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GateHouse regional editors lead projects throughout the country

Fourteen regional publishers in GateHouse and dozens of GateHouse newsrooms participated in organized regional projects on topics as varied as state corporate tax increases and post office closures during the second quarter. We'll feature each project on GHnewsroom.com to give you a look at the work being done throughout the company.


Fourteen regional publishers in GateHouse and dozens of GateHouse newsrooms participated in organized regional projects on topics as varied as state corporate tax increases and post office closures during the second quarter. We'll feature each project on GHnewsroom.com to give you a look at the work being done throughout the company.

As an overview, here are the topics and summaries of those regional projects and their editors

PROJECTS FOR SECOND QUARTER

BOB HEISSE - Illinois large papers

TOPIC: Following up on the corporate income tax increase

SUMMARY: Nearly two years ago Illinois made national news when it increased taxes on business by 66 percent. This sparked anger in the business community, including threats to leave, and other states came recruiting with sweet offers. Headline after headline reported Illinois’ decision and the potential loss to the state. So what has happened in the 18 months the law has been in effect? How many businesses have left, and did they go to states like Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey that led the recruiting effort? Or did Illinois businesses largely stay. 

LOCALIZATION:

SJ-R SIDEBAR: A year ago the legislature and Gov. Quinn overhauled the workers’ comp law, a major concern of Illinois’ businesses. Have things improved? No, because a year they are still drawing up how to implement the law.

ROCKFORD SIDEBAR: A close look at Wisconsin and its overtures in the Rockford area in particular.

CHICAGO SIDEBAR: The city is openly recruiting business from the suburbs and has lured a company from Downer’s Grove. 

PEORIA SIDEBAR: A look at Caterpillar – very vocal but staying home and having a great year.

LORI KILCHERMANN - Michigan

TOPIC: Elderly Abuse

SUMMARY: Elderly abuse is on the rise in Michigan. The age of the population is increasing, meaning there are more potential victims. The abuse is financial as well as physical, and often difficult to prosecute the offenders because they are caretakers or family  members.

LOCALIZATION: Interview local folks from the area commission on aging, department of health and human services and prosecutor offices. Local video, too.

MIKE CHRISTOPHERSON - Minnesota & North Dakota

TOPIC: Post offices closures, reduced hours/staff/services

SUMMARY: In speaking with the papers in southern Minnesota and Devils Lake, it appears every paper to some degree is being affected by these reductions. Troy Krause in Redwood Falls is going to write essentially the umbrella story about the issue in general and how it impacts communities in that region.

LOCALIZATION: Stories will be published in Devils Lake, Redwood Falls, Sleepy Eye, Montevideo, Granite Falls, St. James and Cottonwood.

TERRY GEESE - Southern Illinois

TOPIC: Rural plight

SUMMARY: The project will examine the volume of dilapidated homes in southern Illinois communities, which are both a danger to residents and cause this part of the state to look shabby.

LOCALIZATION: How extensive theproblem is in the different  communities and how it is being handled. Going outside the “official” stories and seeking out neighbors of decrepit properties to tell their stories — worries about water-filled basements with kids playing in the properties, etc. 

TOM MARTIN - Central Illinois

TOPIC: County fairs and 4H fair funding cuts. 

SUMMARY: A look at how the state funds county fairs and how the budget constraints are affecting that funding.

LOCALIZATION: Numbers from all the counties in the region in graphic format. Individual papers will write about how their county is dealing with less money.

NEW ENGLAND - Sarah Corbitt

TOPIC: Empty Nest Egg

SUMMARY: Municipalities aren’t funding municipal employee pension fund accounts

LOCALIZATION: Reporters in each community are having municipal administrator fill out local data questionnaire, shoot video of impacted municipal employee talking about the issue and how it could affect them

RICK JENSEN - New York

TOPIC: State of the graduate

SUMMARY: Where is the Class of 2012 going? Higher ed, vocational training, military, straight to the job market. What is the job market like.

LOCALIZATION: Video of local grad talking about their plans

KRIS WORRELL - New York & Pennsylvania

TOPIC: Hydrofracking update

SUMMARY: A look at where the controversial method of extracting petroleum and natural gas stands in New York and Pennsylvania

LOCALIZATION: Economic costs to local communities, what’s next for local communities

DALE BRENDEL - Nebraska, Kansas & Missouri

TOPIC: Tornado preparedness

SUMMARY: A focus on lessons learned from past tornados, with safety tips and a profile of a Q5 tornado chaser from Leavenworth.

