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    New colors, a tweaked logo, flashy uniforms and fired-up fans and players. The New York Jets are the latest NFL franchise to switch up their playbooks and call for a major rebranding, with the team's revamped look unveiled Thursday night during a launch party at a midtown Manhattan ballroom. 'It's just a different swagger, man,' safety Jamal Adams said. 'It's something that this team needed.' Gone is the familiar hunter green and white combination that graced the Jets' uniforms for the past 20 years, replaced by what the team calls 'Gotham Green' and 'Spotlight White.' There's also a 'Stealth Black' alternate uniform, along with a refreshed logo on all-green helmets. 'We wanted to create something that we think today's fans and traditional fans will like, and something that the players will like,' team president Neil Glat told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. 'And we also kind of were looking for that gritty, resilient New York City-area look. So, you're trying to accomplish a lot of different things.' It's a risky but potentially rewarding proposition with a thorough creative process — including lots of behind-the-scenes meetings, seemingly endless tweaks and plenty of opinions — that NFL teams, as well as franchises in other professional leagues, have attempted to varying degrees of success. 'The main reason teams do it is because fan interest has waned and you're looking to do a restart,' said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, and an adviser to several team owners. 'You're looking to re-energize or restart the marketing and branding of the team.' At least 10 NFL teams have tweaked their looks — Detroit, Minnesota, Miami, Cleveland — or redesigned their uniforms — Seattle, Jacksonville, Tennessee — since 2012, when Nike became the league's official apparel provider. 'I think you can tell fairly quickly by the reaction of the fans and by the reaction of the media,' Ganis said of how long it typically takes for a team to know whether it has a success on its hands or a marketing dud. 'And, you can tell by the reaction of the buyers for the stores. Are they buying a lot of merchandise because they are expecting big sales? Now, the problem with if you don't have a winner, there's not much you can really do about it. 'Decisions have been made. And, decisions have consequences.' Just ask the NHL's New York Islanders, whose 'fisherman' logo replaced the traditional 'NY' circular design before the 1995-96 season — but was absolutely despised by fans and was gone by the end of that season. In the NFL, teams can't pivot so quickly. They have to stick with their rebranded designs for five years before they can approach the league about changing uniforms and logos again. 'The reason we do that is to kind of help the consistency of the brand from a fan's point of view,' said Chris Stackhouse, the NFL's art director. 'It gives every change that we make enough longevity to really see if it sticks and make sure it works. So when our clubs approach us, they know that when they're making a change, it's a big deal and they're going to be locked into it for five years.' Jacksonville found out the hard way in 2013, when it redesigned its uniforms and included helmets that featured a two-tone finish. The new look was never fully embraced by Jaguars fans and was widely mocked. So, last year, the team unveiled an updated 'no-nonsense' look that was much better received. Merchandise revenue in the NFL is, by and large, divided equally among all 32 teams. So, franchises that make changes aren't necessarily doing it for money grabs to get new items online and on the shelves in retail marketplaces in hopes of direct financial gains. 'It's not an issue of revenue,' Ganis said. 'It's an issue of interest.' For the Jets, there was plenty of hype leading up to their first major uniform and logo changes since 1998. That included team CEO Christopher Johnson teasing the announcement during the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix last month by saying he thought the new uniforms were 'bad-ass.' There was rampant speculation on social media during the last several months with fan-crafted uniform mock-ups causing many to wonder if they were anywhere close to what would ultimately end up on the field. 'This is the first time the Jets are changing their brand and their how they communicate to fans in really a generation,' said James Carmichael, the NFL's brand director. 'So, it was really important to get this right. So you don't want to rush that. You want to make sure you're doing your due diligence exploring all your options to truly make sure that it fits who they are and who they want to be as a brand.' The process for the Jets began in 2014, when owner Woody Johnson and brother Christopher kicked around the idea of refreshing the look of the franchise. That jumpstarted several conversations between the team, Nike and the NFL, which surveyed management, employees and fans. 'Doing that diligence really kind of brings all the important pieces to the surface,' Stackhouse said, 'and helps my team really know how to kind of find that North Star creatively going forward.' When considering redesigning merchandise and apparel, teams typically have to measure the delicate balance between maintaining their traditions while having an eye toward the future. 'We know that fans of these teams, their colors or logos, this stuff is on shirts and apparel that are handed down from father to son from generation to generation,' Stackhouse said. 'These things mean a lot to people and we're changing that. So we take it very seriously, but we have to take as much of a long view on this as we can.' There was some early internal discussion in the Jets organization about making an extensive change to the team logo. Instead, the team decided on a refresh rather than an overhaul. The uniforms, though, were set for a complete rebranding — from the style to the color. That process included a trip to downtown Manhattan for Stackhouse and his team to sift through bolts of fabrics after not quite getting into the end zone with the right shade of green. 'We needed to refresh the process and think differently,' Stackhouse said. 'And sure enough, we brought back one and as soon as we rolled it out on the table, we, on our end, kind of looked at it and had a strong feeling that we knew it when we saw it. And when we brought it to Mr. Johnson and the rest of the ownership there, they felt the same way.' Once a team gets the color nailed down and the logo is in development, Nike takes on an even bigger role by designing uniforms based on the concepts that have been collected. Next comes the tweaks. And, lots of them. Until, eventually, a team has its new look. 'It took time and a lot of iterations and a lot of good quality work by people in this building and at the NFL and at Nike,' Glat said. 'And then even when you get close, then you have to start developing prototypes and you have to get the colors just right and you have to test it on the field and you have to test it with TV cameras, so it's been a deliberate process.' And, for the Jets, it comes at a time when change has swept through the franchise. There's a new coach in Adam Gase , a free-agent prize in running back Le'Veon Bell and a promising quarterback heading into his second NFL season in Sam Darnold. And, they'll all be sporting a new look this season. 'Look, people feel better when they're wearing cool clothes,' Ganis said. 'That's not just on the red carpet. That's also on the football field.' Winning or losing, however, will make for the ultimate fashion critic. 'If we don't play well,' Darnold said, 'the uniforms don't look good.' ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Less than 24 hours after a dozen brides came forward and said they had lost thousands of dollars to Alphonso Morris, with A&T Enterprise, for wedding photography they never got, the founder of Academy of Scholars, a private school in Arlington, Florida, claimed Morris also ripped her off. >> Watch the news report here “At this time, it needs to be stopped. There’s too many people that trust him,” Shevonica Howell said. >> Read more trending news  Howell said she hired Morris in 2016 to be the band director at her school. “I did see some red flags, I’ll be honest, on the background check, but things happen,” Howell said. But she said that after he didn’t show up to work for 19 of the 44 instructional days, he was fired. “He probably had about 10 kids based on how many times there was a birth or a death. I just couldn’t understand that,” Howell said. When he left, she said, he took all the band equipment that was donated to the school. She said she then found out he created a GoFundMe account with the school’s logo asking for donations. “To scam the community, kids that look up to him – I don’t understand that,” Howell said. Howell said she went to police and never heard from Morris again. The Better Business Bureau has created a file on Morris’ businesses to help warn others. “To hear that there were dozens of people scammed by this company and we weren’t reflecting that was disheartening,” said Shannon Nelson with the Better Business Bureau. ActionNewsJax also found Morris was connected to another business called Snap It Photography. A lawsuit was filed that claims Morris didn’t show up to photograph an event and it states, “This young man turned out to be a con artist.' The BBB wants people to contact the agency with complaints against Morris. ActionNewsJax tried to contact Morris again but couldn’t get in touch with him.
