GateHouse News Service National Budget
For 12/23/09 editions

Here are the top national stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/. Please submit stories below no later than 6 pm local time, unless you have breaking news that is changing significantly.

Contacts: Jean Hodges, (630) 348-3350, (630) 956-8834, jhodges@gatehousemedia.com

Michael Toeset, (630) 348-3356, (630) 835-8870, mtoeset@gatehousemedia.com

Notes:

8 IDEAS FOR DAY-AFTER-CHRISTMAS EDITIONS: Find ideas for coverage on Christmas Day and advance stories you can do for your Dec. 26 edition.
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/7-ideas-day-after-christmas-edition

POLL IDEA: Each week we’ll post a national poll idea you can use on your own Web site to allow your readers to weigh in on a topic of interest, whether it’s a news story, a pop culture story or a sports story. Check out our first question, with embed code.
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/poll-question-idea-did-economy-affect-your-holiday-spending

TAX PAGE FOUR-PART SERIES: This four-part series looks at new laws, how to avoid mistakes that might lead to an audit, what to do with your refund and setting yourself up for a relatively painless tax return next time around.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x967381431/Tax-page-four-part-series

READ MORE: Learn more about the tax series on ghnewsroom.com.
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/four-part-tax-series-all-set-january-news-service

YEAR IN REVIEW PAGE ELEMENTS: Find a logo and page banner that you can use for your Year in Review stories and pages.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/images/x1508037125/Year-in-Review-Page-Elements

BEST OF 2009: Click the link below to go to a budget of year-end items the news service is expecting over the next couple of weeks. Available now is a Niche year-end page, and links will be added as we receive your copy. If your newspaper is planning something that works on a national scale – e.g. Best Movies of 2009 or Top 10 Songs of 2009 – please let us know by e-mailing national@gatehousemedia.com.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/homepage/x1903560869/Best-of-2009-content

'TIS THE SEASON: GateHouse holiday content -- Christmas and holiday content from GateHouse News Service. If your paper has something that would work on a national scale, please Zope it to us or e-mail it to national@gatehousemedia.com.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/special_reports/x1945265215/Tis-the-season-GateHouse-holiday-content

HOLIDAY PAGES, TABS. Find out what the news service is offering for the holidays this year.
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/holiday-pages-tabs-adorn-gatehouse-news-service

Niche 2010 schedule: Check out the Niche products planned for next year.
http://www.ghnewsroom.com/article/gatehouse-2010-niche-schedule

GateHouse Media’s Countdown to 2010: 12 Days of Successes
http://ghnewsroom.com/article/gatehouse-medias-countdown-2010-12-days-successes-january

Lifestyles

MORNING MINUTES: Includes Word of the Day, Web Site of the Day, Number to Know, This Day in History, Today’s Featured Birthday and Daily Quote.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/morning_minutes

HOME HELP: Weekly home rail, leads with breaking out of your color comfort zone, and includes items on “warmer wood,” a home-selling tip, maximizing your closet space and more. (NOTE: This moved early for the holidays.)
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/home_and_garden/x967380501/Home-Help-Break-out-of-your-color-comfort-zone

FAMILY TIME: Weekly family rail, with a review of “Avatar,” vital skills for kids and tips for teaching them, and more.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/family/x1107767177/Family-Time-Avatar-OK-for-older-kids

KATHRYN REM: Think being a restaurant server is easy? - Bruce Buschel is doing everything he can to ensure excellent customer service at the seafood restaurant he’s building in Bridgehampton, N.Y. In fact, he’s writing about it in the New York Times business section, in a blog called The Start-Up Chronicle. Recently, he listed the 100 things restaurant staffers should never do.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/food/x1107767585/Kathryn-Rem-Think-being-a-restaurant-server-is-easy

CHARITA GOSHAY: Letters to Santa from the rich and famous.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/columnists/charita_goshay/x1055575502/Charita-Goshay-Better-to-want-what-you-have-than-to-get-what-you-deserve

SANTA’S RISE: Is it physics or magic? LEDGER
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/family/x664190289/Up-the-chimney-Santa-rose-Is-it-magic-or-physics

