Sunday, November 28, 2004

A's, Pirates officially complete Kendall trade
PITTSBURGH Jason Kendall was traded Saturday from Pittsburgh to Oakland, giving the Athletics one of baseball's best top-of-the-lineup hitters and most durable catchers and partly freeing the Pirates of their biggest financial burden.

'Designer' Christmas tree growers target holiday shoppers
AURORA, Ore. Joe Sharp has traveled the world but says he has never found a more perfect Christmas tree than in Oregon, the nation's largest producer in a $791 million industry and a leader in the effort to revive the holiday market for live trees facing tough competition from artificial versions.

Rising medical costs causing funding to be billions short
Runaway medical costs are largely responsible for the estimated $5 billion shortfall in state public employee and teacher retirement systems, according to Melanie Millhorn, director of the Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits.

Season greeted
The children of the Kenai Peninsula are some of the first children in the world visited by Santa this year and received 3 1/2 hours of his time Friday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

Funny River trailer burns
A trailer home in the Funny River area was destroyed by fire Wednesday evening. No one was injured in the blaze.

Retirement program debate getting old for governments
Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part story about the state's Public Employees Retirement System and the Teacher Retirement System, and the financial difficulties the state and Kenai Peninsula Borough are facing in funding them. Part two will appear in Monday's Clarion.

Wendy Jean 'Wendy Bill' Albertson
Longtime Kenai resident Wendy Jean "Wendy Bill" Albertson died Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2004, at her home unexpectedly. She was 35.

Politicians' well-meaning and not words often come back to bite them
WASHINGTON President Bush says politicians should say what they mean. But doing so can sometimes be an invitation to disaster, as Arlen Specter, John Kerry, John Snow and Bush himself can attest.

Between now and Christmas, presents limitless opportunities
And so it begins. Up until mid-afternoon Thursday, I still hadn't quite accepted the fact that the holidays were upon us. After all, the weather lately hasn't exactly been acting the part of a proper winter. In fact, I'd have to classify this patch of prolonged dreariness as more akin to the nuclear variety rather than anything worth conjuring up visions of sugar plums, etc.

Mega effort to recruit young Alaskans for big projects needed
The wise prepare for a storm, any storm, and they make plans to be out of harm's way when it's scheduled to hit.

Santa makes early visit to rural Alaska villages
VENETIE, Alaska Not a reindeer in sight, but six dogs hitched to a sled waited as the jolly round man descended from the C-130 transport plane, his red suit offering scant protection from the biting chill of Interior Alaska.

Around the Peninsula
Christmas cookies still availableCapitol move meeting plannedRemembrance celebration setHistorical society to meet

Family, friends matter most to man who's twice battled cancer
If ever there were a candidate for exemplifying the phrase "living on borrowed time," it would be Soldotna's Bob Summer.

Gifts for the globe trotter
NEW YORK Buying gifts for people who love to travel has never been simpler, thanks to the ease of Internet shopping, a burgeoning selection of specialty items and publications, and gift certificates that allow recipients to book an inn or spa when and where it's convenient for them. Here are some gift ideas to inspire you, from stocking stuffers to luxurious dreams come true.

Parents should keep safety in mind when considering toys
WASHINGTON Holiday shoppers should check toys by hand and avoid any with small parts that come off because children could choke on them, a consumer group said Tuesday in an annual warning about toy safety. The toy industry said education and constant monitoring of children at play can reduce the risk of injury and death from toys.

Leaving town? Call a pet sitter
KANSAS CITY, Mo. When Jim Amen retired two years ago from his career as a claims supervisor for State Farm Insurance, he looked for a way to stay busy.

My best friend
Colleen and Laine Lahndt of Kasilof found their dog, Riley, on an "Adopt A Friend" Web site. The rottweiler, shepard mix now is 5 months old and is gentle and sweet with a great disposition. The Lahndts say they couldn't ask for a better dog.

Mad River Glen: Skiing in Vermont on a trip back in time
WAITSFIELD, Vt. Skiers driving from I-89 to Route 100, between Burlington and Montpelier, Vt., are faced with two key forks in the road.

Trojans remain perfect
LOS ANGELES For one quarter, Notre Dame was better than No. 1 Southern California.

Huskies garner crown
ANCHORAGE, Alaska Washington guard Nate Robinson was held seven points below his season average against No. 19 Alabama. Fortunately for the No. 22 Huskies, they've got a wealth of players in the backcourt.

Sorenstam's putt sets up rich Sunday at Skins Game
LA QUINTA, Calif. Annika Sorenstam calmly sank a short birdie putt on the ninth hole, earning a hug from Tiger Woods.

Area hockey teams set for heart of season
With the season under way, the Kenai Peninsula's high school hockey teams are optimistic for things to come.

Seawolves collect win over High Point
ANCHORAGE, Alaska Marcus Robinson hit two free throws with 8.2 seconds to play and Alaska-Anchorage beat High Point 66-65 in the Great Alaska Shootout on Saturday.

Free throws let Alabama defeat Golden Gophers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska Alabama remained undefeated on the strength of their free-throw shooting and Minnesota's misses.

Illinois rips Gonzaga
INDIANAPOLIS Deron Williams and Luther Head each scored 20 points to lead No. 5 Illinois to an 89-72 victory over No. 24 Gonzaga on Saturday in the John Wooden Tradition.

Bledsoe heads home
SEATTLE Drew Bledsoe doesn't get back to his hometown of Walla Walla, Wash., too often these days. A road game at Seattle is as close as it gets to a homecoming for the Buffalo Bills quarterback.

James becomes youngest to score 2,000 points
CLEVELAND LeBron James scored 26 points to become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 2,000 in a career, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 96-74 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

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