GateHouse News Service New England Budget • December 21, 2007

cbiondi@gatehousemedia.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

Note: I am off next week, returning Dec. 31. Please submit budget/stories to:

newengland@gatehousemedia.com

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CASINOS PROJECT:

A three-part regional project on a potential casino boom in Massachusetts and New England is set to launch between Christmas and New Years, Thursday/Friday/Saturday Dec. 27-29.

•    A BUDGET WITH STORY LINKS CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING HERE.

•    OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCALIZATION ARE NOTED.

•    DAY 2 ANALYSIS AND A TIMELINE NOW LINKED IN BUDGET

•    The graphics (in three formats), additional photos and logos can be found in the CNC ftp, at the top level in a “CASINOS PROJECT” folder, broken down by Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

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News

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STATELINE/MASSACTION PACKAGE FOR MONDAY, DEC. 24

STATELINE: PATRICK’S FIRST YEAR - An ambitious wish list. And a  slow start. That's a commonly held assessment of Deval Patrick as he nears  the close of his first year as Massachusetts governor.

Ledger, Benner, 18 inches, 6 p.m.

With sidebar of campaign promises

WITH MASSACTION – A look at the week ahead.

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A CASINO STORY FOR SUNDAY:

CASINO DEVELOPMENTS  - Recapping recent casino developments, and finding out where In S.E. Mass. a casino has the best chance of landing: Middleboro, Raynham, Plainville, New Bedford?

Enterprise, Kyle Alspach, 6 p.m.

You can promo three-day casino series that starts Thursday

SUICIDES IN PRISON - Rep. Ruth Balser of Newton pushing her bill that would set up special sections in state prisons for inmates who are mentally ill or clearly in need of attention because of suicide risk.

MetroWest, Parietti, 12 inches, 6 p.m.

SEVEN WORKERS FIRED IN ELECTRIC SKIN-SHOCK INCIDENT - Seven employees deemed responsible for a harrowing night of skin-shock torture at a special-needs school group home have been fired, officials at the Canton-based Judge Rotenberg Education Center said Thursday.

Ledger, Benner, 12 inches, on wire now

MASS. HIGHWAY PLOWS THROUGH SNOW BUDGET - After a few heavy, back-to-back snowfalls, the Massachusetts Highway Department has exhausted its $24 million sand and salt budget.

MetroWest, Parietti, 8 inches, on wire now

911 CALL SAVES CHOKING 8-YEAR-OLD - Milton dispatcher talks mother through Heimlich to get candy out of girl’s throat.

Ledger, Sears, 15 inches, on wire now

With mug of dispatcher

WHAT THE RICH GIVE FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS  - Surely you’ve seen that TV commercial - the one where the guy brings his wife outside on a perfect snowy Christmas morning and surprises her with a shiny new Lexus adorned with a big red bow?

Ledger, Gerdeman, 22 inches, on wire now

With photo

Business

PLENTY OF EXTRAS AT SHOWCASE: PAY $10, GET LUXURIOUS SEATING, DINING, COCKTAILS - Movie-goers willing to pay an extra $10 at Showcase Cinemas in Randolph will soon gain access to luxurious seating, dining and cocktails as part of a pilot program announced by theater owner National Amusements on Thursday.

Ledger, Bauer, 18 inches, on wire now

With photos

Opinions

PHILIP MADDOCKS: RAMPANT USE OF STEROIDS MAY FORCE HALL OF FAME TO SHUT DOWN - The Baseball Hall of Fame announced yesterday that it may soon be forced to close its doors for good because "the integrity of its mission had been seriously compromised" by the release of the Mitchell Report, which linked more than 80 players, many of them among the game’s best, to the illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

CNC, on wire now

EDITORIAL: THE EPA UNDER BUSH - The EPA has become an impediment to environmental protection, and it's not the first federal agency the Bush administration has turned toward the opposite of its original purpose.

MetroWest, 6 p.m.

EDITORIAL: MASS. CORPORATE TAXATION - A commission studying corporate taxation in Massachusetts provides an opportunity for a win-win compromise - if the business lobby's friends in

the Legislature go along.

MetroWest, 6 p.m.

RICK HOLMES - Fox's Bill O'Reilly finds the "war on Christmas" raging in Great Barrington, Mass.

MetroWest, 6 p.m.

MAHONEY CARTOON – Just Missed on Time Person of the Year

Ledger, on wire  now

Sports

A PRO SPORTS BUDGET will be e-mailed this afternoon

Lifestyles

VIDEO: JIMMY TINGLE SAYS GOODBYE WITH A WRAP PARTY AT THE BURREN - Comedian, activist and theater owner Jimmy Tingle said “so long” to Somerville on Dec. 20. His theater, Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway, was a Davis Square fixture for five years. Tingle’s theater closed down last month after he decided not to renew the lease.

CNC, Guha, 12 inches, on wire now

Wit photo and video

FASHION FORWARD: YOUNG DESIGNERS COMPETE FOR ART SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS - Forget Heidi Klum's "Project Runway." In Boston Tuesday night, tomorrow's budding fashion designers rolled out their creations for next year's holiday season.

MetroWest, Baltozer, 22 inches, on wire now

With photos

RAISING CANE: PUTNAM PANTRY OFFERS A LOOK BEHIND THE MAGIC - Whether used as toppers for stockings or as ornaments on Christmas trees, the candy cane has put smiles on faces — young and old — for hundreds of years; and for the second year, Galo Putnam Emerson, founder of Putnam Pantry on Route 1 in Danvers, and his wife, Jo-Ann, offered the public a chance to see just how candy canes are made.

CNC, Haley-Skelton, 25 inches, on wire now

With photos

WHAT THE RICH GIVE FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS - Surely you’ve seen that TV commercial - the one where the guy brings his wife outside on a perfect snowy Christmas morning and surprises her with a shiny new Lexus adorned with a big red bow? Does it make you wonder: Could this possibly ever really happen?

Ledger, Gerdeman, 22 inches, on wire now

With photos possible