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:

Slideshow: How Illinois newspapers presented Blagojevich impeachment

News

OBAMA’S ROOTS TRACE BACK TO PLYMOUTH AND NEW WORLD'S EARLIEST SETTLERS - The Hawaiian-born, half-Kenyan president-elect is a direct, 13th-generation descendant of Thomas Blossom, one of the Plymouth colony’s earliest settlers.
Ledger, Lambert, on wire now
With two illustrations and sidebars
DOWNLOAD PDF OF FAMILY TREE
DOWNLOAD PDF OF OBAMA AS A PILGRIM

GAS PRICE DECLINES DON'T PRODUCE SAVINGS FOR ALL - When gas prices hit record highs last summer, food prices quickly followed suit, but now that prices at the gas pump have come down, prices at the grocery counter are staying high and will likely remain that way.
MetroWest, Mineo, on wire now
With photo

GUARDIAN ANGEL BRUTALLY BEATEN IN BROCKTON - The public relations spokesman for the Guardian Angels group working to stem violence in the city says he was attacked, brutally beaten and left to die near a downtown church Saturday night.    William “Pat” Patterson, 50, a former marine who has worked with the Guardian Angels for five years, said he was severely beaten as robbers stole money from him as he walked to the Elmcourt Hotel on West Elm Street, where he is staying, around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Enterprise, Papadopoulos, on wire now
With photos

'ALL I SAW IN FRONT OF ME WERE CARS:' CAMBRIDGE STUDENT RECALLS 59-CAR PILEUP - Cambridge Rindge and Latin senior Jonathan Sung will never forget his Sunday ski trip. Sung, 17, who was on a school bus with the CRLS ski club, was sleeping when it felt like the bus he was riding in hit two logs. Little did he know, the bus was part of a 59-car pileup in New Hampshire.
Cambridge Chronicle/TAB, Harris, on wire now

SEX OFFENDERS COUNT ON TRUST TO PREY ON CHILDREN - There have been dozens of coaches and teachers throughout the region accused of rape and sexual misconduct, including a Walpole football coach last month, a female Abington elementary teacher last week and a male Middleboro high school teacher three years ago.
Enterprise, Boyle, on wire now

NEW LAW INCREASES PENALTIES FOR WATCHING ANIMAL FIGHTS - A stronger statute aimed at discouraging animal fight exhibitions was signed into law last week. The law toughens penalties for spectators at animal fighting events - the source of profit for animal fighting trainers and fight organizers. It was spearheaded by state Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Sharon, and co-sponsored by state Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham.
MetroWest, McCarron, on wire now

CELL PHONE BAN FOR DRIVERS: IS IT CALLED FOR? - A national safety group is calling on states to require drivers to hang up and focus on the road, and many drivers are agreeing with them, to a degree.
MetroWest, Hatch, on wire now

Business

PERMITTING PROCESS SEEN AS A DETERRENT TO BIOTECH GROWTH - Developing a more streamlined permitting process is essential if cities and towns want to improve their chances of landing biotech companies, the president of the Massachusetts Biotech Council said Friday.
Daily News Tribune, Conn, on wire now
With photo

BLUE HILLS SKI AREA SEES LIFT IN SALES DESPITE POOR ECONOMY - The Canton ski area has seen a marked increase in season-pass sales, ski lessons and business in general this winter.
Ledger, Saldinger, on wire now
With photos

MASS. MARKET: POWER PLANT CHIEF LISTENS TO CRITICS - Despite heated opposition to a proposed power plant in Brockton, Advanced Power is gearing up to build two similarly sized projects in the state. But Tom Spang, the president of the Swiss company's North American operations, says the firm will take a somewhat different approach with its next two natural gas-fired power plants, which it hopes to unveil within the next few months.
Ledger, on wire now

MAKING CENTS: WATCH OVER YOUR MONEY TO AVOID SCANDALS - Last month, the financial world was shocked by a scandal of perilous proportion thanks to con artist Bernie Madoff. Situations like this raise questions you once thought unspeakable. Well, when it comes to your personal finances, nothing is unspeakable.
Ledger, on wire now

CHECKOUT LANE: FIND A GYM THAT'S FIT FOR YOU - Another year, another resolution to start exercising. If you choose the right gym to join this year, you might just follow through on that resolution past January.
Ledger, Onufrak, on wire now
With photos

Opinions

DAN MAC ALPINE: TAX CUTS TOO SWEET FOR STIMULUS PACKAGE? - President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package now includes some $300 billion in tax cuts for businesses and the amorphous middle class. This is on top of the first stimulus package in which we received cash rebates. That’s a lot of sweets.
CNC, on wire now

JEFF ADAIR: SPEEDING TICKETS INSTEAD OF OVERRIDES - The economic outlook is gloomy. Cities and towns are hurting. They need money to keep municipal services operating.
MetroWest, on wire now

EDITORIAL: GRIM JOBS OUTLOOK - Here in Massachusetts and across the country, the news on jobs is bad. Real bad.
MetroWest, on wire now

LAWRENCE R. VELVEL: A PRACTICAL SOLUTION TO GUANTANAMO - The reason the Bush administration wanted to use military tribunals to try prisoners at Guantanamo was that evidence against them had been obtained by torture and therefore could not be used against them in federal courts. Back in 2004, this was completely unrecognized, and not even covered, by the news media. Subsequently, the point became widely known and, indeed, conceded.
MetroWest, guest column,, Lawrence R. Velvel is dean of the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, on wire now

RICK HOLMES: BREAKING THE SILENCE ON ADDICTION - The economic cost of addiction - $534 billion, according to one government estimate - doesn't begin to tell the story. What's the price of a broken heart, an abused child or a wasted life? But we don't talk much about addiction, and we don't talk about it with intelligence or even curiosity. The public conversation rarely gets beyond "just say no," "lock'em up," and "don't drink and drive."
MetroWest, on wire now

EDITORIAL: LIFT THE CAP ON MASS. CHARTER SCHOOLS - In the 15 years since they were created, the debate over charter schools in Massachusetts has been polarized over issues of financing and authority. Too little attention has been paid to the most important question: How well are charter school students learning?
MetroWest, on wire now

JACOB AZERRAD: HOW MANY MORE REBECCA RILEYS? - In a 2007 “60 Minutes” episode, Katie Couric focused on the short life of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley of Hull. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 3, she was dead one year later from an overdose of a psychotropic drug cocktail. At one point, Couric asks Rebecca’s mother, who has been charged with her daughter’s murder, if she thinks her child’s behavior might have been normal.
Ledger, guest column, on wire now

Sports

WATCH FOR PRO SPORTS at prosports@gatehousemediane.com

Lifestyles

VIDEO: JOHN LEHR TAKES UNIQUE DIRECTION ON '10 ITEMS OR LESS' - John Lehr started as a class clown in Kansas and has made his way to a third season as the co-creator and actor on the TBS show “10 Items or Less.”
Ledger, Saldinger, on wire now
With photo

MFA CELEBRATES BOSTON'S SISTER CITY KYOTO WITH 2 EXHIBITS - Your socks are soaked with slush. Howie Mandell seems to be on every channel. And money's too tight for any trip further away than Revere. So why not visit Kyoto, Boston's magnificent "sister city" where artworks from the past and present reveal Japan's continuing reverence for craftsmanship, natural harmony and sublime beauty.
MetroWest, Bergeron, on wire now
With photos