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Monday, November 29, 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.

NOW PLAYING: Christmas with the Kranks
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis' new film, Christmas with the Kranks, has all the required elements for a successful holiday romp. Highly talented comedic actors, wacky situations, and enough Christmas spirit to melt even the Scroogiest of hearts. It is, however, unfortunately lacking those elements required for a coherent, satisfying moviegoing experience, such as a plot that makes sense, a modicum of chemistry between the actors, and any sense of comedic timing. I mean, I realize Surviving Christmas has become just another in the Affleck's long string of box office bombs, but at least it was funny!

Pilot's survival skills tested
ANCHORAGE Michael Holman landed his plane on a deserted part of the Koyuktolik Bay shore, hoping to do a little beachcombing before making the short hop to Seldovia about 15 miles away.

Chance call saves lives of Nikiski family
When Geri Litzen of Nikiski looked over at her two little daughters with oxygen masks covering their faces at Central Peninsula General Hospital, she started to shake.

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.

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.

'Tis the season! Shoppers get an early start on the holidays
Kenai Peninsula residents made their lists and checked them twice before heading out Friday to take part in what is annually the busiest shopping day of the year.

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.

Tier system: Good or bad?
Editor's note This is the second 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.

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.

News not an easy business to be in
The storied career of Dan Rather, starting with the Nixon White House and ending with a botched election-year story on the president, is a tale of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Press freedom still lacking worldwide
''Reporters Without Borders'' has just re-leased its third-annual global study, which includes a survey of press freedoms found around the world. The report shows that currently the freedom of the press is particularly threatened in Eastern Asia, where the isolated North Korea earned the lowest ranking of 167. ...

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.

Survey supports court limits
WASHINGTON Six in 10 Americans say there should be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices, according to an Associated Press poll.

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.

What's at stake?
CHICAGO Now that his high school football season is over, Zak Coppinger has been playing poker every chance he can get.

Children's science museum exhibit gets high marks from parent
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) A trip to a children's science museum proved to be a day of discovery for a 5-year-old boy and his mother, who discovered a possible heart condition in the child while checking out an exhibit.

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.

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.

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.

Around the Peninsula
Soroptimist offer volunteer award Fish and Game to meet Domestic violence to be discussed Mission fund-raiser planned Historical society to meet Toy and Joy applications being accepted

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

Community News
Christmas cookies available Community service award applications available Auction, dinner fund-raiser set Foundation accepting Lifeline funds VFW auxiliary seeking new members

Births
Cavan Jay Swanson Katelyn Renay Musgrove,

Peninsula People
Troop completes work on community service badge Halibut derby logo winner announced Shady joins Navy

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.

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.

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.

Moss helps Vikings roll to victory
MINNEAPOLIS Randy Moss made a noticeable impact in his return for the Minnesota Vikings. Most importantly, the defense made it count.

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.

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.

Tar Heels leave USC stuck in mud
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. North Carolina sure made Southern California look like the tired team.

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.

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

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.

Couples skins Tiger in playoff
LA QUINTA, Calif. Minutes after hitting into the water to blow a chance at winning the Skins Game, Tiger Woods smiled and jokingly walked arm-in-arm down the fairway with Fred Couples.

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.

Leinart looking like Heisman favorite
LOS ANGELES A tight Heisman Trophy race looks clear-cut to Matt Leinart's Southern California teammates.

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.

Miller off to hot start on the slopes
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta Bode Miller became the first man to open a World Cup season with three victories in three disciplines, winning a super-giant slalom Sunday ahead of Hermann Maier.

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

Hot combo has Miami sizzling
MIAMI Dwyane Wade had 25 points, Shaquille O'Neal added 21 and tied a team record by making all nine of his shot attempts, and the Miami Heat held off the Boston Celtics 106-104 on Sunday night.

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