  • If you’re looking to make a career change, this summer is a great time to get your resume together and start applying for new jobs. Experts at the job search website Glassdoor say the 2018 job market is the strongest it has been in a generation — with a low unemployment rate of 3.8% in May. RELATED: 30 jobs in 30 days: Work from home with Amazon Mechanical Turk Amazon, FedEx and CKE Restaurants are hiring right now! Companies in the health care, tech, retail and other leading industries are ready to hire workers with the right skills. They’re offering competitive salaries, cool benefits and flexible schedules to recruit top talent. Here are 10 of the companies that Glassdoor says are hiring like crazy in June: 1. Chewy Open positions: Fulfillment Specialist, Forklift Operator, Senior Operations Manager, Senior Software Engineer, Quality Engineer, Customer Service Representative, Product Manager, Pricing, Military Veterans, Operation Management, Warehouse Worker, Human Resources Business Partner & more Locations: Sparks, NV; Boston, MA; Clayton, IN; Dallas, TX; Dania Beach, FL; Hollywood, FL; Mechanicsburg, PA; Louisville, KY; Ocala, FL; Wilkes-Barre, PA & more 2. Accenture Open positions: Oracle Cloud HCM Technical Lead, Customer Accounts Representative, Workday HCM Senior Manager, JavaScript-Node Developer, Customer Service Team Lead, Big Data Consultant, Healthcare Public Sector Cloud Advisory Manager & more Locations: Bethesda, MD; Austin, TX; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; Ontario, CA; Washington, DC & more 3. L’Oreal Open positions: Sales Representative, Sr. Chemist for Fast Beauty Innovation, VP of End-to-End Operations, Plant Hygienist, Manager of Real Estate Projects, Senior Manager of Packaging Innovation, Senior Planning Architect, Key Holder, Director of Product Design & more Locations: New York, NY; Auvergne, AR; Grand Junction, CO; Fr Settlement, LA; Sicily, IL; Marche, AR & more 4. Amazon Open positions: Prime Now Associate, Part-Time Sortation Associate, Full-Time Warehouse Associate, Seasonal Sortation Associate, Fresh Warehouse Associate, Area Manager & more Locations: West Valley City, UT; San Antonio, TX; Tracy, CA; Mundelein, IL; Jacksonville, FL; Baltimore, MD; Bethpage, NY; Kent, WA & more 5. CKE Restaurants Open positions: Crew Person, General Manager in Training, Shift Leader, Real Estate Manager, Manager, Executive Assistant, Restaurant Profitability Coach, Director of Audit, IT Manager & more Locations: Nashville, TN; Lavonia, GA; Anaheim, CA; Franklin, TN; Los Angeles, CA; Spartanburg, SC; Hobbs, NM; Anderson, SC & more 6. FedEx Open positions: Admin Support, Retail Customer Service Associate, Driver Apprentice, Team Leader Part-Time, Freight Handler Part-Time, Service Center Support, Account Executive Market Development, Store Manager, Forklift Operator & more Locations: Memphis, TN; Chicago, IL; Collierville, TN; Colorado Springs, CO; Dallas, TX; Harrison, AR; Windsor Locks, CT: Salt Lake City, UT & more 7. ATI Physical Therapy Open positions: Occupational Health RN, Billing Specialist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Rehab Technician, Clinical Assistant, Outreach Athletic Trainer, Exercise Specialist, Senior Accountant, Driver & more Locations: Hyattsville, MD; Las Vegas, NV; Wilmington, DE; Waldorf, MD; Algonquin, IL; Madisonville, KY; Monroe, MI; Plano, TX; Bolingbrook, IL & more 8. Arrow Exterminators Open positions: Inside Sales, Customer Care Coordinator, Pest Control Technician, Corporate Administrative Assistant, Outside Sales Professional, Branch Manager, Accounts Collection Coordinator, Office Manager & more Locations: Maryville, TN; Columbus, GA; Decatur, TX; Franklin, TN; Spartanburg, SC; Lynbrook, NY; Atlanta, GA & more 9. Protiviti Open positions: Interns, Regulatory Manager, IT Audit Senior Consultant, Mergers & Acquisitions Senior Manager, Technology Consulting Security & Privacy Senior Consultant, Internal Audit Healthcare Manager, Risk & Compliance – Regulatory Manager & more Locations: San Francisco, CA; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; New York, NY & more 10. Northrop Grumman Open positions: Embedded Software Engineer, Senior DevOps Systems Administrator, Cloud Administrator, Program Cost Schedule & Control Analyst, Front-End Web Developer, Cyber Information Systems Security Analyst & more Locations: Chantilly, VA; Annapolis Junction, MD; Sierra Vista, AZ; Falls Church, VA & more See the full list of 40 companies hiring like crazy in June at Glassdoor.com. Give your resume a makeover To advance to the interview stage, you need to have a resume that hiring managers will notice! If you haven’t updated your resume in the past year, dust it off and update it so that you’re ready when the perfect job opportunity comes along. Does your resume look anything like the one on the left?  Follow Team Clark’s step-by-step guide to resume success in 2018! More Clark.com job search resources: Job alert: 50 best places to work in 2018 25 ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in 2018 Top 10 jobs for 2018 that don’t require a college degree Related Articles from clark.com: Vegetables sold at Aldi, Walmart, Trader Joe’s recalled over listeria fears Read More 7 things to know before you buy gas at Costco Wholesale Read More Employees reveal 7 secrets about shopping at Trader Joe's Read More
  • Keyless ignition has become standard in the majority of new cars today, but amid the fanfare for state-of-the-art advancements in the auto industry, there is can be a dark side that many people don’t know about. People who own cars with keyless ignition systems have been prone to park and get out of the vehicle while it is still running. This is apparently happening because they either assume that if they have the key, the car must be off or they’re just forgetting to press the off button. In either scenario, the mistake cam be deadly, according to a new report. Keyless ignition systems linked to deaths — here’s how to stay safe More than two dozen people have been killed by carbon monoxide in keyless ignition-related incidents across the country over the past 12 years, according to the New York Times. Many more have been hurt, some even left with brain damage, the Times reports. While many vehicles have a series of beeps and other warning signals to let the driver know that the car is still running, there is no uniform standard that automakers must adhere to. As a result, a voluntary hodge-podge system is leaving motorists, especially older ones, at risk, the Times reports. In March of this year, Action News Jacksonville detailed the story of a Florida mother who was on a job-related phone call when she pulled into her parents’ garage with her baby in the backseat. “As I came in I wanted the garage door to be closed when the conference call started so I went ahead and pushed the button to close the door,” Constance Petot told Action News Jacksonville. “And I think in my head I just told myself I had pushed this button instead of that button.” Later that night, her young son woke up crying. It turns out, the 13-month-old, who may have had a headache, his mother says, ended up saving his and other family members’ lives. Carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas, had reached dangerous levels throughout the home. “Once I got dizzy, I knew I needed to get out of there,” Petot was quoted as saying. “And walked down the stairs, opened the garage door and saw that the taillight was on.” Resistance from the auto industry, along with relative inaction by safety agencies, has led to scant information being known about keyless tech-related deaths, the article says. In fact, as the Times article points out: “The exact number of deaths related to carbon monoxide from keyless-ignition vehicles left running is unknown, as no federal agency keeps comprehensive records.” Still, if you have a key fob, there’s no need to panic or make rash decisions. Here are some ways you can prevent deadly mistakes from happening: Here’s what you can do to protect yourself If you have a keyless ignition vehicle, keep a carbon monoxide detector near the entrance of your home’s garage door If your home’s carbon monoxide detector (or smoke detector) goes off, immediately head outside or do what you can to open a window so some fresh air can enter. Immediately make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for Call 911 or any local emergency service, like the fire department Don’t assume the home is safe for re-entry until the authorities have told you so Keep up to date with the latest safety tips and more at Clark.com. