National budget 3.15.11

Staff reports

GateHouse News Service National Budget


Contacts: Lisa Glowinski, (217) 816-3343,

Michael Toeset is off today.


WAKE UP CALL!: Church-goers and divorce

TOP 50: GH sites' pageviews for February


NASCAR PAGE: Bristol 101

SPRING CAR CARE: What you need to know to get the best resale value, on buying insurance and more

KIDZBUZZ: The science of rainbows


NEW GO GREEN TAB: Stories on eco-friendly auto and workplace trends, and templated pages for local event listings and volunteer profiles


APRIL FAMILY: With features on getting the most miles out of the family car, dog obedience training and recycling old electronics

MARCH RADARFROG PAGE: Save on car rentals

MARCH RADARFROG COUPON BOOK: Be your own handyman; get rid of pests naturally

ST. PATRICK'S DAY CALLOUT: For photos of parades and other green parties


JAPAN: Content on the quake, tsunami

-- NOTE: We are also adding to the content package on your sites as news warrants. If you didn't get this package on your site and want it, contact or 630-348-3350.

KENT BUSH: Everyone can help someone - With more than 10,000 likely dead in Japan and billions of dollars in damage, people there need our help. There are many local causes that are very important as well. How do you decide who to help? I don't think there is a wrong answer - except for no. By Kent Bush, Augusta, Kan.

BRITT CARTOON: Nuclear safety. By Chris Britt, Springfield, Ill.


FAMILY TIME: Playdate tips - Weekly family rail, with playdate tips to keep toddlers and preschoolers happy and busy, a review of “Mars Needs Moms” and more. By GHNS.

* Localization tip: Any of the first three items can be localized – ask a local family counselor to provide a tip of the week, ask movie-going parents to give reviews of movies or ask youngsters to send in book reviews.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Cooking with kids -- weekly Food for Thought with items on kid-friendly kitchen activities, a Loaded Potato Casserole recipe, “The New Wine Lover’s Companion” by Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst and more. By GHNS

RECIPE: A leek is neither an onion nor garlic  -- Somewhere between the onion and garlic hides the leek. Tucked between the two, the leek is easy to miss, which is a shame. Here's the recipe for Leek, Mushroom and Potato Frittata. Lainie Steelman/ The McDonough County Voice (Macomb, Ill.)

CELL PHONE ETIQUETTE: Cell phone etiquette? What's that? - A recent survey, commissioned by Intel, quantified what just about everybody has sensed: The blatant misuse of cell phones and other wireless devices in public is rampant and getting worse. By Scott Hilyard, Peoria, Ill.

* Localization tip: Add quotes from local experts, restaurant owners, cell phone users and the like. Also, ask for comments from readers on what they think proper cell phone etiquette is.

GARDEN TOOLS: Gardening equipment to simplify your urge to dig in the dirt - Select versatile garden tools to make your life easier. By Tamara Browning, Springfield, Ill.

* Localization tip: Swap out quotes for local resources.

GARDENING: Redtwig dogwood offers vibrant color -- The dogwood genus consists of a variety of plants: woodland ground covers, shrubs and trees that can grow 40 feet high. While many of these make excellent additions to the home landscape, none are more versatile than the redtwig dogwoods. Joan Butler / Holliston TAB (Mass.)

HOME DECOR: Artful wrought iron designs back in fashion -- The wonder is the welder who does in steel what the carver does in wood or stone –– the same delicate, swirling vines and intricate, lace-like designs. Wrought iron, as in the layman's term for decorative metals –– be it steel, stainless steel or construction-grade aluminum –– is fashionable again. Pam Adams/ Journal Star (Ill.)

* Localization tip: Interview local home decorators and ironwork professionals on the popularity of wrought iron and how to incorporate in one's home decor.

DENNIS VOLKERT: Outward, ho! A story of population shifts - Space shuttle Discovery completed its final voyage last week, and it now will be taken to the Smithsonian Institution. Discovery reportedly will make its journey from?Cape Canaveral to Washington strapped to the top of a jumbo jet. By Dennis Volkert, Sturgis, Mich.

PETER CHIANCA: To bee or not to (spelling) bee - I have now been through three elementary school spelling bees, two with my daughter and one with my son, and each time I’ve wondered how this age-old tradition has managed to survive the movement to eradicate all vestiges of competition from American childhood. Clearly somebody’s been paid off. By Peter Chianca, North Shore, Mass.

JULIE FAY: Progress engenders excitement and nostalgia - Something is happening to my children. The 9-year-old stands as tall as my shoulders. The 6-year-old can finally zip his coat. The 5-year-old can tie his own shoes most of the time. By Julie Fay, The Patriot Ledger.

DR. JEFF HERSH: Hiccups sometimes aren't so little -- Q: I seem to get the hiccups every couple of months. Once they lasted almost an hour. Why does this happen? A: Hiccups are involuntary contractions, or spasms, of the diaphragm and the muscles between the ribs, or the intercostal muscles, that cause a sudden inspiration. MetroWest Daily News (Mass.)

DR. MURRAY FEINGOLD: Are statin drugs like Lipitor safe? -- In 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first statin drug to be sold in the United States in order to lower cholesterol levels. There are now seven statin drugs available, with Lipitor being one of the highest-selling drugs in the world. MetroWest Daily News (Mass.)


RICK HOLMES: Return to the scene of the crime - Wall Street celebrated the second birthday of the bull market this week with typical self-congratulation. The stock market has risen 95.6 perent since hitting bottom on March 9, 2009. By Rick Holmes, MetroWest, Mass.

RICHARD HERMANN: Supreme Court's Synder ruling: Absolutist, absolutely wrong - “Sticks and stones …” aside, words and images do have consequences, perhaps never more than now when they are broadcast in real time. By Richard Hermann, Messenger Post, N.Y.