Ultra will bring crowds, music and street closings to downtown Miami. How to get around.

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Planning your retirement: 10 ways to reduce housing costs

(MoneyWatch) Housing costs make up one-third of the average American household's budget, the largest monthly expense for most families. And since reducing living costs is the most common way to make ends meet in retirement, it makes sense to take a hard look at your housing costs and what you can do to reduce them. The secret that will make -- or break -- your retirementYour home equity: How to use it for retirement securityRetirement planning outside the box: Move out of the suburbsHow to retire with no retirement savings: the "Golden Girls" solutionWelcome to Week 12 of my series 16 weeks to plan your retirement. Since most Americans have insufficient savings to fund a traditional retirement, they'll need to look for creative ways to make every dollar count, and finding resourceful ways to lower housing costs will help.Here are 10 ways to pare your housing budget: -- Pay off your mortgage before you retire or shortly thereafter. If you're several years away from retirement, consider refinancing with a 15-year fixed mortgage. Interest rates are near all-time lows. -- Downsize to a smaller house, with reduced bills for utilities, maintenance and property taxes. You might also be able to realize some home equity that can be invested to generate retirement income. -- Move to a location that enables you to reduce other costs, such as transportation or health care. This could mean moving out of the suburbs and into a city. -- Move to a less expensive part of the country. There are a number of "best places to retire" websites that you can review to give you some ideas. -- Move to another country with dramatically reduced living costs. Panama, Costa Rica and some South American and European countries consistently show up on review lists of the best places to live abroad. -- Rent out a room or two for additional income. This solution works best if you don't want to move and have a large house. After my daughter graduated from college, she rented a room from a retired Continue Reading

How would readers react to my story on the tragic life of two Brookline sisters?

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Patricia Wen Globe Staff  March 13, 2017 I began wondering as soon as my editors hit the “publish” button a week ago Sunday on my 4,500-word story, “Two sisters, one house and a mystery.” How would readers react to my attempt to understand the lives of two reclusive women from Brookline, one of whom co-existed with the other’s dead body for about a year inside their rundown childhood mansion? Would this macabre scene trigger cruel judgments of Lynda and Sheryl Waldman? Or of me for further exposing their troubled lives? I had spent weeks researching this piece, and knew I was too close to predict a typical reader’s response. Advertisement But when the first of dozens of e-mails began pouring in from across the country, I was struck by the deep sympathies extended to these hermetic sisters and their struggles, with some -- but not all -- criticizing local officials or neighbors for not doing enough to intervene. Though law enforcement has an open case pending autopsy results, no one wrote suggesting they believed Lynda had a role in her younger sister’s death, or even faulted her for not reporting it earlier. Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here Some relatives from afar who had lost touch with the sisters also e-mailed me, asking if I had a way to reach Lynda to convey their support. A few even offered to fill in some blanks on their life story. Even though the sisters’ insular ways were extreme, and death of the younger sister, Sheryl, remains a bleak mystery, many readers saw them as victims of life’s bad luck that affects – or can affect – us all. “One way or another, it seems, we all hang on by just a thread,” wrote Continue Reading

What Will a Trip to the Shopping Mall Look Like 10 Years From Now?

It's South by Southwest week, and in this interview, Vincent Shen welcomes Scott Lachut, President of Research and Strategy at PSFK, to Industry Focus.Scott spoke at SXSW about the "future of the shopping center", and the Motley Fool is sitting him down to learn more about the discovery, experimentation, and data gathering that retailers of all sizes are employing to make the brick-and-mortar store more appealing to modern day consumers.A full transcript follows the video.10 stocks we like better than WalmartWhen investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Walmart wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.Click here to learn about these picks!*Stock Advisor returns as of March 5, 2018The author(s) may have a position in any stocks mentioned.This video was recorded on March 13, 2018.Vincent Shen: Welcome to Industry Focus, the podcast that dives into a different sector of the stock market every day. It's Tuesday, March 13th, and I'm your host, Vincent Shen. Right now, we have a team of Fools in Austin, Texas, attending the South by Southwest conference, and that's the focus of all our episodes this week.For today, I'm pleased to welcome Scott Lachut to Industry Focus. Scott is the President of Research and Strategy at PSFK, a business intelligence platform based in New York City. He was also a speaker at South by Southwest. His presentation focused on a topic that we cover often on Consumer Goods Industry Focus, and that's the future of brick-and-mortar retail and how the in-store shopping experience is evolving.Scott, welcome to Industry Focus. I was catching up with Dylan earlier, and he said you've been doing a lot of traveling. Thanks a lot again for setting aside Continue Reading

Minneapolis blogger used her social-media clout to create an Instagram-ready modern farmhouse.

