7 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home in Canada

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Quick Tour of Tower of London, Home to Crown Jewels, Beefeaters & Ravens (30-Second Video) | International | Video

The Tower of London is a World Heritage Site, drawing more than 3 million visitors a year from all over the world. I was fortunate to be able to visit the Tower in 2017, and it made a powerful impression on me.

Photos: Tower Bridge, and view of Tower of London from Tower Bridge.

Adjacent to the famed Tower Bridge, the Tower of London is a breathtaking site. But its history is even more fascinating. According to Historic Royal Palaces, William the Conqueror built the impressive stone tower at the heart of the castle in the 1070s. Today, the sprawling Tower property and history still intrigue and horrify.

Photo: Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

The Tower has served as a symbol of fear, with many royals imprisoning (and even torturing or executing) their rivals and enemies within it. Prisoners and victims, such as Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII; Lady Jane Grey; Sir Walter Raleigh; and, more recently, even German spies; were brought here and executed. Some say their ghosts still haunt the castle to this day.

Photo: The Tower Guard protect the entrance to the Crown Jewels.

The Tower is home to the priceless Crown Jewels (protected by the Tower Guard), the Yeomen Warders (also known as “Beefeaters”) and the legendary ravens, who guard the castle. As the most secure castle in the country, it also has been home to the Royal Mint, the Royal Armories and even a zoo.

The Beefeaters were originally part of the Yeomen of the Guard, the monarch’s personal bodyguards (who were allowed to eat as much beef as they wanted). Seven ravens live at the Tower, and these legendary protectors are cared for by the “Ravenmaster” (also a Beefeater). Legend has it that if the ravens leave, both the Tower and the kingdom will fall.

When in London, the Tower is a must-see as you get to know this world-class city.

Photos: The famed Tower ravens, and Tower of London grounds.

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12 Summer Safety Tips for home and travel from Roseville Police Department

Summer Safety Tips

Planning Your Safe Summer

Roseville, Calif.- Summertime fun is quickly approaching. The school year is wrapping up, and vacation plans are well underway. Make sure your plans also include how you will secure your home and belongings while you enjoy that much deserved time away.

Whether you are gone for one night, or a few weeks, here are some suggestions to secure your home and protect yourself while you’re on vacation.

7 Home Safety Tips

  1. Ask a trusted friend, or family member, to regularly check on your home.
  2. Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. If possible, try adding a dowel or security bar as an added safety measure.
  3. If you get regular deliveries try to put them on hold, or have someone retrieve them, while you are gone. Check out the www.USPS.com website for information about putting your mail on hold.
  4. Install motion-sensor video doorbell or security cameras that can send you alerts or text messages.
  5. Set a timer on a light inside your home to give the impression someone is inside.
  6. Avoid discussing future vacation plans on social media. This can give would-be thieves too much information. And, try not to post vacation photos or details until you return.
  7. Set up a Vacation House Check through the Roseville Police Department website. This program is a free service offered by your Police Department. The checks are performed by volunteers and is supplemental to your own safety and security efforts but can help deter possible thefts or damage to your property.

Away from home safety tips

  1. Share your travel plans with a trusted friend or family members, including hotel and flight information in case of an emergency.
  2. Double lock your hotel door by using the extra bolt or safety latch.
  3. Be friendly when you are out sightseeing; but remember not to give your personal information, your hotel room number, or travel plans to strangers.
  4. Keep your valuables close to you or securely locked in a hotel safe. Purses should be zipped up and worn close to the body. Try not to put loose dollars, credit cards, or your ID in your back pocket, those can easily be pick-pocketed. Use your front pockets if necessary.
  5. Do not hang the bags on the back of your chair. When dining out, bags, purses, or backpacks are most safe on your lap or on the floor between your legs.

Many of these safety tips are common sense simple steps that can be followed year-round. If you see suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, contact Roseville Police Department or file an online crime report. Safe travels, and we hope you enjoy a crime free vacation.


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Commissioner Nikki Fried Shares Tips for Avoiding Scams During Older Americans Month / 2022 Press Releases / Press Releases / News & Events / Home

Tallahassee, Fla. — With May marking Older Americans Month, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumers Services Nikki Fried is sharing tips to recognize and avoid consumer fraud scams, specifically those that target seniors.

