Story ideas for Journalists:
Is pollution really polluting your population
Nearly 50,000 people die each year unnecessarily through air pollution. Health costs to society as a result of pollution could be equal to those dealing with alcohol abuse. Speak to local NHS bodies, health and ‘green’ groups and care associations.

Helping people enjoy a ‘wheelie’ good:
There’s nothing more socially unpleasant than a row of drunk men (and sometimes women) urinating into shop doorways or onto streets during nights out on the town. But police and Eastleigh Borough Council, in Hampshire, are considering putting up wheelie.

Finding people ‘armed’ with good skill:
Hire a Hero – a company which helps ex-military personnel find work – is apparently being inundated with offers. Read more about it here. Surely businesses on your patch could make use of former military staff…if they aren’t already Have.

A ‘bleeping’ ridiculous idea:
New government plans could see children undergo annual fitness tests including the dreaded ‘bleep tests’. Bleep tests involve running between two markers before a bleep sounds with the intervals becoming increasingly shorter. They are used by, among others, emergency services

Age ain’t nothing but a numb:
People in their 90s could be allowed to sit on juries after proposals to scrap age limits were mooted. But fears have been raised that elderly people would struggle to follow court cases

Some places are just streets ahead:
A centuries-old cobbled shopping street in York has been voted the nation’s most picturesque. The Shambles topped the poll in the Google Street View Awards ahead of picturesque spots in Bath and Newcastle. Did your town get a look in.

‘Glad’ to be in employment:
Sainsbury’s checkout girl Gladys Smith has just celebrated her 90th birthday. The nonagenarian started working for the supermarket chain in Basingstoke 22 years ago to earn a bit of extra Christmas cash. Read more about her here.

Making diagnosis a bit smarter:
Aggressive children and stressed out teachersPawnbroker is far from broke
No-one takes glee in tales of financial misery affecting individuals during a recession but (perhaps) it would be difficult to have too much sympathy for the super rich. A pawnbroker from Oxford appears to be swamped with sports carrs.

No-one exempt from stop and search:
Police stop and searches on ten-year-old children has doubled in the past year in the capital, new stats suggest. A total of 755 children were stopped by police during the 2008-09 financial year which is a record. Some more facts.
A cautionary tale about caution:
Punish the parents playing with the truthClocking the rise of accidentsPeaking populations on your patch?
Population growth and immigration has been high up the news agenda during 2009 and the Office of National Statistics now believes the UK could hit the 71m mark by 2033. This is less than half the time it took for.
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Passing up paternity potential:
There are many things which could make someone fearful of harming their career prospects – abusing the office internet, “getting to know” the boss’ daughter……and paternity leave. A new report suggests that around half of all new dads are refusing

Where’s the training for domestic matters?
Police in around 75pc of forces get no specialist training in dealing with domestic violence cases, new figures suggest. But what does your local force say? They might let you take part in training initiatives or meet victims of domestic

Mapping crime gets interactive:
A new interactive online map allows users to compare crime rates across different towns in England and Wales. It colour codes areas based on levels of reporting crime and gives rates for burglaries and robberies among other offences. The service

Sometimes the cap doesn’t fit:
Around 30,000 students are said to have missed out on a university place in the 2009/10 academic year because of a capping system imposed by the government. So how has this manifested itself in the working world? Have your local

Remembering Berlin 20 years on:
9 November 2009 is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not exactly a “hyperlocal” story but that doesn’t mean to say newspapers shouldn’t mark it. Have a look back through your archives to see how your

Helping staff avoid ‘sole survivor’ syndrome:
Local papers across the country have been reporting mass-scale redundancies while websites like HoldtheFrontPage have turned the spotlight on job losses in our industry. But what happens to the staff and companies which are left behind? Business psychologists say that

Staying at home to handle debt:
Regular readers of the stories ideas page may remember the ‘Neets’ – those pesky young people ‘not in education, employment nor training’. Well it seems that The Ministry of Silly Acronyms have now come up with a new one: the

Take aim for some artistry:
Guns are used for a host of activities – from war to catching your dinner. But one sharp-shooter from Alabama is using his nation’s “right to bear arms” to get in touch with his creative side. Walton Crell picked up

Green graves could be the future:
Recycling has been the buzz word for years but the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium is taking things to the next level. A typical grave can hold up to six bodies so the cemetery is contacting certain families to

Helping to tackle the demons:
A week doesn’t go by without a new study coming out telling us what is and isn’t good for us to eat and drink or which activities will or won’t harm us. But what are the realities for people battle

Possibly preventing something premature:
Premature births are on the up in Scotland by 16pc since 1980, according to new research. Much of the increase has been linked to obesity-related diabetes, say scientists from Edinburgh University. Is this a geographical problem affecting certain regions?