Melissa Coleman already had her hands full with her popular blog, the Faux Martha, when she relocated from Connecticut to Minnesota with her husband, Kevin, and their daughter, Hallie. Building a custom 1,800-square-foot house wasn’t her intention, but when an e-mail mishap revealed that the family’s broker, Mike Smith, had a lot for sale in the Seward neighborhood, the wheels started turning. “I was ready to do this sight unseen. My husband was not. He’s the logical one,” Coleman said. “It took convincing for him.” The lot was a teardown of a house that once had been a hub of shady activity, but the location was a short commute to Kevin’s new job at Children’s Hospital of St. Paul and within walking distance to a food co-op, which Coleman liked. Smith, co-owner of Forage Modern Workshop and Hi-Lo Diner, also co-owns Brownsmith Restoration, and was willing to make the Colemans’ project the company’s first home build. In April 2014, a six-month design process began. It was the couple’s first home, and they weren’t entirely sure what they needed. Smith guided them through the process, with Kevin weighing in on the layout, Coleman on the design. The home, now known to Coleman’s fans as “the Faux House,” came to fruition in 2015. Because the goal was to build a quality structure while staying within a $400,000 budget, the completed three-bedroom home featured lots of windows, clean lines, flat white paint and hardwood floors throughout – but it was essentially a blank slate. Coleman has spent the past 2½ years adding character and comfort, as the family’s bank account allowed. “Minimal design — not necessarily modern — with cozy accents,” is how Coleman, 32, described her forever home, while Hallie, age 4, buzzed about energetically in a blue sparkly princess dress. Brand partners Coleman used her considerable fan base and social media Continue Reading

How to wrangle celery root and make it the star of your kitchen this winter

Celery root, a.k.a. celeriac, looks gnarly, but it has a wonderful flavor. (Goran Kosanovic/For The Washington Post) Celery Root, Chive + Cheddar Gratin. See recipe, below. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post) Cooking in winter demands patience to soften sturdy roots into smooth mashes, patience to allow vinegar to penetrate and pickle and preserve, patience for a tough piece of meat to break down so that you can slice it — even if you don’t have a knife. The required patience is also why I love being in my kitchen this time of year: I get to really cook. Whereas in summer I can just slice a tomato and sprinkle it with salt, maybe throw a fresh ear of corn in some hot water and call it a day, winter kitchens demand more. And responding to this demand means rolling up our sleeves and being resourceful and creative. We get to turn hearty ingredients into comforting meals, get to fog our kitchen windows with steam from our pots, and get to gather the people we love around our tables. The five ingredients that inspire these recipes are celery root, turnips, greens, citrus and chuck roast. Each ingredient lends itself to a variety of dishes, all made memorable by combining them with flavorful accents. They remind us that cooking in winter is in many ways like cooking at any other time of year: You need bursts of salt and acid — like miso paste and punchy anchovies, vinegar and briny olives — to wake things up. Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing recipes for each of these five ingredients, starting with one of my favorites: celery root. Use your sharp knife to get rid of the brown, craggy skin. (Goran Kosanovic/For The Washington Post) I love celery root (also known as celeriac) because it has such a distinctive flavor, not unlike a parsnip, and it can be enjoyed in so many ways. But its gnarly look makes it a little intimidating. Remember: The roots come in such a variety of sizes, so it’s best to use the scale at the Continue Reading

Here’s how to fix Fort Worth. (It’s not about Dallas, or pilots, or the cow.)

The day of reckoning has come for Fort Worth, blurring from a distinct metropolitan city into the western sprawl of the DFW metroglob. A new business plan for the city included wakeup alarms for city leaders: ▪ Our residents are less likely to have a college degree than Houston’s or Dallas’, and nowhere near as well-educated as Denver’s or Austin’s. ▪ Even our high school graduation rate trails San Antonio’s or Oklahoma City’s, both working-class cities with a rough-and-tumble cowboy past. So the blunt truth is: Fort Worth and Tarrant County are not very smart. But we’ve got more problems: ▪ One in 12 city residents has to go to Dallas for work. ▪ Some outsiders see Fort Worth as hostile to young adults, people of color and foreigners. ▪ Worst of all, Fort Worth doesn’t cross anyone’s mind at all. We’re No. 16 in population but No. 48 in Google searches — less sought than Tulsa or Oklahoma City, down there with Buffalo and Fresno. Fixing that takes more than shouting, “Cowboys and culture!” or griping at airline pilots for not saying “Dallas-Fort Worth.” I’ve borrowed ideas from a few business or community leaders of all races, ages and backgrounds. Here’s a short to-do list for Fort Worth: 1. OUTSMART THE OTHER CITIES Two-thirds of our city’s third-graders can’t read at that level. Almost all the county’s high schools rank far behind those in Collin or Denton counties. If anything sinks Fort Worth in the long run, it will be the city’s and county’s historic indifference toward K-12, college and graduate education. From the reaction when the new city business plan was announced, the problem is twofold: ▪ Fort Worth does not have the schools, colleges or spirit to compete in an age of research and innovation, and . . . ▪ We think we do. In a city built on Continue Reading