“With $3 billion in annual losses from scammers among older Americans, it is critical to educate our seniors and caretakers of elderly loved ones on how to recognize the signs of fraudulent activity to protect against fraud,” said Commissioner Fried. “Together, we can help raise awareness of the warning signs to protect against becoming a victim of fraud and crack down on those criminals targeting seniors – not just during Older Americans Month but year-round.”

General Rules to Avoid Scams:

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommend the following tips to help avoid fraud:

  • Resist pressure to take immediate action. Scammers will try to isolate you and will use scare tactics to create a sense of urgency. Don’t be rushed, and don’t believe anyone who says you don’t have time to talk to a friend or family member. Take the time to do your own research and talk with someone you trust.
  • Do not send money. If you are contacted by someone asking you to transfer money for them, it is most likely a scam. Wiring money is like sending cash. Once you send it, it’s gone. It is also never a good idea to deposit a check from someone you don’t know, especially if the stranger is asking you to wire money back to them.
  • Be wary of gift cards and cryptocurrency. Scammers utilize these forms of payment because they are hard to trace. Once the information from your gift card is obtained, it can be used by anyone. No legitimate business or government agency will insist that you pay with a gift card. For this same reason, anyone asking you to pay with cryptocurrency is likely a scammer. Cryptocurrency payments do not come with legal protections and once sent, are almost impossible to recover. 
  • Report fraud. If you are contacted by anyone using the previous listed methods to pay or send money, please report the incident to FDACS online or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-FL-AYUDA).  Additionally, please report to the FTC at ftc.gov.

Most Common Financial Scams Targeting Seniors

According to the National Council on Aging, seniors are more susceptible to the following scams:

Government Imposter Scams: An imposter scammer pretends to be someone you trust, oftentimes a government agency like the Social Security Administration, or the Internal Revenue Service. The scammer can have a fake name or number show up on your caller ID to convince you. Often, they will inform you your Social Security or Medicare benefits are in danger if you do not pay a fee or provide identifying information.

  • Do not trust the phone number: Often scammers will spoof the phone number from a relevant agency.
  • How to proceed. If you or a family member divulged personal identifying information or initiated a payment, follow these steps to protect yourself from further harm.

Grandparent or Emergency Scams: Emergency scams usually target parents, grandparents, or other family members. In these instances, someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a child or grandchild in trouble or the friend of a family member who is in trouble and urges the targeted victim to wire money immediately to help with an emergency.

  • Validate before you send money. Confirm the person’s identity before taking any steps to help. Ask the person questions that only your loved ones would know and be able to answer.
  • Verify with others. Before you send any money, verify the story with someone else in your family or circle of friends.

Computer Tech Support Scams: Tech support scams rely on convincing you of a serious problem with your computer. In doing so, the scammers will sell you services to “repair” your computer or will request remote access allowing them to find personal information on your device. 

  • Consider who is calling. If you receive an unexpected phone call about your computer, hang up. Legitimate tech companies will not contact you by phone about a computer problem.
  • Do not call. If you see a pop-up window on your computer screen about potential threats, do not call the number. Real security warnings will never ask you to call a phone number.

Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams: There are many legitimate sweepstakes offered in Florida. Prizes in legitimate contests are awarded solely by chance, and contestants don’t have to pay a fee or buy something to enter or increase their odds of winning. In fraudulent schemes, “winners” almost always have to pay to enter a contest or collect their “prize.”

  • Verify the sweepstakes. Any sweepstakes offering prizes totaling more than $5,000 must file with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This also applies to sweepstakes based in other states if they are conducted in Florida. Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-FL-AYUDA) to verify.  
  • Never pay money to receive money. No purchase or entry fee is required in legitimate sweepstakes. Legitimate sweepstakes also don’t require you to pay shipping or handling fees, insurance, or taxes to collect your prize.
  • Don’t be deceived by official looking mail. It is unlawful for a promoter to lie about an affiliation with or endorsement by a government agency or any other well-known organization.

Romance Scams. A romance scam occurs when a criminal creates a fake online identity and uses it to gain the affection and trust of a victim. In romance scams, also called confidence scams, the criminal deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the scammer.

  • Consider what you post. Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you.
  • Research the person. Look at photos and profiles using online searches to see if the image, name, or details have been used elsewhere.
  • Look for suspicious behavior. Actions such as promising to meet in person, yet always having an excuse why he or she can’t, or trying to isolate you from family and friends can be signs that you are communicating with a scammer.

What should consumers do?

