polynomial functions question (images incl)

I'm having some trouble with polynomial functions.

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/2941/m1yq7.jpg

If you look on the sheet above (question 9), what do they mean by intervals.. increasing and decreasing? And how do I find the LOCAL maximum and minimum?

http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/5827/...

And in this one, in question #14, how do I determine the equation of each polynomial function from its graph? I'm having trouble on #17 and 2 as well. Any help would be TRULY appreciated!