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Kake land swap bill signed
JUNEAU - President Clinton has signed a bill authorizing a land swap between the U.S. Forest Service and Kake Tribal Corp., said Sam Jackson, president and CEO of the Kupreanof Island Native corporation.
Jackson was notified Wednesday that the bill had become law. Clinton actually signed it Friday.
The bill makes it possible for Kake Tribal to receive $5 million in federal funds, although a separate appropriations measure also must be passed by Congress. The cash flow will jump-start the corporation's work on a reorganization plan to take it out of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy action.
"Management is working diligently on that right now," Jackson said. The plan should be ready for board approval in early November, and will be submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Anchorage by the Nov. 17 deadline, he said.
Kake Tribal is about $15 million in debt, although the sale of some timber land to Sealaska this year paid off about $700,000 that was due to creditors, Jackson said. In general, the corporation and its subsidiaries "stabilized operations" this year and are poised for a turnaround, he said.
Native vets land bill on the move
FAIRBANKS - Descendants of Alaska Natives who died in the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1972 could apply for a land grant in the deceased veterans' names under legislation that surfaced on the U.S. House floor.
The bill is a scaled-back version of a proposal introduced earlier this session by Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican. It was opposed by the Clinton administration, but the version that emerged Tuesday has the administration's support.
Alaska Natives killed in the war prior to 1972 did not have an equal opportunity to apply for a 160-acre allotment, Assistant Secretary of the Interior John Berry said in a letter to Young. Their descendants should be able to apply for allotments in recognition of this fact, he said.
The Native allotment program began in 1906. It closed at the end of 1971 when Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
That means soldiers killed between Aug. 5, 1964, the official start of the war, and Dec. 31, 1971, could be considered to have missed their opportunity to file an allotment application by virtue of their military service, Berry said. That, however, was the only concession the Interior Department was willing to make on the issue. And that's what the new bill reflects.
The measure is greatly changed from the original version, which Alaska Natives supported during a House Resources Committee hearing Young chaired in Washington in June. Young's original bill would have allowed all Alaska Native veterans of the Vietnam era to apply for an allotment if they had not done so when the program was open. It also would have allowed their descendants the same right.
Justice conference set for ANB Hall
JUNEAU - Community justice will be the topic of a state-sponsored conference all day Friday at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.
Anne Seymour, a national expert on victim-related issues, will deliver the keynote address and lead a discussion on crime and community relationships. The event lasts from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and is free.
Community justice is a way of viewing, understanding and responding to crime and the effects it has on victims, communities and offenders.
More information is available from Lori Varick, Department of Corrections, at (907) 269-7377.
Consumer protection info available
JUNEAU - Alaskans have a new resource for information on a wide variety of consumer protection issues from dealing with mail order companies to buying used cars to protecting against telephone fraud to filing consumer complaints, Attorney General Bruce Botelho announced.
The Department of Law Consumer Protection Unit recently unveiled its new Webpage at www.law.state.ak.us/consumer/in-dex.html.
"This online resource allows us to reach out to help Alaskans, to make the best use of our limited consumer protection resources to share information from the state, the federal government and many other consumer organizations, with them," Botelho said. "Helping consumers to protect themselves and their own interests is vital, particularly in this age of electronic commerce."
Links reach from the Consumer Protection Webpage to dozens of state and federal consumer information and protection agencies. In addition, consumers can find out through the Webpage whether a particular telemarketer or charitable organization is registered with the Alaska Department of Law, as required by law.