Alaska Digest

staff and Wire reports

Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Kmart to sell stores to Home Depot

JUNEAU - Kmart Holding Corp. has signed agreements with The Home Depot Inc. to sell up to 24 stores, but it is unclear whether they include stores in Juneau and Kenai.

Home Depot, which bought the stores for $365 million in cash, has not named the locations of the Kmart stores, Home Depot Spokesman Don Harrison said.

Harrison said the company could not provide a timeframe on when the locations would be disclosed. The company often makes acquisition announcements singularly or in small groups, he said.

Bill makes it easier to become an organ donor

JUNEAU - Registering to become an organ donor will require only a simple step at the state Division of Motor Vehicles after a bill passed unanimously by the Legislature becomes law.

Until now, Alaskans who wanted to register as potential donors had to go to the DMW and fill out handwritten forms. The other option was going online, downloading a form and mailing it in, said Erin Hall Meade, with Life Alaska Donor Services, which organizes donor registration and organ and tissue recovery in the state.

The new bill, sponsored by Rep. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, will get rid of this paperwork. When a driver goes to the DMV to renew or get a new license, the person at the counter will ask the driver if he wants to be an organ and tissue donor. Saying yes is all that's necessary.

Gov. Frank Murkowski plans to sign House Bill 337 on Wednesday, said John Manly, his press secretary. The law will go into effect 90 days later.

Meade hopes the law will boost the number of Alaskans who consent to be organ donors at the time of death.

"We have over 60,000 people on the registry right now," she said. Life Alaska's goal, she said, is to register 600,000 Alaskans, or almost everyone in the state.

EPA reissues permit for Valdez treatment plant

ANCHORAGE - Environmental regulators have reissued a permit to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. for a treatment plant at Valdez Marine Terminal, but will require additional testing of the ballast waste from oil tankers using the port.

Environmental Protection Agency officials said Tuesday the ballast water treatment facility meets the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.

However, the permit does not address a request by an industry watchdog group for tighter controls on the treatment plant when it comes to air pollution.

The petition filed by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council claims the plant is discharging hazardous air pollutants.

Stevens' assets did well in 2003

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, once one of the poorest members of the Senate, fared well financially last year, according to his annual disclosure form.

Stevens' financial portfolio remained strong in 2003 with assets at between $1.4 million and $3 million, with about half in Alaska real estate.

Stevens' investment with Anchorage developers John Rubini and Leonard Hyde, who are involved in a number of ventures through their JL Properties Inc., has done extremely well. The $50,000 he invested in 1997 was worth $750,000 to $1.5 million last year.

Stevens is a partner in several of Rubini and Hyde's projects in Anchorage, including an office building leased to Arctic Slope Regional Corp. Stevens reported that his investment in that building declined by $47,000 last year, to no more than $250,000.

But his investment in another Rubini-Hyde venture, the Jillian Square Apartments in Fairbanks, increased substantially. Last year, Stevens reported that his share of the 356-unit complex was worth no more than $50,000. In the latest report, Stevens valued his portion of Jillian Square at $100,000 to $250,000.

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