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook! RELATED: Keyless ignition may pose hidden, deadly dangers Related Articles from clark.com: Vegetables sold at Aldi, Walmart, Trader Joe’s recalled over listeria fears Read More Employees reveal 7 secrets about shopping at Trader Joe's Read More How to cancel private mortgage insurance years ahead of schedule Read More
  • After nearly bottoming out about a decade ago, home prices are again on the upswing around the United States. Attesting to the heat of the real estate market, structures that were affordable just five years ago in many places are out of reach for a lot of people today. The trend could cause some to assume that buying a home with an affordable mortgage is just a dream, but that’s not the case. There are still many locales around the nation with low housing costs. 10 cities where you can find a home for less than $800 a month To be fair, it bears pointing out that many of the cities where you can find cheaper houses have sluggish economic growth and low wages, according to GoBankingRates.com. The finance site recently looked at 20 cities where you could buy for $1,000 a month, including relatively thriving cities like Jacksonville, Florida, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But there are multiple cities where you could shave $200 a month off that figure and still get into a decent home. The numbers were arrived at by calculating Zillow data on the average mortgage rate (all about 4.3%) and monthly mortgage payments with the assumption of a 20% down payment. Here are 10 cities around the United States where you can get a mortgage for $800 or less along with the forecast increase in average value over the course of the next year, according to GoBankingRates.com: 10. Wichita, Kansas Monthly mortgage payment: $746 1-year forecast: 3.7% 9. Tulsa, Oklahoma Monthly mortgage payment : $789 1-year forecast: 3.2% 8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Monthly mortgage payment : $595 1-year forecast: 4.1% 7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Monthly mortgage payment: $887 1-year forecast : 2.3% 6. El Paso, Texas Monthly mortgage payment: $806 1-year forecast: 2.1% 5. Buffalo, New York Monthly mortgage payment: $428 1-year forecast : 4.3% 4. Cleveland, Ohio Monthly mortgage payment: $380 1-year forecast: 4.1% 3. Baltimore, Maryland Monthly mortgage payment : $695 1-year forecast : 2.2% 2. Memphis, Tennessee Monthly mortgage payment: $403 1-year forecast: 3.4% 1. Toledo, Ohio Monthly mortgage payment: $382 1-year forecast : 2.3% What makes a person want to buy a particular home? Research tells us many factors, like schools, proximity to the workplace and the like are involved. But in many cases, especially when it comes to young adults, it could even be Instagram. RELATED: Selling your home yourself? Here’s why an ‘Agents Protected’ sign is huge Related Articles from clark.com: New report: This pharmacy's prices are cheaper than Costco Read More Travel alert: Clark Howard warns about American, Delta and United’s cheap fares Read More Aldi vs. Kroger vs. Walmart: Which grocery store has the lowest prices? Read More
  • DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: Costa Rica HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta: $390 San Jose, Costa Rica, or $178 south, $212 north Valid most days southbound starting on or after August 1 through October 31 Valid most days northbound starting on after September 11 Finish trips on or before February 11, 2019 Valid on American via Miami Booking tip: Purchase as one-way tickets (round-trip prices higher) Compare to Delta’s regularly published rates of $717 TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS Safe Travel Staying safe while you travel abroad isn’t so different from avoiding crime in your very own neighborhood. Don’t carry too much cash. Don’t leave your things unattended. Leave the jewelry at home. Be aware of the surrounding, who’s around you, and what they’re doing. Here are some often used scams, and some new ones to be aware of: The Turkey Drop: The named was coined by the U.S. Department of State. It’s a common scam where you end up as the turkey. It all starts when you notice a dropped wallet on the ground. Then a stranger appears, pick up the wallet and ask if it’s yours. They might even toss it to you; the goal is to get you to touch or hold the money. That’s when the scammer’s accomplice yells, “That’s my wallet!” and accuse you of trying to steal it. At that point, the scammers join forces against you. There are several variations of this endgame. In the first, the strangers threaten to hand you over to the police if you don’t bribe them handsomely. In the second, they demand that you show your money to prove you didn’t steal theirs. The second your wallet is out in the open, they grab it and run. In another variation, another “tourist” gets involved and suggests sharing the found money. Then the fraudsters appear claiming the full amount. Storage Locker Scam: Never accept the offer of what appears to be an act of kindness at bus or train stations and at airports. Scammers will offer to save you money by passing on the key to a storage locker they just checked out of. If you accept, the scammer will unlock your storage area after you depart the area with a copy key. The Wallet Drop:  You’re sitting in an airport, train station or in a public spot with all your bags and spot a wallet dropped on the ground. You pick it up and run to give it back. The stranger thanks you, and you run back to your seat minus your possessions. An accomplice has made off with all of your stuff. Don’t Display Wealth: Even a broke student backpacker from the U.S. looks fabulously wealthy in southeast Asia. Walk with confidence and feigning indifference to your surroundings. That may mean leaving your expensive camera in the bag and practice a little restraint when taking a selfie. Keep daily walking around money separate from the rest of your travel money. Consider carrying a decoy wallet when in areas known for pickpockets. Get a cheap old wallet and fill it with expired credit cards and a small amount of cash. If someone tries to mug you, hand them the fake wallet, while your real nest egg remains hidden beneath your shirt. Learn more about travel scams at the State Department’s Travel pages . Before a journey, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP . Through this free service, U.S. citizens can share their travel plans with the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. STEP will alert travelers via mobile text in extreme situations such as natural disasters, civil unrest, or family emergency. Mobile Passport You know about Global Entry, but what