  • File a consumer complaint: To file a complaint, complete FDACS’ online form or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.
  • Share your story: Share your story with friends and family or on social media to help others avoid falling victim to similar scams.
  • Review our consumer resources: Consumers can find helpful tips and recourse on our website: FloridaConsumerHelp.com.

Background: FDACS Division of Consumer Services is Florida’s state consumer protection agency, responsible for regulating charities, handling consumer complaints, and protecting against unfair and unsafe business practices. The Division regulates businesses including motor vehicle repair shops, pawnbrokers, health studios, travel sellers, intrastate movers, professional surveyors and mappers, sweepstakes/game promotions, and telemarketers.


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First look inside designer Marc Newson’s summer home on the island of Ithaca, Greece

“The holding is made up of a number of blocks: some were only as big as a tennis court, others were much bigger,” he explains. “Each one of those blocks was owned by four to 10 people. We probably dealt with 100 people, the majority of whom live outside of Greece in places like Australia, South Africa, America, Russia – all over. It was a nightmare; it’s not easy to buy land here. But it’s done now.”

As Newson reflects on what the task demanded, his wife, acclaimed British stylist and business entrepreneur Charlotte Stockdale, breezes into the room. “Marc brought me to this very spot the first summer we ever spent together, in 2005,” she explains in a crisp British accent.

“We drove here from Paris in his Aston Martin. It was just a wild hill, and we skidded on our bums all the way down to the beach, and he said he really wanted to buy land here. I said ‘yeah, good luck’.”

United in creativity

Newson and Stockdale married in 2008 in Hampshire, England, and now have two daughters in their early teens. Alongside a hectic family life, the pair continue to build their independent businesses: he, Marc Newson Ltd; she, accessories and fashion label Chaos, which she co-owns with a friend. The creation of Chaos followed her long association with Fendi, where she worked closely with Karl Lagerfeld for nine years.

The winter issue of the new Fin Magazine is out on May 13. Jesse Hunniford

The temptation to finally collaborate on a work project got the better of them this year; last month, they produced a series of “Marc Newson for Chaos” phone cases based on patterns designed for the cloisonne pieces in his 2019 Gagosian show. And yet, alongside children (and now product joint-ventures), it must be added, a great strength of the Newson-Stockdale union is creating beautiful homes.

“I feel like I’ve been renovating houses the last 20 years,” Newson muses. “These were not projects I’d set out to do. They just happened – you inflict them on yourself. The problem is that ultimately, there are only so many hours in a day.” Adds Stockdale: “We’ve been doing stuff up since the day we got together.”

It has reinforced the feeling he’d never want to be an architect: “With architecture, every job is effectively a prototype. You get one shot at it and if you don’t get it right, you suffer the consequences.” A Greek architect with a British master’s degree got Newson’s ideas into brick-and-mortar form. Even with a crack team, the biggest issue for Newson remains the time it drains from his day job.

“I’ve never had a set routine,” he continues. “I design when I can. Sometimes I think I’m good in the mornings, other times I’m not. It changes as you get older – at least it does for me. I used to never be able to get up early; now I’m up at 5 or 6am for the kids. At least the older you get, the less sleep you need.” October next year marks his 60th.

Before tying the knot, Newson overhauled his bachelor pad in Paris’s 19th arrondissement, which he’s since sold. After they married, the couple renovated a roomy apartment in central London with six-metre ceilings, which they still use during the week. “London is really all Marc,” muses Stockdale, “all bright colours – with just a bit of me in the one small library room.“

They embarked on the Ithaca house in 2014, and it is this home that Stockdale anoints as a true combination of their aesthetics. “My safe place is classic design, his safe place is modern,” she says. “He’s fundamentally driven and obsessive; I’m extremely easy-going. How it works is I tend to let him roll, and then I start to nudge. But if I really don’t like something he wants to do with a house, I’ll just tell him.”

The elegant living room. Athina Souli

Hot on the heels of wrapping Greece in early 2019, the pair signed up for an even bigger project: the restoration of a Grade 1 heritage-listed Jacobean mansion built in the late 16th century in the Cotswolds. Last month, the family moved into the finished section of the house. This home is now their main base given the girls go to school in the area; Newson drives them each morning.

Newson is vowing the Cotswolds will be the last big family reno. He’s also resolved to do less overseas travel for work as the world finally jags out of the worst of the pandemic. And yet, it would seem he and Stockdale just can’t help themselves.

