HOSPITALS: A HEAVY- DUTY JOB

For nurses, it's a job almost as unpleasant as changing bedpans: moving heavy patients from stretchers to beds and back again. With the average U.S. nurse now in her mid-40s and hospitalized Americans growing more supersized each year, patient-schlepping is putting more nurses in danger of being hospitalized themselves.

OFFSHORING: GOOD PUBLIX RELATIONS

Charlie seaman used to drink Coca-Cola. Then the laid-off Atlanta tech worker heard the company was "offshoring" jobs overseas. Determined to stop patronizing companies that he believed discarded U.S. workers, Seaman began researching and eventually launched a Web site, onshorealternatives.com, that lists which companies offshore and which don't.

MONEY: MAGICAL NEW MORTGAGES

The federal reserve is expected to raise interest rates this month--but for home buyers, that seems like old news. Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages have jumped nearly a full point since March, to 6.24 percent.

Quitting Time

Come along, folks, for a journey into the jungle of the American workplace. Today we're hunting an elusive creature, one that was quite common five years ago but has rarely been seen in recent times.

Television: Tax Trouble For Abc's 'Extreme' Winne

Last fall Trent Woslum, a National Guardsman who was deployed in Iraq, got an e-mail from his wife. She'd been contacted by a new TV show called "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," which wanted to do a big renovation of their southern California home--free of charge.

Eternal Life For Frosty

For skiers, spring is the cruelest time of year. The mercury is rising, and most resorts have shut their lifts weeks ago. By Memorial Day, only a handful of high-altitude ski areas (like Colorado's Arapahoe Basin) will remain open.

Government: Cradle Of Democracy

This week nearly 2,000 residents of Concord, Mass., will skip "American Idol" to spend their evenings in the school auditorium, debating an extension to the town's sewer line.

EDUCATION: WAITING TO EXHALE

April usually signals the end of college-admissions agony, but for some it drags on: they've been wait-listed. About one in five wait-listees eventually gains admission (the odds are longer at elite schools).

FAST FOOD: FINE, HAVE IT YOUR WAY

In a 2000 survey by the National Restaurant Association, researchers detected a strange hankering: Americans said they'd like to be able to pick up "drive-thru" food at sit-down chains like Ruby Tuesday and Outback Steakhouse.

BEER 101. SERIOUSLY.

Beer is a part of life at most universities, but it's rarely found in the course catalog. For M.B.A. students at Bentley College outside Boston, however, the beverage has a prominent place in the curriculum.

HOW TO ANTE UP

Even as regulatory announcements go, this one was anticlimactic. For a decade, corporate bosses and legislators debated what to do about stock options, the compensation tool that launched so many Microsoft Millionaires and inspired so much envy during the '90s boom.

FASTER FOOD

It's 4 p.m. on a Tuesday at the Cheesecake Factory in Boston, and the restaurant's atmosphere is calm. After all, just a third of the 352 seats are full. The kitchen staff moves languidly, like a basketball team shooting its first layups. "Look at all these empty tables," says manager John Gordon. "In about a half hour they won't be." Gordon's venue is one of 75 in the Cheesecake empire; last year this location alone grossed $12.8 million--more than three times the sales of the average Outback...

BREAKING THE BROKERS

When Larry and Jean Weed of Sparks, Nev., decided to sell their home, they invited some real-estate agents by for a visit. Most offered to sell the house the old-fashioned way, by listing it in the local brokers' database and charging a 6 percent commission (worth $16,800 on the Weeds' $280,000 home).

KERRY: A HELP TO THE HAIRLESS

During his drive to clinch the Democratic nod, John Kerry has had his biography dissected. But one chapter remains largely unexamined. From 1979 to '82, Kerry was a Boston lawyer who developed a unique specialty: filing lawsuits against doctors who performed faulty hair implants on bald men.

PRISON LIFE: HOME AWAY FROM...

It's just 25 miles from Martha Stewart's country manse in Bedford, N.Y., to the minimum-security women's federal prison camp at Danbury, Conn. But for a woman used to unparalleled luxury, her likely future home will seem a world apart.

HELP NOT WANTED

It's a set of questions that would make any cubicle dweller a bit nervous. "Exactly how do you do your job? Would you mind writing it down?" When Hank Williamson, a tech administrator at a Virginia bank, heard those questions recently, he took them as a sign his job may soon be going on an exotic trip.

TRACKING SAFETY

In auto racing, the most spectacular crashes usually happen during weekend contests at tracks surrounded by fans. But since last spring, some of NASCAR's most important collisions have taken place at low speeds behind a suburban office building near Charlotte, N.C.

SOAPS: THE LIVES OF REILLY

When James Reilly visited his grandfather's TV-free home in Ireland as a boy, every evening Granddad would ad-lib a two-hour story--always ending with a cliffhanger. "All the next day you'd be talking about it; you couldn't wait to sit in the chair and see how it ended," the grandson recalls.

Concierge To The Geek Set

Preston Rowe can't get you Celtics tickets. He isn't buddies with the maitre d' at Boston's top restaurants. And most guests at the Colonnade Hotel, where Rowe works, are happy never to encounter him during their stay.

Ask Tip Sheet

I signed up for a credit card at a ball game to get a free T shirt. Now I've heard that my credit rating will be hurt by having too many cards, by not activating my account or by having an application rejected.

Not Out Of The Woods

Like a patient who's been transferred out of ICU, the U.S. economy appears to be on the mend. From GDP to employment, the vital signs are improving. But Robert Rubin told NEWSWEEK's Daniel McGinn there's still cause for concern--and that the economy could remain a key issue in the presidential election.

The Master Of Innovation

Management theorists have spent little time pondering potato salad. But on the apparently mundane subject of how to transport that all-American picnic dish, there's a lesson in what's becoming the hottest business theory of the new century.

A Tough Cleanup Job

There are no locusts descending on Bentonville, Ark., no outbreaks of boils or killer hailstorms. But the folks at Wal-Mart's headquarters can be excused if they feel like they're living through plagues of Biblical proportions.

Oh, Sweet Revenge

It's just after 4 on an early summer morning, and two uniformed men work the counter at Dunkin' Donuts in Framingham, Mass. As they serve takeout coffee to early risers, the workers seem blithely ignorant of the enemy that's gathering nearby.

Sheds: Housing Works

Backyard sheds traditionally house lawn mowers and garbage cans. But in the insane California real-estate market, where many families can't afford to buy bigger homes, gussied-up sheds are housing something else: people.

Mr. Coffee--Not

Seb Agapite doesn't fancy himself a barista, nor is he looking to hire one. But inside Dunkin' Donuts' product-development center in Braintree, Mass., Agapite stands before a high-tech machine that will let his stores sell high-margin espressos and cappuccinos.

Housebound

Henry and Rachel Ross aren't looking for a mansion. Their needs are simple: a home with enough space for their children (their third is due in November), good schools and a neighborhood that's safe enough for Rachel to jog in.

Preying On The Predator

During his 36 years as a Roman Catholic priest, serial pedophile John Geoghan preyed upon the most vulnerable members of his flock: poor boys from broken homes.

Grooming: Uno, Due, Tre... Quattro?

Few men hop out of bed each morning and say: "Oh, goody, I get to shave today!" But this month brings a rare bit of excitement to male grooming: the new Schick Quattro, the first-ever four-blade razor.

Murdered Behind Bars

Prison is always a tough place, but it's especially dangerous for notorious convicts. Last Saturday pedophile ex-priest John Geoghan was strangled by another inmate inside a maximum-security Massachusetts prison.

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