CHRISTMAS COOKIES: Hark! The art of Christmas cookie decorating - SPRINGFIELD – Snowflakes. Wreaths. Angels. Christmas trees. Bells. These are the targets of the metal-tipped pastry bags, filled with colorful icing, wielded by the members of the women’s society of St. John Vianney Catholic Parish in Sherman as they gather for two days each December for a marathon cookie-decorating session. By Kathryn Rem of the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1820915510/Hark-The-art-of-Christmas-cookie-decorating

BEER: All about beer: Drinking it, brewing it, cooking with it - That bottle of Bud or Guinness or Great Lakes in your hand is a piece of history. Beer is perhaps the oldest of processed beverages, third only to water and tea worldwide. By Jim Hillibish.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/food/beverages/x1679099645/All-about-beer-Drinking-it-brewing-it-cooking-with-it

BEGINNER'S BOX: Getting oranges in your cranberries.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/food/x1689178353/Beginners-Box-Getting-oranges-in-your-cranberries

BOILING POINT: A blue plate special at home - Cooking trends change with the economy. We’ll remember 2009 as the year of the cheap and the return to the pride of your mother, home cooking. By Jim Hillibish.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x664189773/Boiling-Point-A-blue-plate-special-at-home

WISE TO THE WORD: Calzone.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/food/x1107767367/Wise-to-the-Word-Calzone

THE BEER NUT: My 10 favorite beers of 2009 - The end of 2009 is approaching, and it is time to look back at the year in beer. By Norman Miller.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/food/beverages/x1136809801/The-Beer-Nut-My-10-favorite-beers-of-2009

WORKS WELL: Don't knock the knock box if you haven't tried it.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/food/x1055575051/Works-Well-Dont-knock-the-knock-box-if-you-havent-tried-it

SHOESTRING LIVING: Appetize your wallet.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x1145295429/Shoestring-Living-Appetize-Your-Wallet

LOST IN SUBURBIA: My holiday newsletter 2009 - Happy almost New Year to everyone! We hope you have had as great a year as we have! By Tracy Beckerman.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x664188837/Lost-in-Suburbia-My-holiday-newsletter-2009

WENDY MURPHY: The gift of a story from the past. METROWEST
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/cartoons/x1820915212/Wendy-Murphy-The-gift-of-a-story-from-a-past

JULIE FAY: Santa’s helper is making a list, checking it twice. LEDGER
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1689178911/Julie-Fay-Santa-s-helper-is-making-a-list-checking-it-twice

REV. TESS BAUMBERGER: Pondered in her heart: Mary in the Christmas story - The Christmas story in Luke’s gospel ends by saying that Mary treasured all that had transpired, and pondered it in her heart.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1679100759/Rev-Tess-Baumberger-Pondered-in-her-heart-Mary-in-the-Christmas-story

AMANDA JACOBS: Snow does not get better with age - When I was little, I used to get really excited when it snowed. As soon as the flakes started falling, I would start gearing up to go sledding and build a snowman and just generally frolic in the winter wonderland that had previously been my backyard. Even more importantly, snow meant that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t have to go to school the next day. There are no snow days for grown-ups.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1689179472/Amanda-Jacobs-Snow-does-not-get-better-with-age

DR. MURRAY FEINGOLD: Avoid this serious infection.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/health/x1136810008/Dr-Murray-Feingold-Avoid-this-serious-infection

DR. JEFF HERSH: Sleeping sickness is serious.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/health/x1136810005/Dr-Jeff-Hersh-Sleeping-sickness-is-serious

DARIN ST. GEORGE: My favorite things.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/lifestyle/health/x1136810000/Darin-St-George-My-favorite-things

Entertainment

5 THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND: This weekend’s suggestions: Celebrate Christmas, check out one of the new movies opening this week (“Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Sherlock Holmes,” etc.), check out some holiday TV, watch some great sports and celebrate Kwanzaa.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/entertainment/x1107768645/5-Things-to-Do-This-Weekend-Dec-25-27
- Localize it: Christmas and Kwanzaa items especially should be localized – add local happenings, etc. For the other items, you can add theater info, pub info, etc.

