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Skating world has plans for Spokane

Spokane in 2007?

A sizable contingent from Spokane, Wash., staffed a booth at the Rose Garden during the State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships last week. They were there to sell advance tickets and raise interest in the 2007 U.S. championships, which will be staged in Washington's second-largest city from Jan. 21 through Jan. 28.

Spokane scored big-time when it beat out Boston to host the championships; the city is less than half the size of Portland, and, according to Barb Beddor, whose Star USA led the recruiting effort, it's the smallest U.S. city in recent memory to hold the championships.

U.S. Figure Skating officials evidently were impressed by Spokane's charms Ñ and by the fact that the 2002 Skate America competition, held there, attracted record crowds.

Next year's U.S. figure skating championships will be in St. Louis. A promoter from that river city bragged that the Savvis Center, venue for the main competitions, is 'much bigger' than the Rose Garden Ñ which, in turn, is about half-again the size of Spokane's new Veterans Memorial Arena.

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Looking for a little poetry with your haggis this year?

Check out these upcoming Robert Burns celebrations, which honor Scotland's most revered poet with traditional food, music, readings, Scotch whisky and, no doubt, kilts galore.

The traditional Burns supper at the Rose and Thistle Pub, 2314 N.E. Broadway, kicks off with steaming haggis Ñ a Scottish delicacy that involves a stuffed sheep's stomach Ñ at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, which is the bard's birthday.

At 6 p.m. the same night, Portland Brewing Co., 2730 N.W. 31st Ave., hosts a fund-raiser for Morrison Child and Family Services. The event, part of Morrison's 'Cooking for Kids' program, includes poetry, music and Scottish and traditional foods.

In Welches, the Resort at the Mountain's annual Burns supper is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29. And out in Condon, McLaren Stinchfield, editor and publisher of the Condon Times-Journal, has planned the annual Burns Day celebration for the same day. First held at Stinchfield's house about eight years ago, the fest now has a home at the Hotel Condon. This year's revelry will include pipers, Scotch eggs, a shortbread contest and 'a fair amount of Scotch drinking,' Stinchfield said.

Ñ Jon Bell, Jeanie Senior