SBD/December 16, 2010/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

USA TODAY's Brady & Jackson report White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, a native of Auburn, Ala., "will take time off from his day job Jan. 10 so he and two high school pals can go to" the Auburn-Oregon Tostitos BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz. Gibbs "grew up in Auburn, where his parents worked for the university library." He "plans to place a friendly wager with" U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs SEAN SMITH, an Oregon grad (USA TODAY, 12/16).

EVENTFUL YEAR: In St. Louis, Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian notes Blues radio analyst KELLY CHASE recently competed on the CBC's "BATTLE OF THE BLADES," Canada's "wildly popular version of 'DANCING WITH THE STARS.'" Only a year earlier, Chase "was waging a bigger battle while undergoing rounds of steroid treatments to shrink a lesion on his brain." Gregorian notes Chase "on a typical day" now "coaches his sons' hockey teams, plays with fellow NHL alumni, makes public appearances for charities and does color commentary" for Blues games (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/16).

WOODED TRAIL: In Colorado Springs, R. Scott Rappold noted the skis manufactured by Colorado-based Ski Logik are "catching eyes around the world, and their performance has earned critical praise unusual for a first-year ski model." The skis feature an "all-wood construction, which gives every ski a unique flavor." The company's plant in China is "scrambling to keep up with demand." At $750-850 a pair, the price "is competitive with mass-produced skis." Rappold noted Ski Logik Founder DAVID MAZZARELLA "oversees the 35-employee operation," and his wife "does the ski artwork and works with skiers who pay $100 extra to come up with their own design" (GAZETTE.com, 12/15).

EATING GOOD IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE served as a judge of the Season Eight finale on Fox' "HELL'S KITCHEN" last night, with host GORDON RAMSEY introducing him by saying AEG is "the company behind the revitilazation of downtown Los Angeles, as well as L.A. Live, home to the restaurant L.A. Market." The winner will become head chef at L.A. Market. Leiweke came on-stage and tasted both of the finalists' soups, one a loaded potato soup and the other a roasted cauliflower soup. Leiweke said the potato soup was "very good" and added, "Very different taste, both of them. I love them both." He eventually picked the loaded potato soup ("Hell's Kitchen," Fox, 12/15).

NAMES: Comcast-Spectacor Chair ED SNIDER has been selected to receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Comcast SportsNet Shining Star Awards on Jan. 21 (Comcast SportsNet)….The Twins honored Senior Dir of Minor Leagues JIM RANTZ for “45 years in the front office and 50 years with the organization at their holiday party for full-time employees” yesterday at Target Field (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/16)….Several NHL Rangers players, as well as Knicks Fs DANILO GALLINARI and RONNY TURIAF, this week took “a handful of underprivileged second- and third-graders” to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/16)….Browns Owner RANDY LERNER is “selling a double parcel family compound” in Amagansett Lanes, N.Y., for $6.9M (NEWSDAY.com, 12/15).

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