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Saturday, January 1, 2005

Big Unit headed for New York
NEW YORK (AP) - Randy Johnson finally appears headed to New York. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Yankees reached a tentative agreement Thursday on a deal to send the Big Unit to the Bronx for pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, young catcher Dioner Navarro and $9 million, a baseball official said.

Many peaks and some personal valleys mark a daunting quest
Editor's note: At this time of year when many ponder resolutions, an Associated Press writer reflects on a challenge she set herself and what its pursuit cost her.

Patriotic art judges appreciated
We would like to express sincere thanks and appreciation to three ladies who volunteered to serve as judges for this year's Creative Patriotic Art program sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jerry V. Horn Memorial Post No. 10046. Nadine Gavett, Pearl Burton and Mary Lane viewed and rated the entries on patriotic expression, content and design using a standard point system used nationally. The winning entry will be forwarded on to state competition.

Agrium's closure presents opportunities for bold action
The announcement that Agrium will close its North Kenai plant in November is bad news, but presents opportunities for bold action. Closure of the plant will be bad for all of Alaska, not just the Kenai area.

Christmas Bird Count slated
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will be host to bird counters for the 105th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Sunday. Anyone interested in participating should meet at Kaladi Brothers in Soldotna between 8:30 and 9 a.m. with binoculars and bird identification book. Bird counters will count every bird they spot.

Year of mixed blessings
For better or worse, 2005 was a year of transition on the Kenai Peninsula, and the major news stories reflected that. As is often the case, good news and bad news sometimes went hand-in-hand as area residents watched times, people and situations change before their eyes.

Growth in senior population causes community changes
As the number of seniors on the Kenai Peninsula increases, plans will have to be made to deal with the changing needs of an aging population. One of the first steps toward that goal was taken earlier this year, when ground was broken on a $49.9 million expansion project at Central Peninsula General Hospital.

Cabinet picks grab lobbyists' notice
WASHINGTON - Long before they start their new jobs, President Bush's Cabinet picks are getting close attention from lobbyists who follow the smallest moves from start to finish - even urging senators to ask specific questions at confirmation hearings.

Sunday's tragedy can spark giving, disaster readiness
The tsunami-earthquake tragedy that hit Indonesia and 11 other countries provides poignant fodder for two important goals for the New Year:

Around the Peninsula
Food bank closed todayFamily New Year's Eve party setFilipino Amer-Asian potluck plannedSoldotna chamber speakers changeVolleyball registration continues

Church Briefs
New Year's serviceWomen's Prayer Group

New book delves into world of Hasidic missionaries
NEW YORK - There are just 3,000 Jews living in Alaska's 570,374 square miles, but Yossi and Esty Greenberg are there to serve them - leading services, throwing Hanukkah parties, flying deep into the bush to train a young man for his bar mitzvah.

The three wise men and their most important gift
The wise men who came to Bethlehem bringing gifts to the newborn king are, without question, the most mysterious characters of Christmas.

Kenai Peninsula Cross-Country Ski Trails
Tsalteshi Trails - Located behind Skyview High School, with trail heads at the high school parking lot and on Kalifornsky Beach Road just across from the Soldotna Sports Center. Difficulty - Trails for all levels.

Ski trails are in very nice shape
The week started out snowing and blowing, but what was left behind - after groomers spent some time knocking down the drifts - are some nice cross-country skiing conditions.

Cal upset by Texas Tech at Holiday Bowl
SAN DIEGO - Maybe Mack Brown isn't such a villain, after all.

O'Neal wins in courtroom, on court
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jermaine O'Neal scored 31 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 96-83 win over the New Jersey Nets on Thursday night, just hours after a judge ruled that he didn't have to serve the final 10 games of a suspension.

Nikiski girls win at ACS tourney
The Nikiski High School girls basketball team posted a big win on the opening day of the Anchorage Christian Schools/Pepsi Invitational tournament, defeating Eielson 58-29 Thursday in Anchorage.

Past year provided plenty of highlights
Next week, the Kenai Peninsula sporting scene will plunge head-long into the 2005 schedule - basketball season tips off in earnest next weekend while hockey and cross-country skiing teams gear up for state championships.

Top-ranked Illinois stays unbeaten; Carolina, Wake Forest post wins
LAS VEGAS - Luther Head scored 18 points and shot 5-for-9 from 3-point range to lead No. 1 Illinois past Northwestern State 69-51 in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Thursday night.

Outdoor Briefs
Volunteers will help whale watchers spot winter migrationMore lynx kittens found as species reintroduced to Colorado

Christmas Bird Count slated for Sunday
Once again local birders from the Kenai-Soldotna area are invited to participate in the 105th Annual Christmas Bird Count to be held this Sunday.

Redpolls arriving early and in force in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS (AP) - The redpolls have arrived early and in force this year in Fairbanks. And, as usual, they're hungry.

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