Here are the top New England regional stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at gatehousenewsservice.com.

Here are the top New England regional stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at gatehousenewsservice.com. Please submit stories below no later than 6 p.m. local time, unless you have breaking news that is changing significantly. Questions?

Contact: Chris Biondi, (508) 626-4343, cbiondi@gatehousemedia.com

At ghnewsroom.com:

Writing coach: How the State Journal-Register uses live editorials to weigh in immediately

News

PHOTOS: PLENTY OF PICKEREL - Dave Weise of Hopkinton ice fishes Tuesday at Dudley Pond in Wayland with his sister Laurie Lindsay and friend Art Clough, also from Hopkinton. It didn't take long for the trio to catch several pickerel.
MetroWest, McGagh, on wire now

EXHIBIT FEATURES IMAGES OF 44 FALLEN BAY STATE TROOPS - It all starts with the eyes. They are the focal point for Gina Johnson when she begins working on a portrait of a fallen soldier.
CNC, Coulter, on wire now
With images of all 44

CAPE COD COP CHARGED WITH URINATING ON FELLOW METALLICA FAN AT CONCERT - A Cape Cod cop has been placed on leave after he allegedly urinated on a fellow Metallica fan during a Boston concert and shouted that the Hispanic police officer who was arresting him looked like President Barack Obama.
CNC, Eldred, on wire now
With photo

BIRDWATCHERS FLOCK TO PLYMOUTH TO SPOT RARE GULL - Birdwatchers from far and near have been flocking to Plymouth and Gloucester in hopes of adding an extremely rare bird to their life list. Ivory gulls normally stay well above Newfoundland living on artic ice where they follow polar bears to feed on the scraps and carcasses they leave behind after making a kill.The last report of a fully mature ivory gull in Massachusetts occurred in the 1800s.
Ledger, Julius, on wire now
With photos

HAND-HELD PLAYSTATIONS USED IN READING AND MATH CLASSES - Students at Cohasset’s Joseph Osgood and Deer Hill elementary schools are enthused when the PlayStation Portables come out. The two schools have begun using an interactive video-game program called Achieve Now, which uses animated characters, color and music to help students with reading, language arts and math.
Ledger, McCarthy, on wire now
With photos

Business

CAMBRIDGE HEALTH ALLIANCE ANNOUNCES CUTS, CONSOLIDATION - From fewer psychiatric care units to cutting back hours at teen health centers, the Cambridge Health Alliance has announced a long list of changes to its services. As part of a “comprehensive reorganization plan” to help straighten up the organization’s major economic slump, the CHA unveiled a new framework on Wednesday aimed to carve out a current budget deficit of $22.5 million.
CNC, Fennimore, on wire now

MASSACHUSETTS BUSINESS IN BRIEF - WearGuard cuts jobs at Norwell plant; Organogenesis gets boost from state grant; Caritas Christi agrees to not oppose unions.
Ledger, on wire now

SOVEREIGN TAKEOVER MAY BE COMPLETE BY THE END OF THE WEEK - Spain’s Banco Santander is expected to take over ownership of Sovereign this week after two-and-a-half years as a minority shareholder.
Ledger, Chesto, on wire now

HOME SALES AND PRICES TAKE ANOTHER DIP - The Massachusetts housing market went out with a whimper in December as sales and prices fell yet again.
Ledger, Adams, on wire now

Opinions

EDITORIAL: LIBRARY FUNDING - Rather  grappling with one municipal budget crisis after another, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners should suspend or amend its rules on minimum library funding until the economy is on firmer ground.
Ledger, 6 p.m.

FRANK MULLIGAN: GOT A SUPER BOWL PROPOSITION FOR YOU - The Super Bowl generates hundreds of “proposition bets” every year where you can wager on everything from which quarterback will pass for the most yards to whether there’ll be a safety in the final two minutes of the first half.
CNC, on wire now

O'MAHONEY CARTOON: ON CHANGES IN THE STATE HOUSE
Ledger, on wire now

Sports

WATCH FOR PRO SPORTS at prosports@gatehousemediane.com

Lifestyles

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GETAWAY / IN NEW ENGLAND FOR FEB. 4 PUBLICATION

GETAWAY: TOP 10 ROMANTIC SKI RESORTS IN THE NORTHEAST - Let's face it. Skiing is a romantic activity. There's you and your significant other and snow - and that need for warmth at the end of the day.

IN NEW ENGLAND: NEW HAMPSHIRE'S 'LITTLE' SKI AREAS - Think of interstates 93 and 89 in New Hampshire as fast trails to some of New England's best low-key skiing. All the mountains have learn-to-ski programs and deals at their Web sites.

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PHOTOS GLIMPSE AFGHANISTAN ON THE INSIDE - In Kandahar, Shahla, a teacher, draped in black leads young students in a Koran class. In a Kabul shop, seamstresses chat with employer Bakhtnazina as they sew. Belmont photographer Paula Lerner witnessed these scenes and many others of women, children and men quietly rebuilding their nation.
CnC, Smith, on wire now
With photo

THE BEER NUT: SIZING UP SUDS FOR SUPER BOWL - Almost everyone will be gathered around the TV on Sunday, watching the Super Bowl even if they don't care about either team.
MetroWest, Miller, on wire now
With photo

SIDELINE THE FAT AT YOUR SUPER BOWL PARTY - One buffalo chicken wing: 52 calories. A slice of cheese pizza: 272 calories. One cup of chili: 287 calories. Two tablespoons of onion dip (like anyone can eat just two tablespoons?): 50 calories. Beer? About 150 calories each.
Herald News, Allard, on wire now
With photos and recipes

MEREDITH O'BRIEN: 'GOTH MOMMY' BY ACCIDENT - It wasn't until I was drying my hair that I realized it wasn't dark brown like the picture. It was black. Not a nice black, like actress Jennifer Connelly's hair, but black like on a teenage girl who's trying to tick off her parents with her in-your-face hair, 47 facial piercings and a neck tattoo that says, "Back off!"
Parents & Kids, on wire now

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LOOKS TO SPREAD ROOTS OF SPRINGSTEP - After transforming the Boston Center for the Arts from a mild state of chaos to greater Boston’s fastest growing arts and entertainment destination, Libbie Shufro is hoping to do the same thing for Springstep.
CNC, Barry, on wire now
With photo

NEEDHAM COMMUNITY THEATER TO PERFORM BRITISH PANTO OF 'CINDERELLA' - After its elaborate production of “Titanic,” Needham Community Theatre is going a slightly different, sillier route with its next show, a British panto of “Cinderella.” With Hilder as the writer and director, the theater group hopes this British holiday tradition becomes as much a tradition in Needham, Mass., as it is in Needham Market, England.
CNC, Ryan, on wire now
With photo

TRIP TO THE CHOCOLATE BAR IN BOSTON A DECADENT TREAT - The Chocolate Bar at the Langham Hotel in Boston serves 125 different chocolate desserts - a chocoholic's dream come true.
Ledger, Ordway, on wire now
With photo