The Brattleboro Reformer has many colleagues around the country producing news for our "sister" papers. The Daily DFM is a "top picks" of today's national news. Consider it a collection of "things you should know, today."

1. Boehner offers debt extension; White House says likely OK

By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jeb Hensarling, Ann Wagner, John Boehner, Lynn Jenkins, Kevin McCarthy, Virginia Foxx

Speaker of the House John Boehner and fellow Republicans in a news conference Thursday where he announced a plan to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Facing a fresh deadline, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans would vote to extend the government's ability to borrow money for six weeks - but only if President Barack Obama first agrees to fresh negotiations on spending cuts. Under the Republican plan, the partial government shutdown would continue in the meantime.


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White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama "would likely sign" a clean bill increasing the debt cap but that the president also wants Republicans to reopen the government. He did not rule out Obama agreeing to Boehner's debt ceiling proposal if the government remains closed, but the White House made no promises that Obama would hold negotiations under those circumstances.

"He will not pay ransom in exchange for the Republicans in the House doing their job," Carney said.

Obama is to meet with Boehner and other House GOP leaders at the White House Thursday afternoon.

After weeks of decline, financial market indexes shot higher in anticipation of a possible deal that could avert a federal financial default. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index were up well over 1 percent in afternoon trading

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2. Charity to pay military death benefits during shutdown

By Steve Vogel, Ed O'Keefe and Aaron Blake, The Washington Post

Body Of Army Solider Killed In Afghanistan Returned To Dover

Army members carry the remains of U.S. Army Spc. Ember M. Alt at Dover Air Force Base in June in Dover, Delaware. During the shutdown, a charity will pay for benefits to fallen soldiers' families. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Lapses in care for veterans and the families of fallen service members ignited new fury over the government shutdown across Washington on Wednesday, and two Cabinet secretaries, both Army combat veterans, did not disguise their disgust with Congress.

Moving to defuse one of the more controversial cutbacks brought on by the shutdown, the Pentagon announced a plan Wednesday for a private charity, the Fisher House Foundation, to pay death benefits for fallen troops.

Before the announcement, the families of six service members killed in Afghanistan since the shutdown had not received the usual benefits, including money to travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where those killed in war are brought home in flag-draped coffins. Nor is the government able to pay for burials and funerals, as is customary.

"I am offended, outraged, and embarrassed that the government shutdown had prevented the Department of Defense from fulfilling this most sacred responsibility in a timely manner," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

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3. In some states, debt collectors can legally take your home, car and cash

By Danielle Douglas, The Washington Post

Consumers could lose the bulk of their valuables â including wages and cars â to debt collectors depending on varying laws from state to state. (shironosov/Thinkstock)

Depending on where you live, debt collectors may be legally entitled to take your entire paycheck, house or car and completely clear out your bank accounts.

Families in the District of Columbia have a better chance of holding on to their vehicles than those in Maryland and Virginia. Yet Washington residents could have 25 percent of their wages transferred to a creditor.

In a report released Thursday, the National Consumer Law Center surveyed the patchwork of state "exemption laws" meant to protect struggling families from losing everything to creditors. The advocacy group found that few places met its five basic standards for protecting consumers - preserving at least $1,000 in a bank account as well as barring creditors from seizing vehicles, household goods, homes and most wages.

Only Massachusetts and Iowa came close to meeting those standards, each receiving a B-plus grade. The District of Columbia earned a B-minus for its fairly strong consumer protections, while Maryland and Virginia both received D's.

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4. Walk more: It'll make you happy, healthy

By Staff, Relaxnews

A new British report finds that as little as two and half hours of walking per week can save lives by lowering stress levels and keeping us healthier and happier.

Leading U.K. charity Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support released their "Walking Works" report, which claims that tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year in the U.K. alone if people got up off the couch and started walking.

A new study published last week in the British Medical Journal found that exercise is just as good as taking medication for some health conditions, including heart diseases. Also, a separate study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention revealed that walking at least an hour a day could significantly cut a woman's risk of breast cancer.

The latest report recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, including brisk walking, cycling, and gardening.

5. Putney pharmacy open for business

By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / Reformer Staff

Jim Heal, owner of the Putney General Store, stands in the store's newly completed pharmacy. (Kayla Rice/Reformer)

PUTNEY -- From the very first time Jim Heal walked in to the Putney General Store with the intent of purchasing the business he envisioned a pharmacy on the second floor.

Heal has been a pharmacist for 30 years, and when his wife heard the business was for sale in March and the couple visited the store Heal said the second floor was the perfect place to open Putney's first pharmacy.

"It had handicapped parking, an elevator, and the Putney Historical Society had put in a security system and sprinkler. It was perfect," Heal said, standing behind the counter after waiting on some customers. "This is just the way I imagined it."

It took Heal a little longer than he thought to get his permits and stock his shelves, but The Putney Pharmacy is open for business.

Heal has a long history of opening and managing pharmacies in Windham County.

He worked in a number of pharmacies in Brattleboro and in November 1998 began working in Townshend at Messenger Valley Pharmacy which is owned by Grace Cottage Hospital.

Over the past three years Heal was director of the Messenger Valley Pharmacy when the Townshend business was renovating and expanding its store.

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