In his characteristic offhand way, Newson then reveals there actually could be another project in the wings – all the way back in Sydney’s eastern beaches, where he has acquired a property. It’s the city in which he grew up, after all; he still has extended family there, and his small clan loves to visit as often as they can. In the meantime, Newson points out that it’s a much shorter hop to Greece for British school holidays.

Treasure trove of antiquity

Walking into the Newson-Stockdale Ithaca dream one morning in April, winter is well on the way out, and nature’s stage is being set for summer.

Mauve wisteria and fragrant jasmine are busy colonising everything, from the iron handrailings on the crumbling steps and stone fences to the vast patio. Bell-collared goats roam through the olive and arbutus trees.

The family are in situ for a week during the Easter break. Between an industrial designer and a stylist, the house ticks over like clockwork.

A small steamer is being fired up in the main bedroom to smooth out the white linen bed covers for Fin Magazine’s photo shoot – the first time the couple has been photographed in the new house – and the cantilevered sand-wave marble staircase is gleaming under the housekeeper’s mop.

Every room of the
four-bedroom house opens onto a panorama, be it the sea, ancient olive trees or rambling gardens that are home to roaming goats. Athina Souli

When we arrive, the master of the house is out of sight, on back-to-back video calls, but his authoritative voice (still with an Australian accent) can be heard wafting throughout the corridors in snippets such as “… there needs to be a break between body and grille” and “just tell me what you need from me” (he’s clearly talking about or to Ferrari, with which he’s completing a big project).

Newson is also ever present in the furniture, cutlery and glassware. In the main bedroom, it’s via his 2013 Bumper Bed for Domeau & Pérès. We sip water from his 2008 glasses created for Qantas’ A380 in-flight service; sneak a peek inside the kitchen cupboards, and it could be a Qantas in-flight-service museum.

But it’s the treasure trove of Greek antiquity he’s amassed here that clearly fires up Newson the most. “We spent years collecting most of this furniture from antique markets and auctions,” he explains of the rickety old side tables, elegant solid-wood dining chairs and long table, finished with a hand-embroidered tablecloth from neighbouring Cephalonia. Sotheby’s and Bonhams catalogues attest to the expensive and excellent art on the walls by the cream of the Greek masters.

“Virtually all the art in the house is by Greek painters, except for the works by [British] Edward Lear, and those works are of Ithaca,” Newson says. The house also has a motif that flows throughout: a cross-section of the wild strawberry that grows outside, carved into timber beams, marble features and reproduced in brass door handles. “That’s a very traditional Greek house thing,” he points out, as Stockdale and the housekeeper discuss lunch.

Both have independent histories with Greece: she via her British family’s small summer home in Corfu (where she spent summers as a child); Newson through his maternal grandfather, Andreas Raftopoulos, who was born in the nearby village of Stavros in 1907. He anglicised his name to Andrew Rolfe after arriving in Australia in the 1920s.

I was sailing around … and we came to Ithaca and I had some notion of connection. I remembered how things hang together here.

Marc Newson

Newson was close to his grandfather, and his middle name, Andrew, honours Rolfe. His mother divorced his electrician father not long after she had Newson, and moved back to her parents’ place in Gordon on Sydney’s upper north shore. Rolfe owned a milk bar in Chatswood, then bought a barbershop in the city. By the time Newson was at school, Rolfe was working part-time as a gardener at a private hospital in Killara.

“I was always interested in how things worked, and so was my grandfather,” says Newson. “He was very practical.” Rolfe taught him young the importance of getting the design and workmanship of an object right to avoid disappointment in use.

Newson later boarded at Trinity Grammar in Ashfield before completing a fine arts degree in jewellery and sculpture at the Sydney College of the Arts in the early 1980s. After graduating, he lived in Tokyo, then Paris. But it was Sydney where he first made his mark.

The prototype for his most famous piece, the Lockheed Lounge (named after the American aircraft maker), was created in the harbour city in 1985.

“I spent weeks, months driving out around factories in the western suburbs, sourcing bits, familiarising myself with small industries around the place,” Newson reminisces. In 1993, Madonna reclined on it for a music video, and by April 2015, his Lockheed Lounge sold at auction for £2.4 million, making it the most expensive object ever sold by a living designer.

Like so many Australians of his generation, Newson’s first taste of Europe came via a Eurorail trip, with his mother when he was 12 in 1975. “Mum pulled me out of school and we went travelling for a year. It included a stay in the [Raftopoulos] family’s house in Stavros, which had no running water and barely any electricity.”

