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:

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News

OBAMA'S STIMULUS CREDIT IS THERE ... YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK HARD - Unless you look closely, you might not notice, but part of the federal stimulus bill is starting to appear in most people's paychecks.
MetroWest, Wasserman, on wire now

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY COMPANIES HOPING GOVERNMENT CASH BOOSTS BUSINESS - Local renewable energy businesses are optimistic the federal stimulus plan will deliver a much-needed, solar-powered jolt to so-called green projects and the region's economy.
MetroWest, Riley, on wire now
With photos

VIDEO: WORK IN PROGRESS: HOW OBAMA'S RECOVERY PLAN COMPARES TO FDR'S - Created in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt, the WPA initially called the Works Progress Administration was the largest of the New Deal agencies designed to reinvigorate a moribund economy. Between 1935 and 1943, it provided eight million jobs that led to the building of roads, public buildings and public works at a cost of more than $10 billion over the same period.
MetroWest, Bergeron, on wire now
With video and photos

TAXES LIGHT UP CIGARETTE PRICES - Rising cigarette prices mean lighting up in Massachusetts will lighten smokers' wallets, too. The federal tax on cigarettes, now 39 cents a pack, will rise to $1.01 beginning April 1. Cigarette manufacturers such as Philip Morris U.S.A. and R.J. Reynolds have already increased the price-per-pack of their products to accommodate the higher tax.
MetroWest, Hilliard, on wire now
With photo

MASS. RANKS 8TH-BEST OVERALL DEALING WITH HOMELESS KIDS - A report released this month by the National Center on Family Homelessness states that one in every 50 children in the nation is homeless, while in Massachusetts more than 17,505 youngsters don't have permanent homes.
MetroWest, Jordan, on wire now

ENTREPRENEUR WANTS YOU TO 'STATE YOUR CASE' ON LIVE ONLINE GAME SHOW - Eric Friedberg says It’s Easy to Win is the first live online game show. Eric Friedberg presses the random contestant button on the console in the basement studio of It’s Easy to Win, a Newton company that produces a live online game show.
MetroWest, Tremblay, on wire now
With photo

TOLL DELAY BUYS TIME FOR TRANSPORTATION SOLUTION, ALOISI SAYS - Secretary of Transportation James Aloisi says the delay in hiking Mass Pike tolls will give state time to develop a comprehensive transportation plan.
Beverly, MacAlpine, on wire now
With photo

FEARS ABOUT CRIME, ECONOMY TRIGGER GUN SALES - In Massachusetts and across America, the recent surge in gun buying has been fueled by fears that President Obama will restrict gun rights, and by creeping anxiety about crime and the economy.
Ledger, Kelly, on wire now
With photos

Business

JEFF RAY: RECESSION EQUALS INSPIRATION - Historically, engineers have stepped up. Adversity has fueled innovation. Today's circumstance - call it a recession, depression, disruption or collapse - is no different. Though painful, it will redistribute talent around better ideas and lay the groundwork for a robust recovery.
MetroWest, guest column, on wire now
With art

MAKING CENTS: RETIREES STILL HAVE TIME TO MAKE CHANGES TO FINANCIAL - The lousy economy and shaky investment markets have everyone concerned - but few people are more concerned than the retired or those about to retire. There are a few ways that I'd like to share to build an income base that may be a bit more tolerable of market fluctuation.
Ledger, on wire now

CHECKOUT LANE: A SAFE CAN PROTECT VALUABLES FROM FIRE, THIEVES - As the stock market plummets, you may be inclined to stuff your money under your mattress. A mattress may not be such a good idea, but a safe can protect your valuables from burglars and fire.
Ledger, Onufrak, on wire now
With photo

MASS. MARKET: STATE SHOULD MAKE SURE 'FLYING CAR' IS MASS.-BUILT - When you watch the video of the Bay State's new “flying car” serenely lifting off from the tarmac for the first time, the possibilities seem as endless as the cold March sky. Each person's vision of the future may be a little bit different, but the first, brief flight of Terrafugia Inc.'s Transition on March 5 must have sparked something in the imagination of just about everyone who heard
Ledger, Chesto, on wire now

