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Five main front page stories and only one of them about politics:

1. Health care costs eat into budgets

2. Price cuts rouse housing market

3.Americans abandoning the faiths of their fathers

4. Starbucks learns there’s more to coffee than coffee

5. A fierce blitz aims to draw contrasts

In 2017, consumers and taxpayers will be spending more than $four trillion on health care. A 6.7 percent average annual increase in spending will be driven by higher prices and more demand for care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday.

Other factors include a growing and aging population. The first wave of baby boomers become eligible for Medicare in 2011. And with the aging population, the federal government will be picking up the tab for a growing share of the nation’s medical expenses.

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January home sales in Southwest Florida increase as sellers adjust. This gave further credence to Realtors who contend that this market is ahead of the rest of the state if not the nation in recovery. The four percent increase in sales for Sarasota-Bradenton and the thirteen percent increase for the Charlotte County-North Port marked 2 of only 3 sales gains for Florida’s twenty largest markets. Panama City had a one percent gain, the Florida Association of Realtors Reported Monday.

But the sales gain came at a cost, with the median sales price dropping-thirteen percent in Sarasota Bradenton and twenty-one percent in Charlotte County-North Port-as sellers continued to adjust to the realities of today’s marketplace. Lower pricing is the only way to attract buyers.

More than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or profess no religion, according to a new survey of religious affiliation.

The report, by the Pew Forum titled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” depicts a highly fluid and diverse national religious life. If shifts among protestant denominations are included then it appears that 44 percent of Americans have switched religious affiliations.

It shows that every religion is losing and gaining members, but that the Roman Catholic Church “has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.” The survey also indicated that the group that had the greatest net gain was the un- affiliated. Sixteen percent of American adults say they are not part of any organized faith , which makes the un-affiliated the country’s fourth- largest “religious group.”

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Coffee aficionados addicted to an afternoon pick-me-up may have had to get to a different coffee shop on Tuesday afternoon. Starbucks closed all its stores on Tuesday afternoon to give its baristas a refresher course in making a proper latte and in providing stellar customer service. Starbucks is on a mission.

After reporting its first decrease in customer visits last year, the Seattle-based coffee-maker wants to win back customers who have been less then impressed with customer service and who may have switched to competitors offering cheaper specialty coffees.

A fierce blitz aimed to draw contrasts as Clinton opened new lines of attack. After struggling for months to dent Sen. Obama’s candidacy, the campaign of Sen. Hilary Clinton is unleashing what one campaign aid is calling a “kitchen sink “ fusillade against Obama . The effort reflects not only Clinton’s recognition that the next round of primaries-in Ohio and Texas on March 4 -are must-win contests for her.


Kevin Freking, The Associated Press, Manatee Herald-Tribune, P.1

Stephen Frater, Manatee Herald-Tribune, P.1

Neela Banerjee, The New York Times, Manatee Herald-Tribune, P.1

Toni Whitt, Manatee Herald-Tribune, P.1

Patrick Healy, The New York Times, Manatee Herald-Tribune, P.1


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An OEN Editor. Born-03/20/1934, BA Pol. Sci.-U of Washington-1956, MBA-Seattle U-1970, Boeing-Program Control-1957-1971, State of Oregon-Mental Health Division-Deputy Admistrator-1971-1979, llinois Association of Community MH (more...)

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