Newson and Stockdale on the cantilevered sand-wave marble staircase; wisteria winds around iron handrails on the stone steps to the patio. Athina Souli

In his 30s he returned to Ithaca for the first time since childhood. “I was sailing around with a French friend, an artist called Fabrice. He was a great sailor, I was not.

“We basically came to Ithaca and I had some notion of connection; I remembered how things hang together here. We camped at the beach down there,” he says, gesturing towards the bottom of the cliff. “Gradually my fortunes improved until I could do all this,” he continues, now gesturing at the house. “But I never saw myself as having an estate here, which is what this is – it’s quite big by local standards.”

He and Stockdale may well have created the most beautiful home in the Ionian islands with the most spectacular view (and a default private beach via a 350-metre stepped pathway below the house). But Newson has not forsaken his humble Ithaca roots. He looks after the original family home for his “grandfather’s youngest brother’s widow”, who lives in Athens.

“My grandfather’s youngest sibling, Uncle George, died about 10 years ago, but the house is still in the family, although not in my direct blood family as it were.

“If it was for sale, I’d buy it in a heartbeat – it really needs some TLC – but I may not have to buy it, I may inherit it,” he muses, adding: “Of course, you never know in Greece.”

The winter issue of Fin Magazine is out on Friday, May 13 inside The Australian Financial Review.

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Traveling? Home COVID-19 test kits may not be enough | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Julie Riddle
Tracie Schaedig, receptionist at the Thunder Bay Community Health Service location in Rogers City, delivers a COVID-19 test kit outside the health center on Monday.

ALPENA — Residents who’ve had COVID-19 and want to get on an airplane or into a concert may need to prove that infection happened long enough ago that they’ve had time to recover — and home test kits don’t provide that detail, health officials warn.

Getting an official test at a clinic or pharmacy will say when the test was taken and can help residents prove their infection happened before recommended quarantine timeframes, officials say. COVID-19 tests can show positive results even after residents have passed the recommended quarantine time, officials say.

District health officials on Monday reported 29 new COVID-19 infections among Northeast Michigan residents in the past week, fewer than half the 76 newly reported cases the previous week.

Those numbers don’t paint the whole picture, said Cathy Goike, certified health education specialist for the District Health Department No. 4.

About 90% of people detecting COVID-19 recently have done so via at-home tests — and those test results don’t get reported to the public, Goike said.

Residents regularly call District Health Department No. 4’s hotline to report the sickness, like the seven people who had called by 9 a.m. Monday to report they’d tested positive over the weekend.

While health officials appreciate knowing about those positive tests, they can neither report nor verify them — and that can mean frustration for residents down the line, Goike said.

The virus can show up on tests for weeks after an infected person’s required quarantine period has ended. If an airline or entertainment venue demands proof of health, only tests conducted by medical personnel at health clinics or pharmacies will officially verify when someone had the sickness and whether they’ve had time to recover from it, Goike said.

While on-site testing offers an official say-so, at-home tests available from many pharmacies and free from the Health Department or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help residents decide what to do if they suspect they may be sick.

The COVID-19 variant currently predominant in Northeast Michigan usually produces mild symptoms, sometimes nothing more than an itchy nose, Goike said.

While the sickness may not lead to a hospital stay, especially for those fully vaccinated, “we still have a lot of vulnerable people out there” who could get very sick or even die if exposed to the virus, Goike cautioned.

Anyone who knows they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested and use caution in public, even if no symptoms appear, health officials say.

Tests may not detect the virus in an infected person for five days after exposure, but that person could still be contagious, Goike said.

Anyone who tests positive should isolate for five days after a positive test or first symptoms, when they are most contagious. They should wear masks in public for the next five days, when they are less contagious but can still transmit the sickness to others, according to current medical guidance.

Those living with people who have tested positive should do their best to stay separate and monitor themselves carefully for symptoms. Those without symptoms can continue their daily routines but should consider masking and stay at least six feet from others, especially around those in high-risk populations.

Those exposed should test three to seven days after exposure or if symptoms develop.

Links to order free at-home tests, find free testing sites, and learn other COVID-19-related information can be found at covid.gov/tests.

Northeast Michigan public health officials reported three Northeast Michiganders who died in the past month after getting infected with the coronavirus.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.

Where to test

* Alcona Health Center: Same-day rapid testing and send-out testing appointments open to the community at the Acute Care Clinic on U.S.-23 in Alpena. Phone 989-356-4049 for appointment. Will send at-home tests to those with an order from a different provider or health care facility; any resident can pick up at-home test kits at locations in Alpena, Ossineke, and Lincoln.

