When Dean Mehmood decided it was time to move his family out of Brooklyn, where his parents had been renting for 35 years, he took them on a driving tour of central New Jersey, looking for a place that was affordable and welcoming. He found it in the one-square-mile borough of Dunellen, in Middlesex County. “There was something that was calling my mother to this area, and to this house,” said Mr. Mehmood, a 27-year-old R&B singer, of the home he bought in December for $327,000. “She just had to have it.” “This is their first house. It’s a big deal,” he said of the two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath 1940s ranch house that he now shares with his 60-year-old retired parents, Tariq and Asia, and his younger brother. “When we signed the papers and got the keys, the first thing my mom said to me was, ‘I didn’t think I’d live to see the day I’d own my own house.’” NEW JERSEY NEW JERSEY New York City Dunellen SOMERSET COUNTY MIDDLESEX … [Read more...] about Dunellen, N.J.: Affordability, With a ‘Small-Town Quaintness’
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Last February, I searched for a vacation rental in Door County , the wayward spear of Wisconsin that juts into Lake Michigan, for an early May getaway, confident I had beaten the summer rush to the popular vacation spot. But Airbnb occupancy calendars for lovely converted farmhouses and log cabins were already full and when I called a local vacation home rental agency, the agent said they were almost completely booked through the summer. That’s how I ended up in a one-bedroom shack last spring with a wobbly card table in an ant-infested kitchen and a new awareness of the shrinking off-season. From Miami to communities around national parks like Zion in Utah and Joshua Tree in California, high-occupancy rates during traditionally off-season times of the year are muddling what was normally a reliable way to save money — traveling when few others are. Continued work-from-anywhere policies have freed travelers from their homes, and as they have flocked to places like Jackson Hole, … [Read more...] about Has the Pandemic Undermined Off-Season Deals?
WASHINGTON — As a small coterie of grim-faced advisers shuffled into the Oval Office on the evening of Oct. 15, President Obama’s chief domestic accomplishment was falling apart 24 miles away, at a bustling high-tech data center in suburban Virginia. HealthCare.gov, the $630 million online insurance marketplace, was a disaster after it went live on Oct. 1, with a roster of engineering repairs that would eventually swell to more than 600 items. The private contractors who built it were pointing fingers at one another. And inside the White House, after initially saying too much traffic was to blame, Mr. Obama’s closest confidants had few good answers. The political dangers were clear to everyone in the room: Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Kathleen Sebelius , the health secretary; Marilyn Tavenner, the Medicare chief; Denis McDonough, the chief of staff; Todd Park , the chief technology officer; and others. For 90 excruciating minutes, a furious and frustrated president … [Read more...] about Inside the Race to Rescue a Health Care Site, and Obama
TEMECULA, Calif. — Legal sports betting in the United States accelerated in 2021 as a flurry of states either overcame legislative logjams, as Ohio did just before Christmas, or signed off on online wagering, as New York did just after Election Day. But those efforts are likely to pale in comparison to the all-out lobbying, campaigning and legal jousting in 2022 involving what a DraftKings executive recently called “one of the holy grails” in sports betting: California. By November, Californians may be asked to vote on as many as four sports betting initiatives. That’s why deep-pocketed interests, including national sports books and Native American casinos, have been gearing up to spend $200 million to persuade voters in California to support their particular proposal — or to reject the others. One measure that has already qualified for the state ballot, sponsored by powerful tribes in California, would add sports wagering, but only in person, at tribal casinos or horse racing … [Read more...] about Sports Betting’s Next Big Election Battles Are in California