about Mobile Passport ? The free app gets you quickly through U.S. Customs when entering the U.S. at one cruise port and 24 airports. This app effectively replaces the traditional blue-and-white paper declaration form handed out just before landing in the states and on the sea before embarkation. Simply answer the same questions as the paper declaration form (Are you bringing back fruits and vegetables? and Are you carrying more than $10,000?), and then get a digital receipt that allows you to use the express lane to enter the United States. When using the Mobile Passport app to re-enter the states, you will not have to wait in the long, snaking lines and will breeze through customs and immigration faster than those at Global Entry kiosks. Download the Mobile Passport app for either Android or iOS stores the passport number, expiration date, and a photo. On arrival to the states from overseas, switch off airplane mode,  and open the app. Submit answers while taxiing to the terminal, and the app will provide a QR code “receipt” that you can use at customs and immigration in lieu of the traditional paper form. Inside the arrivals hall, look for the designated Mobile Passport lane. An agent will check your passport, scan your receipt, and send you onward to customs, where you can once again take the special Mobile Passport lane to skip any lines. SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to HURRY!  can expire at any time.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price! One-way from Atlanta, each way: $49 Nashville $59 Greenville $63 Daytona Beach, Orlando (Delta exclusive, nonstop) $67 Ft. Lauderdale (Delta exclusive, nonstop) $77 Orlando $80 St. Louis $82 Boston $83 Houston, Kansas City, W. Palm Beach $84 Detroit $87 Washington DC-Reagan or Dulles $92 Columbus, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tampa $96 Milwaukee, Pittsburgh $97 Austin, San Antonio $98 NYC-LaGuardia $101 New Orleans $113 Dallas $114 Chicago $119 Raleigh, Richmond $120 Minneapolis $122 Baltimore $127 Denver $128 Philadelphia, Phoenix $144 Las Vegas $153 Oakland $194 San Diego A 21-day advance purchase required Fly Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday through June 13, or August 21 through October 31 Travel to Florida and Nevada Sundays-Wednesdays; from Florida and Nevada Tuesdays-Fridays Blackout dates: May 24, 25, 28; August 31; September 3 Purchase at Southwest Airlines by March 29 One-way from Atlanta, each way: $168 Cancun A 21-day advance purchase required Depart through May 17, or August 21 through October 31 Travel to Cancun Sundays-Wednesdays; from Cancun Tuesdays-Fridays Purchase by March 29 at Southwest Airlines One-way from Atlanta, each way: $235 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Depart through May 17, or August 21 through October 31 Valid Monday-Thursday in each direction Purchase by March 29 at Southwest Airlines HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta: $262 Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos Valid Saturdays only in April Also valid on September 8-December 8 departures (up to 3x week) Complete travel on or before December 19 Valid on United via Houston HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta: $416 Barbados Depart April 16-June 27 or September 3-November 19 Finish trips on or before December 18 Valid on American via Miami HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta: $458-$480 Aruba Depart April 20-February 2, 2019 Finish trips on or before February 11, 2019 Valid on American via Miami or Charlotte How do you find these great airfare deals? Visit Clark’s Atlanta Travel Tips page for a step-by-step search and booking guide. NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are purchased during the ticket booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines. HOTELS, RESORTS & MORE Beach, Baby! Divi Resorts offers promotional deals on Aruba, Bonaire, Barbados and St. Maarten for travel throughout 2018. But bookings must be made by April 30 . The deals save as much as 50% for all military personnel, firefighters and police, including those who are on active service, reserve and retired, as well as their spouses and children. Divi Resorts provides a wide variety of on-site amenities, including elegant restaurants, lively bars, freshwater pools, sports courts, spas and more. All-suite accommodations are perfect for romantic getaways and families needing extra space to stretch out. Plus, with Divi’s Kids Stay and Eat Free Program and Treasures of the Caribbean Kids Club, even young guests will have plenty to do, for a fraction of the cost. Deals on room only and all-inclusive stays: Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort Aruba: From $175, or $227 per person, per night all-inclusive Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort Aruba: From $169, or $200 per person, per night all-inclusive Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort Aruba: From $249 Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino Bonaire: From $149, or $178 per person, per night all-inclusive Divi Southwinds Beach Resort Barbados: From $159 Divi Little Bay Beach Resort St. Maarten: From $189, or $195 per person, per night all-inclusive Luxe NYC Rates from $199, including a $50 food and beverage credit are offered on Thursday-Sunday stays at the chic Kimpton Ink48 Hotel, named as one of NYC’s Top 50 hotels by Conde Nast Traveler. This special rate is valid on April, July and August stays – and over the Memorial Day weekend (May 24-28). Rates range from $219-$239 most Mondays-Wednesdays in April, July-August. Or, travel to see the spectacular July 4th fireworks and stay from $169 from July 1-8. Many nights in May and June are also discounted. The hotel offers beautiful views of the Hudson River and the city skyline, yet is tucked away from the city’s noisiest streets. This sophisticated hotel is also within walking distance of Hell’s Kitchen and Times Square, several major subway lines and a variety of dining options. Newly renovated guest rooms have oversized windows. Onsite venues include a farm-to-table restaurant and one of the city’s best rooftop bars. Guest amenities include a daily hosted wine reception, complimentary morning coffee and tea service, free bike rentals and a yoga mat in every room. The hotel’s convenient and quiet location on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen put it within a few blocks of Times Square, several major subway lines and a variety of dining options. Book soon and start the reservation process at Travelzoo . Also, check out the deals at Travelzoo on NYC theater tickets . Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on  Twitter . Looking for more deals? View all current airfare offers at Clark’s Atlanta Travel Deals page or the National Travel Deals page. Get the first word on limited seat sales. Follow us on Social:  Like Clark Smart Travel on Facebook  Follow @Clark_Travel on Twitter Related Articles from clark.com: Warning: Do NOT buy these dietary supplements Read More 3 money-saving Amazon Prime perks you need to know about right now Read More The best wireless network in America is... Read More
  • DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: Cancun Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $336 Cancan, or $168 each way Valid April 3-May 17 or August 21-October 31 Travel to Cancun Sundays-Wednesdays; from Cancun Tuesdays-Fridays Purchase by March 15 Valid on Southwest Airlines , nonstop (and up to 2 free checked bags) TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS Unique Disney Tours Disney World Orlando guests now have the chance to play conservationist for a limited time with a unique behind-the-scenes tour of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In honor of the park’s 20th-anniversary celebration, Disney is rolling out “A Path Less Traveled,” a self-described “special collection of unique experiences that give guests a fun behind-the-scenes look at the magic of nature.” The activities, which will only be available April 1-May 5, include a trio of behind-the-scenes animal care programs, as well as VIP waterfront seating at the Rivers of Light nighttime show. Adventurers looking for a more intimate exploration of the park will enjoy: A Visit to Rafiki’s Planet Watch: Take a peek at one of Disney’s state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals while learning about the theme park’s animal care program for more than 1,500 animal residents. Birds Nest Exploration: Disney is a migratory playground for the purple martin, North America’s largest swallow. The birds travel more than 3,000 miles from their winter home in the Brazilian Amazon to their Orlando perch, where Disney has set up nearly two dozen purple martin house “resorts.” Unforgettable Elephant Encounters: This program includes a one-hour Caring for Giants tour, observing elephants from a distance of approximately 80 to 100 feet, Programs are scheduled throughout the day. Reserve the tour by calling (407) 939-7529. The fee for the entire program is $59, including a snack and drink option. Miami Food Halls The La Centrale Miami Italian Food Hall has opened at Brickell City Centre in downtown Miami. The 40,000-square-foot dining and marketplace concept brings together 14 food stations, five bars and a wine shop stocked with more than 4,000 bottles – food and drink unique to 20 Italian regions. The first floor features six grab-and-go counters overflowing with espresso, salads, cheeses, meats and breads, along with an all-day breakfast and lunch café, and a rustic pizza and pasta family style restaurant. The second floor features three traditional sit-down restaurants including Carne, La Centrale’s steakhouse that prepares 48-day dry-aged steaks over a wood-fire grill. Pesce, the hall’s seafood restaurant inspired by the Italian Riviera, flies in fresh branzino from Italy every morning. There’s also a lively cocktail bar with a large performance stage, and a chocolate shop filled with two chocolate fountains, 16 rotating gelato flavors and 80 types of imported chocolates. The top floor is all about wine with Enoteca , a robust wine bar, complete with wine flights, a small bites menu and free weekly tastings. La Centrale joins the 18,000-square-foot Casa Tua Cucina , which offers a similar lineup of Italian cuisine, located inside Saks Fifth Avenue at Brickell City Centre. The 300-seat Casa Tua Cucina includes ten dining stations, each with a different chef and all sharing a kitchen. It’s also family-friendly, with a more casual atmosphere and affordable prices. SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to HURRY!  can expire at any time.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price! 3-Day Flash Sale! One-way from Atlanta, each way: $49 Greenville, Nashville $74 Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit $80 St. Louis $82 Boston $83 Houston, Kansas City, W. Palm Beach $84 Philadelphia $86 New Orleans $87 Washington DC-Reagan or Dulles $92 Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tampa $94 Austin, San Antonio $96 Milwaukee, Pittsburgh $104 Denver, Minneapolis $119 Richmond or Raleigh $194 San Diego A 21-day advance purchase required Valid Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays Travel to Florida valid Sundays-Wednesdays; from Florida Tuesdays-Fridays Travel April 3-June 13 or August 21-October 31 Blackout dates: May 24, 25, 28; August 31; September 3 Purchase by March 15 at Southwest Airlines NOTE: This is not a systemwide sale and not all cities served from ATL are included How do you find these great airfare deals? Visit Clark’s Atlanta Travel Tips page for a step-by-step search and booking guide. NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are purchased during the ticket booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines. HOTELS, RESORTS & MORE Germany’s FlixBus & Eurail Promo Germany’s rail sector remains dominated by Deutsche Bahn, which still accounts for 99% of all long-distance rail journeys. But since last summer there is some competition! Flixbus, known for its expansive bus network across Europe, will offer Flixtrain service between Hamburg and Cologne (via Duesseldorf, Essen and Osnabrueck) from March 24 onwards. Travelers will now be able to reach Hamburg with non-stop connections from Duesseldorf, Essen or Cologne just as quickly as with the ICE Deutsche Bahn. Prices will start from €9.99 each way, lower than those of rival Deutsche Bahn. Onboard features include complimentary Wi-Fi, extra legroom, low-cost snacks and drinks, numerous plug sockets and a lot of room for baggage. Currently, travelers can ride with Flixbus to over 1,400 travel destinations in 27 countries. If you have the time, Flixbus offers a Discover 5 European cities for €99, valid for up to 90 days. The low-cost giant has now set its sights on the United States, where it plans to take on the iconic Greyhound Lines by launching a series of long-distance bus services in California later this year. ______ Explore more of Europe for less money with Eurail’s Extra Days Promotion . For those purchasing passes through March 31, five extra travel days can be added. Additional benefits include discounts of up to 20% on City Cards in cities such as Barcelona, Brussels, Ljubljana and Salzburg. Those purchasing the Eurail Global Pass can earn one extra day with both the five-day and seven-day passes. The purchase of Global Passes for 10 or 15 days of travel within two months, earns two extra days. For those traveling 15 days on a continuous pass, two extra days are offered. Visitors traveling on a continuous pass for 22 days can get three extra days and those traveling for one month, continuously receive five free days. Extra days are also offered on the Eurail Select Pass and the One Country Pass. Passes are available for purchase up to 11 months in advance. San Francisco Getaways Book a stay at the stylish Harbor Court Hotel which features stunning views of the Bay Bridge and Embarcadero. Onsite is a swimming pool and a fitness center and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is just across the street for breakfast to dinner dining options. Other amenities include a sleek, on-site Japanese restaurant and sake lounge, loaner bikes and access to an adjacent YMCA (both for a fee). Plush, colorful rooms feature Bay Bridge, city or courtyard views and have free Wi-Fi, iHome docks, minibars and flat-screen TVs. Rooms also have yoga mats, designer toiletries, Italian linens and goose-down duvets. An evening wine hour and morning coffee and tea are complimentary for guests. Here’s a look at sample per night rates in a Queen room with the 50% Off Weekend Promotion (3-night stay): Friday from $150 Saturday from $210 Sunday from $90 This waterfront hotel is a 6-minute walk from the BART Embarcadero rail station. Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on  Twitter . Looking for more deals? View all current airfare offers at Clark’s Atlanta Travel Deals page or the National Travel Deals page. Get the first word on limited seat sales. Follow us on Social:  Like Clark Smart Travel on Facebook  Follow @Clark_Travel on Twitter Related Articles from clark.com: Here's your 2018 estimated tax refund schedule Read More Warning: Do NOT buy these dietary supplements Read More 3 money-saving Amazon Prime perks you need to know about right now Read More
  • DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: Switzerland HURRY! Round-trip from New York: $423-$500 New York-JFK to Zurich, Switzerland Depart April 8-June 8 Finish trips on or before June 22 Or depart August 20-October 10 Finish travel on or before October 25 Valid on Swiss, nonstop Note: Rates are slightly higher in July Purchase by March 22 Atlanta travelers:  See below how to travel for $551 to Zurich! TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS Flying Support/Service Animals Customers have attempted to fly with all manner of animals in recent years, according to Delta, including comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, and spiders. The policy changes come on the heels of an 84% increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals since 2016. The airline said that passengers ignoring the true intent of existing rules regarding service and support animals is a disservice to customers who have real, documented needs. This week, Delta began enforcing new regulations for passengers traveling with emotional support and service animals and now requires in some cases a Veterinary Health Form and immunization record be provided or other proof that the animal’s vaccinations are up to date. For emotional support animals, the new Delta regulations are stricter and include a range of mandatory requirements, among them submission of a Veterinary Health Form and immunization records as well as an Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Request form that includes a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional. Learn more about the new Delta policy changes and requirements . United Airlines also now requires additional documentation from those wishing to travel with emotional support or psychiatric service animals. Visit United for updated policy information and new requirements. Wheel Deals Visiting Florida soon? Buy an inexpensive one-way flight south and drive out a deal from a number of rental car companies from just $9.99 (pre-tax) per day — for up to 14 days. Act fast on these offers! Once the rental car company projects enough cars will be relocated, the promotional deals end and the era of high daily rates and one-way fees returns for the season. Published rates shown on various websites are only the Base Rate charge (Time and Mileage) and exclude applicable taxes, fees, surcharges, refueling, drop-off, and charges for optional products or services such as Damage Waiver (at $30 or less per day), which are the responsibility of the renter. Minimum age may vary by location and an additional daily surcharge may apply for renters under 25 years old. This savings offer is valid with Alamo for reservations picked up between March 26 and May 31 from the following participating Florida locations: Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Naples and Punta Gorda. Also valid for reservations picked up between April 1 and May 31 at the following participating Florida locations: Tampa, Clearwater, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm, Key West and Boca Raton. From $9.99 Economy through Full Size vehicles As low as $19.99 Intermediate and Standard SUVs As low as $24.99 base rate per day applies to Minivans For certain locations, base rates of less than $9.99 per day may be available. To see if a lower rate is available, visit http://www.alamo.com or contact the pick up location. Book your one-way ride at Alamo . ______ Rentals from Enterprise are valid for reservations picked up between March 26-May 31 from the following participating Florida locations: Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Naples, Punta Gorda, Orlando, Disney Hotels, Daytona Beach, Melbourne and Sanford. Also valid for reservations picked up between April 1-May 31 from: Tampa, Clearwater, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm, Key West and Boca Raton. $9.99 per day on Economy through Full Size From $19.99 daily on Intermediate and Standard SUVs From $24.99 for Minivans Book these wheel deals at Enterprise . ______ Avis also participates with slightly varied rates and dates: Availability is April 1 through May 31. Use AWD code R003500 at checkout and let your journey begin! Here are the per day rates: Economy, Compact, Midsize, Standard, Full Size $14.95/day (groups A-E) Intermediate SUV $19.95/day (group F) Standard SUV $19.95/day (group W) Standard Elite SUV $19.95/day Convertible $19.95/day (group K) Minivan $24.95/day (group V) Passenger Van $41.95/day (group P) This offer excludes pick-up from Pensacola and Jacksonville. Participating drop off cities include: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, San Antonio, St. Louis, Boston, Buffalo, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Washington/Baltimore, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh Durham, Albuquerque, Northern California, Portland, Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas. Start your reservation at Avis . ______ Springtime drive-out rates from Budget are eligible on pick ups from April 1 through May 31. Use BCD code S374100 for these rates: $14.49 Economy through Full Size $19.49 Intermediate SUV, Standard Elite SUV, Minivan and Convertible $24.49/day Passenger Van $41.49/day Standard SUV Excludes pick-up from Pensacola and Jacksonville. Participating drop off cities include: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, San Antonio, St. Louis, Boston, Buffalo, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Washington/Baltimore, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh Durham, Albuquerque, Northern California, Portland, Seattle, and Southern California. ______ Hertz has yet to publish spring drive-out Florida rates but will likely match these offers. Watch for new offers on the special deals page. SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to HURRY!  can expire at any time.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price! HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $58 Orlando, or $29 each way Valid Tuesday or Wednesday from on March 20-29 travel Rates range from $29-$40 daily through May 23 and $50 through November 1 Valid on Frontier, nonstop HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $94 Miami, or $47 each way No advance purchase required — go as soon as this week Valid Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday through August 21 Blackout dates: June 28, 29 Valid on American, nonstop Tip: Most availability is on Tuesdays HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $98 Austin, or $49 each way Valid Tuesdays only starting on or after April 11; final travel May 16 $174 Phoenix, or $87 each way Valid Tuesdays only starting on or after April 10; final travel May 22 Valid on Frontier, nonstop HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $128 Orlando, or $64 each way Valid daily starting on or after April 2 Finish trips on or before October 1 (from $74 thereafter) Valid on Delta, nonstop HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $128 New Orleans, or $64 each way A 14-day advance purchase required Valid daily through May 23 on nonstop Delta flights HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $128 New York-JFK, or $64 each way Valid Tuesdays and Wednesdays through May 2; $99 thereafter Add this ticket with the nonstop Swiss offer above for a total of $551 Compare to Delta’s round-trip ATL-ZRH rate of $1,200 HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $148 Ft. Lauderdale, or $74 each way A 21-day advance purchase required Valid daily through November 3 (from $83 thereafter) Valid on