* Thunder Bay Community Health Service: Same-day rapid testing and send-out testing appointments open to patients. Phone 989-742-4583 for appointment. Any resident can pick up at-home test kits at locations in Rogers City, Atlanta, and Onaway.

* Pharmacies: In Alpena, schedule COVID-19 tests at Meijer, Walgreens, and Rite Aid pharmacies by visiting the companies’ websites or at LeFave Pharmacy by calling 989-354-3189.

Free at-home tests are available from District Health Department No. 4 locations in Alpena, Atlanta, and Rogers City.

When to test

Take an at-⁠home test:

* If you begin having COVID-⁠19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or

* At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19, or

* When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

What if I test positive?

* A positive at-⁠home test result means that the test found the virus, and you very likely have COVID-⁠19.

* Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home.

* If you test positive and have a weakened immune system or other health conditions, talk to a doctor as soon as possible about available treatment options.

* Contact your doctor for information about an oral medication available in some cases for the treatment of COVID-19.

What if I test negative?

* A negative at-⁠home test result means that the test did not find the virus, and you may have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Check your test kit’s instructions for specific next steps. If you test negative, you should test again within a few days with at least 24 hours between tests.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Britons advised to ‘leave watch at home’ to ‘save hundreds’ when travelling – tips | Travel News | Travel

Choose your destination wisely

Britons should research the cost of travel insurance for their chosen destination, and compare it to other potential holiday locations.

“A change of country could save you hundreds. For example, a holiday to Paris will usually cost you less in insurance premiums than a trip to New York.

“It’s also important to check the country you are travelling to will be covered by your travel insurer. Some places in the world are considered too high risk,” they explained.

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7 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home in Puerto Rico

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For the Wild, a trip to Nashville and a bucket from Home Depot sparked a new playoff tradition

ST. LOUIS — Wild winger Marcus Foligno started a new playoff tradition on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

With everyone gathered inside the Wild locker room after their 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, Foligno picked up a bucket from Home Depot, gave a brief speech, then handed it over to Joel Eriksson Ek.

As his teammates cheered, Eriksson Ek, who had a pair of goals in the game, placed a puck at the bottom of the empty bucket.


The bucket is supposed to resemble a tip jar, with each puck representing a win in the NHL playoffs. If the Wild have their way, there will be 16 pucks in the bucket by the end of next month. That would mean the Wild are Stanley Cup champions.

“Yeah,” Jon Merrill said before Game 3 on Friday night at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. “We hope to fill that thing all the way up.”

The new playoff tradition can be traced to a road trip last month. After the Wild lost 6-2 to the Nashville Predators, they stuck around an extra day for some team-building activities. There was some golf in the morning, then some live music in the afternoon.

There may or may not have been some adult beverages consumed along the way.

Eventually, the Wild ended up at Honky Tonk Central on Broadway, where they contributed a good amount of money to the tip jar by the end of the night. Hence the “tip jar” making its way into the Wild locker room during the playoffs.

“That was my first road trip with these guys,” Jake Middleton said with a laugh. “We (were) throwing some bills in the tip jar for the people singing. It was a fun experience, and it’s cool to see it coming into the playoffs here.”

This is another example of the Wild coming together. Whether it’s a bunch of random shirts with each other’s face on the front, or a not-so-subtle callback for a night out on the town, this group of players genuinely enjoys being around each other.

“That feeling you have after a win is the greatest part about being an athlete,” Merrill said. “To be able to celebrate it in a fun way with your teammates is definitely something you cherish.”

Now the only question is: Who will be the next Wild player to contributed to the tip jar?

“It’s fun to have something like that that hopefully can go on for awhile,” Jordan Greenway said of the new playoff tradition. “Just to be a part of it is great. It’s something that we all really enjoy.”

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Inflation survival tips from finance, home and transportation experts


Prices are rising and the predictions don’t look good.

Inflation soared over the past year at the fastest pace in 40 years, and food prices, which already saw a 6.8% jump from January 2021, are expected to increase another 3% to 4% this year, according to USA TODAY and the Associated Press.

And the U.S. saw record gas prices in March.

But there are ways to get the maximum impact from your dollars, experts in finance, consumer sciences, grocery distribution and car care recently told The Herald-Mail.