SUDOKU: Puzzles for December (526-553) are available for download. Previous puzzles are linked to in this file, or visit our Puzzles category.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1076978543/Sudoku-puzzles-526-553-December-puzzles

SUDOKU JANUARY: Puzzles for January (554-581) are available for download. Previous puzzles are linked to in this file, or visit our Puzzles category.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/puzzles/x1792921242/Sudoku-puzzles-554-581-January-puzzles

COLIN FIRTH: Colin Firth could be the darling of this awards season - Firth shows a whole different side of his acting chops in “A Single Man,” which opens Dec. 25. By Ed Symkus.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1689179698/Colin-Firth-could-be-the-darling-of-this-awards-season

IN & OUT: What’s hot and what’s not as 2010 kicks off.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/entertainment/x141511543/In-and-Out-What-s-hot-and-what-s-not-as-2010-kicks-off

PETER CHIANCA: 5 albums you should have bought in 2009.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/entertainment/x1689175907/Peter-Chianca-Five-albums-you-should-have-bought-in-2009

BRIEN MURPHY: What's your favorite song about Jesus' birth? Some of our most enduring Christmas songs have us jingling all the way while chestnuts roast on an open fire and reindeer paws click, click, click up on the housetop. Christians, of course, observe more than a visit from Santa Claus later this week — they celebrate the birth of the man they believe is their spiritual savior. With that in mind, what are the most popular songs about Jesus’ birth?
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x664187286/Brien-Murphy-Whats-your-favorite-song-about-Jesus-birth

FAHRENHEIT 451: Graphic novel version of 'Fahrenheit 451' has the right spark - We’re basically living in Ray Bradbury’s imagined world now. Even those particularly familiar with this author are acting out all the permutations of his visions. By Margaret Smith.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/entertainment/arts/x1107766467/Graphic-novel-version-of-Fahrenheit-451-has-the-right-spark

ALBUM REVIEW: “Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud,” by MC Paul Barman. Funny, acquired taste, if listened to in small doses. SUSSEX COUNTIAN
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/entertainment/x1055575520/Album-review-Thought-Balloon-Mushroom-Cloud-by-MC-Paul-Barman

Opinions

GRANLUND CARTOON: Christmas Day in the forest -- Cartoon for Dec. 25.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/cartoons/x967381408/Granlund-cartoon-Christmas-Day-in-the-forest

GRANLUND CARTOON: Christmas before and after.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1107767027/Granlund-cartoon-Christmas-before-and-after

O’MAHONEY CARTOON: On Christmas giving.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/cartoons/x664189012/OMahoney-cartoon-On-Christmas-giving
- For THURSDAY release

O’MAHONEY CARTOON: On gift returns.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/cartoons/x1689177383/OMahoney-cartoon-On-gift-returns
- For MONDAY release

KENT BUSH: Health care bill lands senators on naughty list - There are a lot of reasons that some senators dislike the national health care bill. But maybe the best reason to hate the bill is how many of them have been put on Santa's naughty list for how they've handled themselves during discussions about it.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x1107768993/Kent-Bush-Health-care-bill-lands-senators-on-naughty-list

DEIRDRE REILLY: The new Senate bill and abortion - Even though we are in the midst of the Christmas and Hanukkah season, Americans must keep their eyes on the ball in Washington: The Senate is passing the test votes of the new health care reform bill that will affect all Americans. And if you care at all about such things one way or another, then you cannot get past one issue in the bill: abortion.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x664189888/Deirdre-Reilly-The-new-Senate-bill-and-abortion

EDITORIAL: Making the skies a little friendlier for travelers - Last week when Peoria's own Ray LaHood appeared on "The Daily Show," comedian Jon Stewart got a laugh describing the transportation secretary's job as the "least glamorous Cabinet position" in Washington. If only he'd known then the announcement the secretary had up his sleeve. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/editorials/x1136810951/Editorial-Making-the-skies-a-little-friendlier-for-travelers

EDITORIAL: Reasons to go green besides global warming - So the world's leaders went all the way to Copenhagen and all they brought back home was this lousy non-binding agreement to set some goals for curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and maybe work up an agenda for the next climate summit. Arguably your average, bickering neighborhood association accomplishes more at one of its meetings. An editorial from the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/editorials/x1689179467/Editorial-Reasons-to-go-green-besides-global-warming

EDITORIAL: Senate is on the brink of a historic vote - After a lengthy, contentious debate that provided the best contemporary example of the old cliché about legislating being as pleasing to watch as sausage-making, history will be on the line with members of the U.S. Senate on Thursday. An editorial from the State Journal-Register.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/opinions/editorials/x1689179454/Editorial-Senate-is-on-the-brink-of-a-historic-vote

