National budget 12.10.09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

GateHouse News Service National Budget

For 12/10/09 editions

Here are the top national stories coming today from GateHouse News Service. Stories are available at 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,

Michael Toeset, (630) 348-3356, (630) 835-8870,


TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: The news service is experiencing some technical difficulties and might repeatedly prompt you to enter your username and password. This is not a problem with your account, it’s a Zope problem. Zope is aware of the issue and is working on it, but in the meantime, you can get into pages on the site by clicking the prompt until it goes away (you may need to click repeatedly).

Make it easy to get weather information, sign up for local alerts

BEST OF 2009: The news service is looking for end-of-year content that works on a national scale. For example, Best Movies of 2009 or Top 10 Songs of 2009. If your paper is planning lists, columns or the like, please let us know by e-mailing We'll compile all year-end content in a links package and will post a budget when we know what items are expected.

'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

HOLIDAY PAGES, TABS. Find out what the news service is offering for the holidays this year.

Niche 2010 schedule: Check out the Niche products planned for next year.


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.

SHOESTRING LIVING: As tax season approaches, get your bucks in a row - As the last few weeks of 2009 wind down, there’s something to think about besides the impending holidays. Unfortunately, it’s not as fun - it’s tax season. For those of us trying to pay down debt, save more or plan for something special next year, it’s crucial to get a jump on our tax time preparation by tidying up some loose ends before the ball drops. By Molly Logan Anderson.

RELIGION NEWS: Weekly religion rail, includes items on a stained glass window sold to support a church, a survey on Americans mixing religious traditions and more.

FAMILY TIME: Weekly family rail, with a look at some great Christmas movies for kids, new-puppy tips and more.

NO MEAT: Cook your way to a more sustainable planet - If every American had one meat-free day a week (no beef, poultry, pork or fish), it would be the environmental equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. By Anne Mazar.

- With photo

THE GIFT OF FOOD: Homemade food gift always in good taste - Saving money isn’t the only reason to give a homemade holiday food gift. By putting time and thought into your selection, it tells recipients you care. And making presents in the kitchen can be enjoyable, especially if you corral some friends or your children into making a day of it. By Kathryn Rem of the State Journal-Register.

FIR REAL: Five things you need to know before buying a Christmas tree -- The “choose and cut” is not only a fresher alternative to the store-bought variety, but also more environmentally conscious.

- art: photo

GREEN THUMBS UP: Collect, clean and store your garden gear – With the warmth of a week ago only a fleeting memory, Old Man Winter made his debut this weekend, signaling a dramatic conclusion to our unseasonably mild weather. As temperatures dropped during the evening hours, a mixture of rain, ice and snow created a crusty crystalline coating, crushing statuesque clumps of ornamental grasses while the delicate branches of shrubbery sprawled beneath the weight of the icy covering.

- Art: photo

LORI KILCHERMANN: Crafters beware, the holidays are here - Winter is a dangerous time of the year for a certain segment of the population: craft addicts. The sparkling, glittery, glitzy and rich nature-toned craft components scream at us from store isles, demanding we take them home. We try to resist their pleas, but addiction fogs our judgment and we begin to believe that they truly are perfect solutions to decorating and gift-giving dilemmas.

KEVIN HAAS: Snowfall brings out the hamsters in us

There’s nothing like a good snowfall to truly make you feel connected to the modern-day hamster. It’s only then you can realize the plight of spinning a wheel for hours without going anywhere.

KELLY EPPERSON: Experience the ancient spiritual practice of walking a labyrinth

’Tis the season for many things, and amidst the hustle and bustle, it is worthy to take a minute to reflect. How about giving yourself 20 minutes?

PARTY TALK: How to talk your way to popularity at any party -- By avoiding conversational landmines and learning how to make small talk effectively, you can be the hit of any social gathering. By Kathryn Rem, SPRINGFIELD


5 THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND: This week’s suggestions: Head to the theater to see “The Princess and the Frog” or “Invictus,” catch the Heisman Trophy presentation or the Video Game Awards, watch the Geminids meteor shower and hit the town for Christmas events.

Localize it: List theater and pub info; good astronomy viewing spots (and/or observatories); and add local holiday event information. The holiday item is meant to be localized, so be sure to add to this write-up.

SUDOKU: Puzzles for December (526-553) are available for download. Previous puzzles are linked to in this file, or visit our Puzzles category.

SUDOKU JANUARY: Puzzles for January (554-581) are available for download. Previous puzzles are linked to in this file, or visit our Puzzles category.

FLICKS: Matt Damon can do no wrong, but these films can - We at Flicks have already established we believe Matt Damon — MATT DAMON!!! — is incapable of making a bad movie. Enter “Invictus.” By John Meo.

- With column mug

FARR SIDE: Solo female artists dominate Grammy nods - All the single ladies ... now put your hands up! That may have been a better way to announce the 2010 Grammy nominations rather than invest an hour of prime-time to mention only a few categories, as CBS did last week. By David T. Farr.

BRIEN MURPHY: Blunderful life: Bert the cop is not Bedford Falls' finest - Meet the most inept police officer in Hollywood history. You can see Hollywood’s worst cop this holiday season whenever "It's a Wonderful LIfe" airs. Don’t get me wrong. I love the movie about selfless George Bailey and how life in Bedford Falls would be much worse if he had never been born. But Bert (Ward Bond) is a terrible police officer.

ALBUM REVIEW: 'Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud,' by MC Paul Barman -- You've never heard a rapper like MC Paul Barman, who continues taking geeky, inventive hip-hop to newer, nerdier heights with "Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud."

CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST: For Christmas music, swing them jingle bells - If you’re tired of what passes for holiday favorites, try one man’s Christmas iPod shuffle. By Lane Lambert.

- With photo

- Also listed in the Music category

SNEAK PREVIEW: 'The Princess and the Frog' and other new movies -- Rumors that traditional pen-and-ink animation are dead have been greatly exaggerated in the mind of Disney’s animation chief, John Lasseter, who helped develop "The Princess and the Frog." By Al Alexander of The Patriot Ledger.

BRIAN MACKEY: Opinions split on movie spoilers - Because smaller towns often get Oscar-baiting, grownup movies weeks after they’ve opened elsewhere, it can be a challenge to avoid learning details of the stories.

MOVIE REVIEW: Princess & the Frog – Disney goes back to the drawing board.


LLOYD GARVER: Come on down, space aliens - Next year, Denver voters will be asked to approve the establishment of an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission. No, this is not about members of Congress having affairs in space (although all bets are off if there are motels out there). This is about creating a mood in Denver that would welcome beings from outer space to the Mile High City.

SCOTT C. SMITH: Susan Boyle, everyone’s dream -- Are you one of the more than 100 million people who watched that fateful performance of Susan Boyle on YouTube? You know, the one in which she won the heart of the whole world?

- Art: column mug

GRANLUND CARTOON: On parents giving the 'birds and the bees' talk

EDITORIAL: Debate the science of climate change, not the e-mails – With thousands of serious-minded people gathered in Copenhagen to plan a global response to the multiple threats from a changing climate, global warming-deniers are making a big deal out some stolen e-mails. By the MetroWest Daily News.


MOTHER THERESA: Religious image appears on woman's cutting board -- Wendy Golini has a reputation as boisterous conversationalist, a reputation well known to the customers at her Cedar Perk restaurant on West Emerson Street in Melrose, but when she recently saw an image of Mother Teresa on her cutting board at the restaurant, Golini said she only shared it with a few friends. By Daniel DeMaina of the Melrose Free Press.

Art: 3 photos

SERVICE MEDALS: World War II vet receives honors long delayed -- James. J. Medeiros Sr. came home from the Pacific campaign in World War II with shrapnel permanently embedded in his body. Now he has different and more visible emblems of his service. Medeiros, now 88, and recovering from a stroke, finally received his service medals from the battles he fought during the Pacific Campaign. By Dan Mac Alpine.

- Art: photo

Business / Ag

SHOESTRING LIVING: As tax season approaches, get your bucks in a row - As the last few weeks of 2009 wind down, there’s something to think about besides the impending holidays. Unfortunately, it’s not as fun - it’s tax season. For those of us trying to pay down debt, save more or plan for something special next year, it’s crucial to get a jump on our tax time preparation by tidying up some loose ends before the ball drops. By Molly Logan Anderson.

DAVE RAMSEY: Weekly financial Q&A, with items on co-signing and how to find a good bank.

PAUL EISENSTEIN: Weekly auto column (runs on auto page): Toyota snubbed in new study.

BIZ BITS: Weekly business rail, with tips on getting your debt under control, a warning from the BBB about fake H1N1 emails and more.

MAKING CENTS: Inexpensive ways to say thank you - Now that lavish holiday gatherings, bonuses and other costly expressions of gratitude for employees are unaffordable for many small firms, employers should consider other ways to express their thanks.

- With column mug

CHECKOUT LANE: Picking out the perfect Christmas tree - Lydia Mathias, owner of Bog Hollow Farm in Kingston, Mass., says buyers should consider how the tree will look in their house. “When you’re looking at the tree in your house, it seems like it’s grown because your perspective is different in the house, so you really have to think about that before you go to the field.” By Sara Castellanos.

- With photos

- Localize it: Talk to tree farm owners in your area and add/sub out their quotes, offerings.

FINE PRINT: AAA membership pays for itself in travel discounts - Membership in AAA is perhaps best known for providing quick access to towing services. But I've been able to take advantage of my membership several times this year, even though (knock on wood) my 1997 Civic hasn't broken down anywhere in the past 12 months. By Jon Chesto.

HOLIDAY SPENDING: Advice on holiday spending, and how to manage it so you don’t overspend. CANTON, Ohio. Includes tips and photo. TO LOCALIZE: Check with local credit counselors for comments to add, and use a photo of someone shopping locally.

FARM EMPLOYMENT: Weather affects more than harvest; fewer workers hired. STUTTGART, Ark.

HOLIDAY PARTIES: Companies trim holiday parties again amid economic downturn - A nationwide survey by consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas charted deep cuts in holiday parties this year. Only 62 percent of companies will hold a party this year, down from 77 percent in 2008 and from 90 percent in 2007. By Steve Adams.

- With photos

- Localize it: Talk to companies in your area and get information, quotes.


NASCAR PAGE: 2010 preview page. NOTE: This is our last page of the 2009 season. The weekly page will return just before the season starts next year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATION: No clear Heisman winner this year - Ladies and gentleman, the winner of the 2009 Heisman Trophy is ... a mystery. For the first time in a while, since Eric Crouch won the award in 2001, no one jumps out, no one or two players had such statistically superb seasons that they separated themselves from the rest. By Eric Avidon.

FANTASY FOOTBALL: Let the stress begin this week - Joey looks ahead to next year and breaks down some of the best match-ups in the first playoff week of the season. By Joey Baskerville.