Here’s what they said:


Families can find big savings several ways, including by combining — or bundling — different types of insurance for needs such as homes and vehicles, said Nate Hanft, vice president and financial adviser with the Serafini Team at Wealth Enhancement Group on Opal Court in Hagerstown.

But don’t stop there, Hanft said.

After you’ve been with a provider for a while and perhaps after rates start to go back up, shop around for better deals, he said.

Also, take a look at recurring expenses around the house, such as TV service.

Wide gaps have opened in recent years in prices for TV programming, and it can pay to look at what different providers offer, Hanft said. He mentioned streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu TV.

Hulu TV offers packages, such as one for ESPN, Disney and Hulu originals, that start at $13.99 a month. “Switch plans, cancel anytime,” the provider says on its website.

Netflix offers a variety of TV shows, movies and documentaries with packages starting at $9.99 per month. Capabilities today with providers include downloading shows to view offline, being able to view them on different devices and creating special profiles for children.

“It’s much more a la carte now than it used to be,” Hanft said.

Hanft said his family is content only having Disney+. His kids love the programming and Hanft said given his work life, he doesn’t have the time to watch other programming packages. He gets the service for $80 a year.

“Everyone’s tastes are different and what’s valued to them is different,” Hanft said.

He encourages consumers to examine discretionary spending, meaning the spending over which one has more control.

So the family always goes out to eat on Friday nights?

Maybe that can be eliminated for the next few months. Or cut back.

Hanft suggested consumers make a list of all their discretionary spending to see where the money is going.

“Once you have the data, then you can really look at the places you can cut,” he said.

Nervous about how to continue paying for things that are really important? Like putting away money for the kids’ college education?

Use the same discretionary spending examination to make sure critical areas are funded, Hanft said.


Although James Miller sells food, rising prices haven’t been easy for him to deal with either.

Miller is owner and manager of Glenwood Foods at Greencastle, a discount grocery store at 11440 Grindstone Hill Road south of Greencastle, Pa.

Although Miller said he tries to keep prices low for his customers in the current environment, market forces are too much sometimes.

As an example, he said snack manufacturers have instituted price increases three times in the last six months.

“That’s not pretty,” Miller said.

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Glenwood Foods is able to pass savings onto buyers by offering close-out items and similar deals.

Miller said he also buys items from retailers that are nearing their “sell by” date.

“Some people say it’s an expiration date, but it’s not expiration,” he said.

Miller said sell-by dates are generally used by large grocery chains for inventory control to keep products moving. Miller buys the items at discount and passes the savings onto customers. While he said he tries to offer good deals throughout his store, prices on some items are similar to his competitors.

“(With) frozen items we are able to save people a lot of money, frozen meat and things of that type,” he said.

The store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.


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The Grocery Outlet at 1695 Lincoln Way East near Chambersburg, Pa., describes itself as an “extreme value retailer.” 

It gets deals through packaging changes, surplus inventory and product overruns, according to its website. The grocery chain started in 1946 when founder Jim Read opened his first store selling military surplus at discount prices.

The Chambersburg store, which is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, offers items one would generally find in other types of stores, said Manager Devin Hill. He said another store is to be built near Hagerstown. There is a sign for a new store at a site along Massey Boulevard across from Valley Mall.

How about a garden?

Have you frequently thought about growing your own food? Maybe this is the year.

There are people available to help, such as experts at the University of Maryland Extension offices along Sharpsburg Pike north of Sharpsburg.

Gardening in the area is popular among some people, who have turned their backyards into plots to grow food like tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, green beans, onions, squash and sweet treats like cantaloupe and watermelon.


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“Even a small garden can produce a tremendous amount of food for your family,” said Annette Cormany, a horticulture educator for the local extension service. A garden measuring 4 feet by 8 feet can produce 80 pounds of produce in a season, she said.

Worried about expense?

Maybe you have a gardening friend who will loan some tools, Cormany said. Better yet, maybe they have some cuttings from their plants they can give to you to start in your garden. Or maybe they have some leftover seeds.

A possible pitfall is making a garden plot bigger than you can manage. That might become clear when temperatures reach the 90s in August and you’re facing the prospect of spending the afternoon bent over pulling weeds.

“You don’t have to marathon it,” said Cormany, saying new gardeners can start simply. You can do it in “bits and pieces” around your house, and perhaps keeping the growing area right outside a back door where a garden hose is nearby to easily water it will help, Cormany said.


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A ton of ground doesn’t have to be dug up either. Plants can be grown in containers on a deck or patio.

