State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2001

Sweepstakes settlement coming to Alaska

ANCHORAGE - Some Alaskans are eligible for restitution as part of the settlement of a multistate lawsuit against Reader's Digest.

Alaska was one of 32 states alleging Reader's Digest sweepstakes mailings gave people the false impression that they could increase their chance of winning by buying something.

Alaska will receive $75,000 for consumer protection, antitrust investigation and enforcement and consumer education. The state also received $16,783 in restitution funds for individuals, part of $6 million split among the states. Alaskans who spent $2,500 or more in fiscal years 1998, 1999 or 2000 will get a letter asking whether they would like a refund.

"They just have to respond, saying 'yes, we would like it,' and they'll receive it," said Julia Coster at the state attorney general's office.

Eligible Alaskans can expect the letter at the end of the year, she said.

Private prison could go to Kenai voters

KENAI The Alaska Legislature has given its blessing to a private prison on the Kenai Peninsula, but at least one member of the Kenai Borough Assembly thinks peninsula voters should weigh in on whether the borough should be involved.

Pete Sprague wants to put the issue on the ballot in October as an advisory vote. The final decision rests with the nine members of the borough assembly.

Legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Chenault, a Nikiski Republican, and on the governor's desk, authorizes the Alaska Department of Corrections to enter into a lease agreement with the Kenai Peninsula Borough for an 800- to 1,000-bed medium-security private prison.

The Legislature's actions fall in line with steps already taken by the borough, which include a contractual agreement with a team headed by Cornell Corrections to plan and promote the project. Sprague's was the only vote opposing that contract.

"I'm not dead set against the project," said Sprague, who represents the Soldotna area. "I just want to see everything out there before I make a final decision on it. I would like to know what the people of the borough think about it. I believe the issue is big enough that people need the opportunity to speak to it."

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