Delta, nonstop HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $158 Tampa, or $79 each way Valid daily starting on or after April 10 (time of day specific) Finish trips on or before June 14 Valid on Delta, nonstop HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta: $266-$280 Cabo San Lucas-Los Cabos Depart daily starting on or after September 1 through December 11 Finish trips on or before January 11 Valid on United via Houston HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $359 Barbados, or $150 south; $209 north Valid Monday-Friday Depart September 4 through November 5 south; from April 12 through January 11 north Valid on American via Miami Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted): $460 Anchorage or Fairbanks, Alaska, or $230 each way Valid Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday starting on or after April 10 Finish trips on or before May 23 Valid on Delta via Seattle Purchase by March 21 Round-trip from Atlanta: $672 Paris Valid midweek on April 6 through May 4 departures Finish trips on or before May 17 Valid on American via Charlotte or Philadelphia Purchase by March 14 (we suggest asap!) HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta: $990 Buenos Aires, Argentina Valid daily Depart April 9 through June 3 Finish trips on or before June 18 A 3-night minimum stay required Valid on American via Dallas Compare to Delta’s round-trip rate of $1,759 How do you find these great airfare deals? Visit Clark’s Atlanta Travel Tips page for a step-by-step search and booking guide. NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are purchased during the ticket booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines. HOTELS, RESORTS & MORE NOLA Rates start from just $109 a night at the recently renovated SpringHill Suites New Orleans Downtown/Convention Center . Guest rooms received new furniture, paint, carpet and bathrooms, while the breakfast area also received a major makeover. The all-suite hotel additionally expanded its fitness center with cardio equipment and free weights. Modern suites have free WiFi, premium cable channels, plus desks and living areas with pull-out sofas. Kitchenettes provide coffeemakers, minifridges, microwaves and wet bars. The morning breakfast buffet with fresh-baked croissants, fresh fruits, golden-brown waffles and eggs made to order is complimentary for diners staying at the hotel. Onsite is a convenience store, an outdoor pool, a hot tub and a coin laundry. This SpringHill Suites property is 9-minute walk to the Port of New Orleans, Harrah’s New Orleans, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk and National WWII Museum (5-minute walk). SC Getaway Enjoy a Low Country Getaway at Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms through March 30. The 1,600 acre resort in South Carolina spans the northern tip of the Isle of Palms, a lush barrier island off the coast of Charleston. Sitting on 1,600 acres, the oceanfront resort offers a variety of accommodations, including oceanfront suites and homes overlooking the fairways. Explore the island on bikes, play golf or tennis, or drive 15 miles into historic downtown Charleston. Save 20% on a two-night stay or 25% on three or more nights in the AAA Four Diamond Boardwalk Inn, the Village at Wild Dunes (choose from guestrooms, studio suites, one- to three-bedroom suites and penthouses), or select home and condo rentals (three- to seven-bedroom homes and one- to three-bedroom condos). Nightly rates before the discount start from $149. Mention Washingtonian to receive a complimentary Wild Dunes Resort bucket gift filled with local snacks and beers (a $25 value). Refer to code WILDDC when booking. The Countdown to Summer promotion offers 20% savings for May 28-August 30 stays in the Village and on vacation home and condo rentals. A minimum two-night stay required. Average rates from $159 in a Village Resort View guest room situated 200 yards to the beach. Onsite are numerous dining options, a spa, and the newly renovated Links Course and Harbor Course – both open to the public. Tennis Magazine ranked Wild Dunes a U.S. Top 10 Tennis Resort for nine years in a row. The resort offers 17 Har-Tru courts – including a stadium court – and light five of them for night play. Guests enjoy daily complimentary court time and programs for all levels of play to clinics and drills. Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on  Twitter . Looking for more deals? View all current airfare offers at Clark’s Atlanta Travel Deals page or the National Travel Deals page. Get the first word on limited seat sales. Follow us on Social:  Like Clark Smart Travel on Facebook  Follow @Clark_Travel on Twitter Related Articles from clark.com: Here's your 2018 estimated tax refund schedule Read More Warning: Do NOT buy these dietary supplements Read More 3 money-saving Amazon Prime perks you need to know about right now Read More
  • Want to get a one-way rental car for dirt cheap? The calendar can be your friend twice a year! RELATED: Here’s how your passport could be useless, even if it’s not expired Do you know this secret of the car rental industry? Have you ever heard of a re-positioning cruise in the cruise ship industry? That’s where you get a super-cheap price on a cruise simply because the cruise line has to move the ship back from where it already is to a hot vacation market ahead of a peak travel time. Not a lot of people know this, but it’s possible to get the equivalent of this in the car rental industry. Twice a year, car rental companies have to move cars around to meet demand. They will give you a great deal on a one-way rental if you can help them! Right now, we’re about to enter one of those periods. What you need to know about re-positioning rental car deals As peak season comes to an end in Florida, car rental companies need to get their vehicles out of the state and move them up North along the East Coast. This is the time of year you’ll find rentals for around $15 per day — if you can move their vehicles out of the Sunshine State. Generally, you can rent up to two weeks on one of these deals. If you want to be really frugal, you can buy the cheapest one-way airfare into Florida from wherever you live. Then you pick your rental up at the airport, and you keep it for up to 14 days. Use it during your vacation and then drive it back up North! Even at $15/day, these offers save the car rental companies a fortune because they get out of having to hire a transfer driver or dedicating an employee to re-position the vehicle. So you get a great deal and you save the rental company money at the same time! In the fall, it works in reverse in the fall. You can get a deal in the North and drive it down to Florida. You’ll get to use it while you’re down there and then you can get a cheap one-way airline ticket back home. This is the smart way to have a cheaper Florida vacation. Avis deals Avis availability is April 1 through May 31. Use AWD code R003500 at checkout to score these deals. Here are the per day rates: Economy, Compact, Midsize, Standard, Full Size $14.95/day (groups A-E) Intermediate SUV $19.95/day (group F) Standard SUV $19.95/day (group W) Standard Elite SUV $19.95/day Convertible $19.95/day (group K) Minivan $24.95/day (group V) Passenger Van $41.95/day (group P) This offer excludes pick-up from Pensacola and Jacksonville. Participating drop off cities include: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, San Antonio, St. Louis, Boston, Buffalo, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Washington/Baltimore, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh Durham, Albuquerque, Northern