LOCALIZATION: Each location is following up on an angle. Independence is working on an emergency preparedness graphic and photo gallery. Maryville is doing a sidebar on new tornado sirens and how alerts are coordinated across the region. Nebraska City and Sycamore are doing a story on safety for storm chasers. Hamburg is doing an update on a nearby town devastated by a tornado, and how recovery efforts are going.

DALE BRENDEL - Missouri

TOPIC: Effects of poverty on communities, and from a regional perspective

SUMMARY: Centerpiece (by Pittsburg) focuses on median incomes in the region and how the poverty level is increasing and leading to blighted areas.

LOCALIZATION: Greenfield, Neosho, Carthage and Aurora are each contributing a piece – focusing on local organizations (or churches) who help people in need.

DALE BRENDEL - Kansas

TOPIC: Diabetes

SUMMARY: People-focused story about how diabetes affects those who have it and their families, and how treatment options have evolved. Newton is writing the centerpiece – a feature with a man who has lived with diabetes for more than 60 years.

LOCALIZATION: McPherson is doing a sidebar on childhood diabetes. El Dorado is doing a piece on a local program that is celebrating 15 years of certification with the ADA. The offer regional services. Augusta is doing a breakout on risk factors. Andover is doing a piece on the Mid-American Diabetes Association, which has an office in Wichita.

WENDY LEDBETTER - Arkansas & Louisiana

TOPIC: Travel on the cheap

SUMMARY: A roundup of local vacation and recreation spots and why they’ve great. Focus will be on inexpensive or free events/places that people can get to as a day trip.

LOCALIZATION: Each site is contributing an event or place, submitting photos to run as a common gallery.

JASON HUNSICKER - Missouri

TOPIC: Homeless population

SUMMARY: With the economy still in the dumps, a rising homeless population is becoming more of a problem. Main bar will delve into some of the factors behind the rise in homelessness, as well as government efforts to curb the problem.

LOCALIZATION: Local papers will be taking up where the government left off – what local organizations, churches, etc. are doing to solve the problem in their communities.

HEATHER DODDS - California

TOPIC: State cuts to school budgets

SUMMARY: In a May revision of the budget, the state cut funding to school districts – from the elementary level to state colleges. The lack of funding is causing many districts to scramble in order to make up the difference.

LOCALIZATION: Gridley is working on a roundup of school impact in Butte County, with a photo gallery of end-of-year school events. Siskiyou and Mt. Shasta are focusing on cuts at the elementary level, as well as the State College of the Siskiyous, with a photo gllaery of the packing up process at a local school that is being closed due to budget cuts. Taft’s community college wasn’t impacted that badly, so they’re doing a sidebar on that with a photo gallery of an arts program at the school. Ridgecrest is planning a similar piece on its local community college.

BRIAN TRAHAN - Louisiana

TOPIC: Hurricane preparedness

SUMMARY: History of powerful hurricanes in Louisiana and what residents and emergency responded have learned from those incidents. Story will focus on Katrina, Rita and Gustav.

LOCALIZATION: Leesville is doing a sidebar on the Offices of Emergency Management on how they provide aid to evacuees. DeRidder is doing a sidebar on how the National Weather Service categorizes and tracks storms. Plaquemine is outlining the major evacuation routes throughout the state. Gonzales is doing a timeline on preparedness – when to stock up at the store, when to board up windows, etc. Sulphur is doing a sidebar on how much recent storms have cost the state, with a focus on Cameron, which was wiped out by Rita in 2005.

KIM BENEDICT - Oklahoma & Tennessee

TOPIC: Bullying in schools

SUMMARY: Mainbar is on the prevalence of bullying in the schools and measures parents and districts can take to combat it. Will try to get a sense of how social media is making the problem more complicated.

LOCALIZATION: Each newspaper is writing a sidebar that focuses on local districts and how they currently deal with school bullying.

JOYCE MILLER - Missouri

TOPIC: Cheap escapes

SUMMARY: A roundup of local vacation and recreation spots and why they’ve great. Focus will be on inexpensive or free events/places that people can get to as a day trip.

LOCALIZATION: Each site is contributing an event or place, submitting photos to run as a common gallery.

CANDI HILL - Colorado & Kansas

TOPIC: Wind turbines

SUMMARY: A new farm bill made some funding available for wind farm construction. Colorado wants to be at the forefront of wind turbine technology, but it comes with a high price tag and controversy. There will be a photo gallery of existing wind farms in Colorado, and possibly a video of wind turbine construction that is going on now.

LOCALIZATION: Each paper is writing a sidebar talking to local officials about how they see the impact in their communities. Some are really happy about the possible investment, but others are opposed to the turbines because they allegedly kill birds. Each paper is also doing a “word on the street” with local residents, asking their opinions of the turbines.

Look for details of each project in the coming days on GHnewsroom.
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