News

CRIME RATES: FBI: Crime rates falling in America - Figures released Monday by the FBI show national declines in murder, car thefts and other crimes. The ebbing crime rates make this recession different from other economic downturns in the past half-century.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/east/massachusetts/x1689179231/FBI-Crime-rates-falling-in-America
- Localize it: Insert local/state numbers

JURORS AND FACEBOOK: More judges pulling the plug on jurors' access to Facebook - After his client was convicted of embezzling $350,000 from Bridgewater State College, attorney Brian Kelley went on the social networking site Facebook and looked up the names of the jurors. That is when he discovered at least three jurors had been posting comments during the trial on their Facebook pages about being on the jury. By Maureen Boyle.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/east/massachusetts/x1820915500/More-judges-pulling-the-plug-on-jurors-access-to-Facebook

Business / Ag

DAVE RAMSEY: How do I make a lowball offer? - Weekly financial Q&A, with items on how to make a lowball offer and creating a no-gossip work culture.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/features/x664188776/Dave-Ramsey-How-do-I-make-a-lowball-offer

PAUL EISENSTEIN: Will new small cars like Fiesta and Mazda2 find a market?
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x1535679765/Paul-A-Eisenstein-Will-New-Small-Cars-Like-Fiesta-and-Mazda2-Find-a-Market

SHOESTRING LIVING: Appetize your wallet.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x1145295429/Shoestring-Living-Appetize-Your-Wallet

BIZ BITS: (moved early for the holidays) Weekly business rail, with tax tips, BBB warning about rebates and more.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x1107767337/Biz-Bits-Five-ways-to-save-time-and-money-on-your-taxes

CHECKOUT LANE: Unlimited borders on framing options - With thousands of frame samples and mat options to choose from, custom framing may seem overwhelming, but framers say the results are priceless. By Sara Castellanos.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x967383352/Checkout-Lane-Unlimited-borders-on-framing-options
- Localize it: Talk to local framers and add their quotes, info.

FINE PRINT: Stay safe and save money with holiday lighting - Today's holiday lights aren't the same energy-sucking bulbs that our parents used when we were kids. Miniature holiday lights have largely replaced the big bulbs as a popular way to illuminate holiday decorations. By The Patriot Ledger.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x967383358/Fine-Print-Stay-safe-and-save-money-with-holiday-lighting

MAKING CENTS: Many need long-term care insurance - Long-term care insurance is one of the most widely misunderstood financial products in America. In my experience, only a small percentage of the population that should own long-term care insurance does own it. Long-term care insurance is for illnesses or disabilities that last longer than three to six months. By John P. Napolitano.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/news/business/x1535679646/Making-Cents-Many-need-long-term-care-insurance

LAST-MINUTE RUSH: Retailers thrilled with last-minute rush - ROCKFORD – Retailers are feeling the rush of last-minute shoppers streaming through their doors, which is helping boost their confidence and their bottom lines after a dismal holiday season one year ago. Holiday shopping procrastination is nothing new, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch. The average person had completed 46.7 percent of their holiday shopping by the second week of December, which is actually the lowest percentage since 2004. By Melissa Westphal of the Rockford Register Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1689177603/Retailers-thrilled-with-last-minute-rush
TO LOCALIZE: Check with local retailers to see if they’ve had a rush of last-minute shoppers.

CAT’S NEW TRACTOR: Cat unveils first electric drive tractor - PEORIA – Caterpillar Inc. unveiled the first-of-its-kind electric drive track-type tractor in ceremonies Tuesday. Caterpillar Group President Doug Oberhelman, who takes over as Caterpillar CEO next year, praised the technical advances of the D7E model along with the workers at the Building SS plant where the tractor was assembled. By Steve Tarter of the Peoria Journal Star.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/midwest/illinois/x1679100732/Cat-unveils-first-electric-drive-tractor

Sports

NASCAR PAGE: The weekly page will return just before the season starts next year.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/homepage/x1792908441/NASCAR-page-Take-it-from-the-top

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATION: Rutgers’ season not bad at all – Weekly column by Eric Avidon leads with item on Rutgers.
http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/regional_news/east/massachusetts/x1689179313/College-Football-Nation-Rutgers-season-not-bad-at-all