“You can grow a lot in five-gallon buckets that you can find just about anywhere,” Cormany said. 

The extension website offers tips to growers here

In the kitchen 

There are a number of ways to save money in the kitchen, said Lisa McCoy, a family and consumer sciences educator at the extension office.

When there is a sale on frozen vegetables, stock up on them for a good supply in the freezer, she said. 

From rotisserie chicken to raw breasts and thighs, poultry items are expected to see the highest jump in food prices this year, with an estimated increase from 6% to 7%. Wholesale poultry products are also predicted to see a 9% to 12% price increase this year, according to USA TODAY.

McCoy suggests trying plant-based food, like beans, as a meat substitute. A 1-pound bag of dry great northern beans was selling for $1.89 at Food Lion through Instacart delivery service last week. Numerous servings can be made from one bag and various recipes can be found for them, McCoy said.

“And it has so much protein and fiber,” she said.


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McCoy offered a list of recipes for healthy, quick meals families can prepare. They can be found on the extension’s website at https://extension.umd.edu.

Other ways to save include cooking from scratch instead of going for more expensive, store-prepared food, canning food from the garden, or buying in bulk from wholesale clubs, McCoy said.

McCoy said she’s not familiar with discount stores like Glenwood Foods at Greencastle or the Grocery Outlet, but said she often sees good produce prices at Aldi, Lidl and Save A Lot stores. 

She also suggested shoppers watch weekly store circulars for sales.

On the road 

Vehicle driving habits and maintenance play a part in saving gasoline.

State Farm insurance offers a list of both to help cut down on gas consumption. Also offering advice is Howie Weeks, owner of Crenshaw’s Auto Repair at 67 W. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown.

  • A vehicle engine needs the right mix of fuel and air to run efficiently, according to the insurance company. Ignoring the maintenance for them runs the risk of wasting fuel. “A well maintained car lasts longer and is more efficient,” Weeks said.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires tend to decrease gas mileage.
  • When approaching a stop sign or light, take your foot off the gas pedal to allow the vehicle to downshift before applying the brake. “That will save you gas as well as your brakes,” Weeks said.
  • Generally speaking, mileage decreases rapidly at speeds over 50 mph. Also, aggressive driving like gunning the engine, screeching around corners and jamming on the gas pedal wastes a lot of fuel.
  • Don’t keep unnecessary weight in a vehicle.


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  • Driving at high speeds in lower gears uses excessive fuel. On a manual transmission, pay attention to RPMs as you accelerate and shift into high gear as soon as you reasonably can.
  • Increased wind resistance on a vehicle cuts gas efficiency. Keep windows up and moon roofs closed for better mileage. Sometimes a vacation calls for a cargo unit on top, but they increase drag, Weeks said. “Try to keep it clean too,” said Weeks, adding that a sleek finish improves a vehicle’s aerodynamics.

Community assistance 

There are a number of ways for individuals and families facing economic hardship in coming months to get help in the Hagerstown area.

Among them is reaching out to the Washington County Community Action Council at 117 Summit Ave. The organization helps people with basic human needs such as food and shelter.

CEO Geordie Newman said there’s been increased dependence on his organization’s food pantry during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he expects the trend to continue with rising grocery prices. Last year, the CAC distributed 110,000 pounds of food.

Help from the pantry is income-based and those interested need to apply at the CAC offices. Anyone who qualifies gets food “right away,” Newman said.

The CAC also offers utility assistance, which is also income-based. There are two different programs, which CAC staff can explain to recipients, Newman said.

CAC also offers housing programs, which is critical given that affordable housing challenges are expected to increase here, Newman said. The median price of homes sold in March in Washington County topped $300,000.

The Maryland Food Bank also helps feed people in need.

There is a western branch office on McRand Court in Hagerstown, but food bank spokeswoman Joanna Warner said individuals should not go there for food.

The food bank distributes food to other organizations that feed people, she said.

At the Maryland Food Bank website, mdfoodbank.org, users can type in a ZIP code for places to get food near them. They can pick a mile radius from which to find locations.

For example, putting in Hagerstown’s 21741 ZIP code listed a number of places that offer food, including Office of Consumer Advocates Inc./Soul Haven at 121 E. Antietam St.; Bridge of Life at 16 S. Potomac St.; and Mt. Hope Inc. at 25 Summit Ave.

Individuals are encouraged to first contact food sites to confirm hours and any eligibility requirements before obtaining food.

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