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    Washington

    A whiter-than-expected Christmas

    Christmas Day my partner and I decided to pass on various family Christmas doings and attend the Church of Nature. We left in the morning and drove north on a nearly empty I-5 up to the Sedro-Woolley turnoff to Highway 20 and headed into bald eagle country. This time of year, eagles flock to the Upper Skagit River and you can stop along the road from Concrete to Rockport on up to Marblemount and spot the splendid birds perched in the trees along the river like so many over-sized Christmas ornaments, or watch them feed on salmon carcasses along the river banks.

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    Daylight grows again, and so does the garden

    It's bleak midwinter on Vashon Island and you'd think the garden would have sense enough to hunker down and wait for better weather. Thankfully, no. Outside the dining room window, a pink viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense) is in full bloom on the year's shortest day, a joyful counterpoint to the drizzle and gloom of December in Puget Sound. Why every gardener doesn't grow this beauty is beyond me. It's undemanding and bursts into bloom when most of the rest of the garden is on seasonal sabbatical.

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    A storm by any other name wouldn't be as wet

    What's in a name? For one, the formerly elegant "Katrina" has been purged from those names-for-your-baby books (and "Pete," alas, is reserved exclusively for three-legged dogs). That's what's in a name. All the more reason for The Seattle Times to revive its U.S Weather Service-sponsored name-that-storm competition.

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    A 'flood' at Safeco Field

    A recent e-mail we intercepted from a stadium-loathing group that calls itself Taxpayers on Strike (TOS) asserted there's an untold story about another victim of the storm that swamped the state two weeks ago – Safeco Field. TOS's Vincent Koskela contended "the recent rain storm caused severe flooding at 'Safeco Field.' The lower bowl, Clubhouse and Dugout flooded. Four feet of water shot up in the Clubhouse. Conduits carrying TV Cables were full of water," Koskela wrote. Wrong on all counts, counters M's spokeswoman Rebecca Hale, who also saw the e-mail. Koskela claimed his info came from disclosures made at a Public Facilities District maintenance and operations committee meeting on Dec. 10.

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    Streetcar accident reported

    Well that was quick. A week after the Seattle Streetcar began serving passengers, apparently there has been an accident. KIRO-TV is reporting that police have responded to Mercer Street and Terry Avenue North. Update: It was minor, and no one was hurt, says KOMO-TV. Meanwhile, the driver of a Gray Line bus was killed on Interstate 5 under the Washington State Convention and Trade Center overnight when the bus she was driving crashed, and the downtown Seattle bus tunnel is closed again due to software problems. Might be a windy, rainy day to stay home.

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    Shouldn't variable ticket-pricing work both ways?

    Now that the Mariners have introduced premium prices for in-demand games like Opening Day, the Yankees, and Bosox, we were wondering if the club gave much thought to offering cheaper seats for the likes of perennial losers like Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Baltimore. Say, like charging 1999 prices?

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    Washington

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