RECESSION HAS PEOPLE TURNING TO LOW-END BOOZE, STORE OWNERS SAY - Not even liquor stores are immune to economic crisis, despite the widespread perception that the industry is recession-proof. Customers are shying away from high-end wine purchases and trading down to budget brands, store owners say. Beer sales are largely flat, with the growing popularity of craft brews somewhat offsetting declines in mainstream brands.
Ledger, Adams, on wire now
With photos

Opinions

EDITORIAL: TONE-DEAF ON BEACON HILL - The more economically insecure Americans feel, the more they resent seeing undeserving people, whether on the public, private or nonprofit payroll, rewarded with fat checks. Thus the growing roars of outrage over bonuses at AIG, swindles on Wall Street and patronage on Beacon Hill where, unfortunately, some elected leaders are too tone-deaf to hear.
MetroWest, on wire now

EDITORIAL: PUT GOVERNMENT RECORDS ONLINE - As the national Sunshine Week winds up, a number of towns in the region were honored at the State House for their work putting public documents up on their Web sites.
MetroWest, on wire now

PETER COSTA: SONGS AND SAYINGS THAT STAY WITH US - I was repairing a fence in my backyard when a song by Boz Scaggs suddenly entered my head. I have been humming it for days now and it is driving my family and my cubicle mates crazy.
CNC, on wire now

Sports

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Lifestyles

JUDY EISENBERG: PLANNING FOR SUMMER BULBS; PRUNING PUSSY WILLOWS - A pussy willows’ buds form the previous fall and open during February and early March to reveal their delightful petal-less, fuzzy silver "catkin" flowers. The best time to prune a pussy willow is after the buds have flowered.
Somerville Journal, on wire now
With photo

VIDEO: EILEEN QUINLAN'S ART PUSHES PHOTOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES - In her first solo museum exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Eileen Quinlan is showing 32 color photos taken in her studio that transform everyday objects into meditative scenes.
MetroWest, Bergeron, on wire now
With video and photos

PALMINTERI BRINGS 'A BRONX TALE' TO BOSTON - Chazz Palminteri's childhood remembrance turned into a labor of love when he wrote the play "A Bronx Tale" in which he wound up playing all 18 parts, himself and all the characters of the Bronx genre he met up with.
MetroWest, Megliola, on wire now
With photos

JOHN CENA WRESTLES HIS WAY ONTO THE BIG SCREEN - Before John Cena was a WWE superstar, the West Newbury, Mass., native headed west with a résumé that included eight years of high school and college football. He found work at a Gold’s Gym, where someone took note of his look – a blond Mohawk, a square jaw and bright blue eyes – and suggested that he get into professional wrestling. Fighting – and acting – in the wrestling ring was always the
CNC, Symkus, on wire now
With photos

WAYNE WESTCOTT: TRY INTERVAL WALKING FOR BETTER FITNESS - Walking is an excellent exercise for burning calories and for improving cardiovascular fitness. Recent research has revealed that fast walking is superior to slow walking, especially for reducing abdominal fat.
Ledger, on wire now

FIRST BATCH OF RECORDED LIVE BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERTS AVAILABLE - Here’s some good news for music lovers: When Maestro James Levine took over as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra 4½ years ago, a decision was made to record, for archival purposes, every live performance he conducted.
CNC, Symkus, on wire now
With photo

OSCAR-WINNING DIRECTOR VIEWS STAGING OF DVORÁK’S ‘RUSALKA’ AS AN EXCITING CHALLENGE - A mermaid is in love with a human prince. She consults a witch, and sacrifices everything, including her voice, to be with him. Despite her inability to speak, the prince falls for her, but the lovers soon find themselves in choppy waters.
Ledger, Fay, on wire now
With photo

SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING: LEARNING LESSONS ABOUT GENTLE DIPLOMACY - Just when I think I’m Ms. Gentle Kindly Plus, I run up against the real deal. I’m a Visigoth compared to my Japanese sister-in-law.
Ledger, on wire now

LORETTA LAROCHE: SEEN ANY REGULAR, OLD-FASHIONED WHITE TOOTHPASTE? - Does anyone know where I can find an old-fashioned tube of white toothpaste? There are so many options
Ledger, on wire now

VIDEO: HOW DO YOU PLAY THE DIDGERIDOO? - Raspy warbles mixed with low drones at the New School of Music during a recent didgeridoo workshop as participants worked on learning the Australian instrument.
Cambridge Chronicle/TAB, Ackerman, on wire now
With video and photos