Learn how to sketch wildlife, adopt a new friend, meet a flock of sheep

By Kathy Bennett | [email protected] | December 29, 2017 at 8:00 am Here are the pet and animal-related events in the Bay Area on Dec.29 and beyond EAST BAY New Year’s Day Butterfly Walks: Start the year off with a visit to a monarch butterfly grove. Learn about the life cycle of these tiny creatures and how they survive the winter in the Bay Area. meet at the Granary. Heavy rain cancels. 11:30 am.-1:30 p.m. Jan. 1. Ardenwood, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. 100 Years of Protecting Bay Area Birds: Lindsay Wildlife Experience will host Golden Gate Audubon Society’s traveling Centennial Art Exhibit, “100 Years of Protecting Bay Area Birds,” through Jan. 2. Spanning two floors, the exhibit features photos of Bay Area birds from tiny chestnut backed Chickadees to Golden Eagles. The exhibit is free with cost of admission to Lindsay Wildlife. Weekday Bird Walk: Share your enthusiasm for bird life on weekly walks through various Bay Area parklands. All levels of birding experience welcome. Bring water, sunscreen, and binoculars or scopes. For ages 18 and older. 7:30-9:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 2, 23, Feb. 6, 27. Monarchs for Kids: Learn about monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides and butterflies. Then take a short hike to see these insects life cycle in action. For ages 3-6. Meet at the Granary. 11 a.m.-noon Jan. 6, 14, 20, 28. Ardenwood, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. For more pets and animals coverage follow us on Flipboard. Bird Walk: New and experienced birders discover patterns of behavior, migration and habitat on a guided walk at various parks. For ages 8 and older. 8-10 a.m. Jan. 6 and Feb. 3. Monarchs and Milkweed: Meet at the greenhouse to look for caterpillars and eggs on milkweed plants. Then search for butterflies in the nearby forest and learn how to help ensure the survival of these insects. 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays Jan. 6-27 and Sundays Jan. 7-28. Ardenwood, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. Free. Birding by Continue Reading

Louisville police to begin using gunshot-detection system this summer

Louisville Metro Police will add a gunshot-detection system this summer in an effort to respond more quickly to the growing number of shootings in the city.Chief Steve Conrad told members of the Metro Council's Public Safety Committee on Monday that officers will begin training this month on how to use the system, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of July.The system will use microphones to triangulate sounds similar to a firearm before notifying 911 dispatchers.The police did not immediately respond to emails sent at 10 p.m. Monday or 10 a.m. Tuesday requesting comment about the system's cost, where the microphones will be located or if the California-based company ShotSpotter was the vendor. But Ron Teachman, a regional director for the tech company, confirmed Tuesday that the company has been awarded a contract with the city. He declined to comment further.Last year, he told council members that the system would cost about $235,000 to cover a 3-square-mile area in the first year and another $195,000 annually. Related: Conrad sees success in police reorganization; council sees blood Background: Conrad's police reorganization touted, jeered  More:  Police union rips chief's reorganization plan Police officials have said that if the system were approved, it would be deployed in high crime areas.The council earmarked roughly $200,000 in last year's budget for police to implement such a system at the behest of Democrat Jessica Green and Republicans Kevin Kramer and Julie Denton, who urged Mayor Greg Fischer to adopt the technology.Kramer, who represents the 11th District in eastern Louisville, said Tuesday he was pleased to learn police will begin using ShotSpotter this summer."While ShotSpotter will not end violence in our community, it will hopefully help to turn the tide of the growing homicide and violent crime rates in Louisville," Continue Reading

Readers sound off on hipsters, heartache and hatred

We all miss vanishing New York Brooklyn: So, only hipsters complain about “vanishing NYC”? (“The city’s healthy beating heart,” Op-Ed, June 2). I guess Francis Morrone doesn’t know any schoolteachers, UPS or FedEx drivers, office managers, dental technicians, manicurists, janitors, carpenters, electricians, nurses, midwives, doulas, home-aide caretakers, masseuses, physical therapists, school-lunch ladies, food-service workers, retail employees, copy editors, film editors, proofreaders, paralegals, mailroom employees, messengers, graphic designers, set designers, costume designers, makeup artists, face-painting artists, clowns, storytellers, stand-ups, shoemakers, tailors, veterinarians, bakers or owners of bodegas, delis or other small businesses. As for me, I’m just another Puerto Rican who grew up in the Bronx in the 1970s (yes, that Bronx) and now lives in Brooklyn (yes, that Brooklyn). As such, I’m most likely as far removed from Morrone’s and Nikolai Fedak’s (It’s a golden age,” Op-Ed, June 2) regular orbits as the Ferengi Alliance from Star Trek’s “Deep Space Nine” are from mine. Essays such as these are disrespectful to the natives and transplants who are the true heart and soul of New York City. Michele Carlo Chickens, eggs, bullets, bodies Pearl River, N.Y. A question for Mayor de Blasio, who attempted to deflect the rise in murders after his progressive administration ended stop-and-frisk by citing new technologies: Has it occured to you that Shot Spotter only works after a shot is fired and a victim potentially killed, whereas stop-and-frisk prevents potential shootings before they happen? Mike Sheridan Wake up call Brooklyn: Doesn’t anyone get it? Without stop-and-frisk being fully implemented, gun crimes, violence and murders go up. Most of the crimes are by blacks against blacks. Our children are dying and others are going to Continue Reading