Teaching primary about the bottom line:
Would-be pitchers to the Dragons’ Den should be getting much younger. One of the stars of the hit BBC show Peter Jones told the launch of a national enterprise scheme that primary school children should be taught how to run

Giving drugs to cut crime:
Using the public purse to prescribe drugs to drug addicts as a means of cutting crime may cause some to scoff. But a pilot project at a London hospital appears to have shown dramatic results in its area in terms

Voter apathy taken to extremes:
Voter apathy rather than bad weather is often cited as reasons for a poor turn out on election day. But how about Harrow Council’s attempts to canvass the opinions of locals as an example of people simply not giving a

Being a butcher for all seasons:
Small, independent businesses are often the first to suffer in a recession. And some reports now suggest that traditional butchers are closing at a rate of 23 per month during 2009. By contrast, there has been an upsurge in classes
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Sweetie shop stop-off en route to school:
Almost a quarter of seven to 14-year-olds are chomping their way through junk food on their way to school. A new survey by cereal maker Kellogg’s also suggests that around £646m is being spent per year on biscuits, crisps and

There’s warning signs to be spotted:
Ignorance is bliss so the saying goes but perhaps not when it comes to matters of personal health. A worrying new survey from Cancer Research UK suggests that one in seven people cannot name a single symptom of the disease.

Bored but are they boozing?
The devil will find work for idle hands to do – and one alcohol charity is worried that bored teenagers will hit the bottle over the summer holidays. Drinkaware has created ‘The Ultimate Day’ – a competition which challenges teenagers

Helping out with hand-me-downs:
New research from Save the Children and Family Action suggests that families across the UK are struggling to buy school uniforms and essential educational items for their children. Around a quarter of those surveyed, earning £30,000 or less, said they

Tackling the rise of the tasers:
Deployment of tasers by police increased by 25pc in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the final three months of 2008. New figures show they were actually discharged 62 times during the period – a rise of 56pc. The

Losing weight – there’s an app for that:
Love them or loath them, Apple iPhones are very popular and generally everywhere you turn. The marketing and technology companies have had a field day with some 65,000 applications being created since the phone first hit shelves.

Pub, pint, peanuts, parcel, parting:
The plight of the postal service, and particularly small post offices, has been well-documented in recent years. Meanwhile, the local pub is also struggling during the recession as people stay in or flock to cheap drinks promotions in town centre

Take inspiration from this failure:
A world record attempt to photograph the highest number of bikini-clad women in one place proved a miserable failure. The bid on an Essex beach attracted just 42 women – a figure somewhat shy of the current record which stands

Taking Memory Lane to court:
Nostalgia features and Memory Lane slots have been a staple of the local paper for decades. But now they can take a darker and more sinister twist. Website Ancestry.co.uk has published details of more than a million court trials from

Could the unaware be made more aware?
Over half the population is unaware that dementia can kill while 70pc wrongly think it is mainly a hereditary illness. The eye-opening stats came out of research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society which also showed that two-thirds of those surveyed

Going away from the grape:
Scenes of young, sophisticated types enjoying a glass of Chablis as they put the world to rights may be becoming a thing of the past. Research suggests that the 25 to 34 age range are deserting the grape, leading to

Don’t bumble about with bumblebees:
Not enough is being done to protect the future of the humble honeybee. According to MP Edward Leigh, chair of the public accounts committee, colonies are dying at an alarming rate. Speak to your local bee farm and see how

Some people will do anything for Olympic glory:
Footballers and F1 drivers are exceptionally well paid but for other sportsmen and women chasing the Olympic dream, the reality is somewhat harsher. Undeterred by the daunting task of raising around £77,000 to reach the 2012 Games in London, New

Kids will be ‘leaning on the lamppost:
Most of us can recall with a sweaty-palmed sense of fear being made to sing or play an instrument in front of our peers and parents at primary school. Now a school in the West Midlands has decided to add

What’s in a name?
American sweethearts Kelly Hildebrandt and, erm, Kelly Hildebrandt will be tying the knot. The name-sharing couple met via Facebook after the female version sent her male counterpart a message about the fact they shared the same name. Take a trip
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