Ellis, who had worked as a Costco assistant manager since 1998, also alleges the company retaliated against her initial complaint to federal regulators, including a "disadvantageous warehouse transfer."

The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages, including back pay. They also want Costco to change its job posting practices and institute an affirmative action policy for women.

Costco has denied the claims. Its lawyers referred requests for comment to the company, but officials did not immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press on Thursday.

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco, the nation's largest wholesale club operator, employs more than 78,000 full- and part-time workers at its U.S. stores.

Tribes sue over trust fund management

BOISE, Idaho - Indian tribes have filed a class action against the federal government asking it to account for billions of dollars held in tribal trusts.

The lawsuit is the latest legal challenge to the government's handling of American Indian trust money, which tribal representatives contend has been shoddy and inadequate.

The Native American Rights Fund, a Boulder, Colo.-based nonprofit law firm, is seeking to represent about 240 tribal governments that have trust accounts with the United States.

The government holds about 1,600 trust fund accounts for more than 300 tribes. Their total worth is estimated at about $3 billion.

The funds - some of which date back to the 1800s - contain money awarded to tribes from judgments against the United States for unlawful appropriation of American Indian lands.



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