Friday, December 31, 2004

Red Sox World Series victory voted top sports story in AP poll
There was no Commissioner's Trophy the last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

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.

Art Briefs
Student, adult classes planned Art wanted for campus Writers' Night accepting work

What's Happening
Best Bet Events and Exhibits Entertainment Films Down the Road Anchorage events

Biography brings Russian Alaskan to life
Alaska's colonial period gave rise to events just as wild, wicked and wonderful as those of Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, conquistadors seeking lost cities of gold or wagon trains fending off hostile tribes. Too bad so few citizens of the United States, or even of Alaska, know the stories of Alaska's early adventures.

Something to sing about
Guess the hometown of two of the newest award-winning songwriters. It's not New York, London or L.A. Nor is it Austin, Branson or Nashville. Would you believe it's Kasilof? The Kenai Peninsula settlement known as the home of set netters and slime liners, homesteaders and dog mushers, now can claim to be the home of two of Alaska's newest celebrated composers

'Pirates of the Caribbean,' 'Nemo' score high on Billboard charts
2004 top VHS sales. 2004 top video rentals. 2004 top kid videos. 2004 top music video sales. 2004 top DVD sales.

'In Good Company' displays growth, hits high mark
Topher Grace grows up in ''In Good Company,'' and the film's writer-director, Paul Weitz, grows up right alongside him.

'Law & Order' star Orbach dies at 69
NEW YORK — Jerry Orbach had a gift for charming audiences his entire career — first as a song-and-dance man who starred in musicals on and off Broadway, then for 12 years as a sharp-tongued cop on TV's ''Law & Order.''

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.

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.

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.

Relief comes from near and far, even peninsula
The earthquake and tsunamis that struck Indian Ocean coastlines this weekend push disaster levels higher with every passing day, and relief from all parts of the globe is just now getting to the places needing it most.

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.

Cleo Idell McShan Necessary
Texas resident Cleo Idell McShan Necessary died Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004, at an Abilene, Texas, nursing facility. She was 94.

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.

Recovering from tsunamis
Much, however, will remain to be done even after all this has been accomplished. Beyond the first aid, there is the task of helping the victim nations to recover, and that will include restoring the infrastructure that has been destroyed — the schools, clinics, roads, businesses and homes. As many as one million people may have lost their homes in Indonesia alone, and the number of homeless may be similarly high in Sri Lanka. Assistance will be required to help the victims rebuild their lives, for most of them live in developing countries.

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 plans closure. Caregiver training set. City council to meet. Soroptimist monthly meeting set. Fish board hearing slated.

Snowplow hooks on gas meter, building evacuated
A rush of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances Wednesday morning brought a line of stopped vehicles and rubbernecking motorists to the intersection of the Kenai Spur Highway and Bridge Access Road.

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.

Active aging
There is a not-so-new face in the crowd at Kenai Peninsula College. Clay Brockel, a local senior citizen, has been taking advantage of a privilege granted to Alaska senior citizens: Taking classes at the college at a reduced cost.

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.

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.

Hall of Fame Game tonight
The Peninsula Micmacs will take to the Soldotna Sports Center ice tonight at 7 to face the Strawberry Lakers in the annual Memorial Hall of Fame Game, a hockey contest played to benefit the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association.

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.

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.

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.

Patience pays off with college football coaches
NEW ORLEANS — Frank Beamer wrapped up his sixth year at Virginia Tech with the sort of numbers that usually get a coach fired.

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.

Smith earns 200th win at Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Freshman center Randolph Morris had a career-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting and coach Tubby Smith won his 200th game at Kentucky as the eighth-ranked Wildcats routed Campbell 82-50 on Wednesday night.

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

Ohio State cruises to Alamo Bowl win
SAN ANTONIO — Even with its second-string quarterback in charge, Ohio State had an easy time of it in the Alamo Bowl.

McGrady, Yao fuel Rockets
CLEVELAND — Tracy McGrady scored 34 points, Yao Ming added 20 and the Houston Rockets didn't have to contend with LeBron James after halftime during a 98-87 win on Wednesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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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