California, Portland, Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas. Rates are valid for a max of 14-consecutive-days. Taxes, concession recovery fees, vehicle license recovery fee, customer facility charges may apply and are extra. Optional products such as LDW ($29.99/day or less) — which Clark says you should never get because you may already have coverage through a credit card or auto insurance policy —  and refueling are extra. Book here. Alamo deals Offer valid for reservations picked up between March 26 and May 31 from the following participating Florida locations: Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Naples and Punta Gorda. Offer valid for reservations picked up between April 1 and May 31 at the following participating Florida locations: Tampa, Clearwater, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm, Key West and Boca Raton. Here are the per day rates: $14.95 applies to Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard and Full-Size vehicles $19.95 on Intermediate and Standard SUVs $24.95 for Minivans Book here. Clark’s recent cheap car rental experience Competing car rental agencies will likely roll out rates similar to those you saw above in the weeks ahead. We’ll keep this list updated, so check back often! But if you want to be ahead of the curve, money expert Clark Howard advises calling around to a few agencies that are located at airports several weeks before a peak travel time to ask if they’re participating in these kinds of deals and where they need their cars moved. Because of the cheap price, there will be a lot of restrictions on these deals — plus additional taxes and fees. But if you can make it work, this is a real steal. Last year, Clark snagged one of these deals and would up paying $26.01 for a two-day rental of a Toyota RAV 4 with unlimited mileage. He was originally quoted $7.99 a day for the vehicle. But then when you add in the junk fees, it soon becomes $26.01. And get this…he could have had that rate for two weeks if he needed it! Clark says RentalCars.com is a good website you can use to get an initial sense about whether or not this method of landing a cheap ride could work for you. Clark Howard pays $7.14 a day for a rental car ' data-medium-file='https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg?w=281' data-large-file='https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg?w=616&h=657' class='size-large wp-image-52401' src='https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg?w=616&h=657' alt='Clark Howard pays $7.14 a day for a rental car' width='616' height='657' srcset='https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg?w=616&h=657 616w, https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg?w=141&h=150 141w, https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg?w=281&h=300 281w, https://coxclarkcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/clark2.jpg 698w' sizes='(max-width: 616px) 100vw, 616px' style='max-width: 100%'> RELATED: Just how safe is your hotel room safe? You might be surprised… Related Articles from clark.com: Here's your 2018 estimated tax refund schedule Read More Warning: Do NOT buy these dietary supplements Read More 3 money-saving Amazon Prime perks you need to know about right now Read More
  • The rise in popularity of homesharing services like Airbnb is allowing people around the world to make some extra cash by renting out all or parts of properties they own. But as it turns out, exactly how much money you can earn by participating in the homesharing economy is largely related to that old real estate maxim: “Location, location, location.” Homes in these cities get the big bucks on Airbnb Airbnb has been tech’s most popular broker of short-stay rentals for more than a decade now. Since its 2007 inception, the $31-billion company has facilitated the hosting of more than 40 million guests in nearly 200 countries. But new data has revealed that some cities are far more lucrative for property owners than others. RELATED: Take these important steps when renting an Airbnb We all know that mansions in California and New York likely fetch the top prices night after night, but homeowners can make the most on average in much more humble abodes in cities of various sizes across the United States, according to data released this week from Homes.com. By subtracting the average daily mortgage cost from the average Airbnb rate, the Homes.com survey came up with which cities were the most profitable for homeowners. Topping the list is Virginia Beach, Virginia, where homeowners made an average of $183 a day. Here are the top 10 most profitable cities for Airbnb homes Virginia Beach, Virginia — $183.33 Bridgeport, Connecticut — $175.56 Charleston, South Carolina — $161.50 Albany, New York — $151.68 Cape Coral, Florida — $149.59 Akron, Ohio — $149.29 Jacksonville, Florida — $147.07 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — $142.98 Indianapolis, Indiana — $138.47 Cleveland, Ohio — $138.30 The findings show that on average it is especially tough in California to make a big profit on Airbnb. San Jose homes yielded just a $19 profit over the average stay compared to other cities around the United States. An Akron, Ohio homeowner would have to rent out their home just four days to cover their mortgage. On the flip side of the equation, it would take a homeowner in Santa Clara, California, about 27 days to cover their mortgage. “By taking the median monthly mortgage payment in all of the cities included in our study and dividing it by the average nightly price of Airbnb rentals in those cities, we were able to find the cities where it would take the fewest and most nights of renting to cover your mortgage,” the analysis says. Top 10 Airbnb cities ranked by how long it takes to pay your mortgage Akron, Ohio — 4.21 days Cleveland, Ohio — 4.54 days Virginia Beach, Virginia — 5.13 days Indianapolis, Indiana — 5.24 days Cincinnati, Ohio — 5.39 days Columbia, South Carolina — 5.49 days Greensboro, North Carolina — 5.59 days Knoxville, Tennessee — 5.60 days Louisville, Indiana — 5.74 days Albany, New York — 5.82 days A summation of the research indicates that many renters who use Airbnb want to be near big cities, although not necessarily in them. If you plan to use your home on Airbnb, these figures should give you an idea of what to expect profit-wise. RELATED: Tech startup Divvy aims to revolutionize the rent-to-own home Related Articles from clark.com: Here's your 2018 estimated tax refund schedule Read More 7 things I learned while using my Instant Pot for 14 days straight Read More Buying this type of oil is better for your car Read More

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  • Here is a look at the stores planning to be open and those planning to close on Easter Sunday. >> Read more trending news Be sure to check with local retailers for Easter hours because some national chains set their own hours. Stores open and closed on Easter Academy Sports: Open Easter Sunday. Banana Republic: Closed Easter Sunday. Bass Pro Shop: Open Easter Sunday. Bed Bath & Beyond: Open Easter Sunday. >> Click here to see which grocery stores will be open on Sunday.  Belk: Closed Easter Sunday. Best Buy: Closed Easter Sunday. Cabela’s: Open Easter Sunday.  Costco: Closed Easter Sunday. >> Easter 2019: How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg dyeing Crate & Barrel: Closed Easter Sunday. CVS: Open Easter Sunday. Dillard’s: Closed Easter Sunday. Dollar General: Open Easter Sunday. Family Dollar: Open Easter Sunday. Fred Meyer: Open Easter Sunday. Gap: Closed Easter Sunday. Home Depot: Open Easter Sunday. >> How did crucifixion kill Jesus? J.C. Penney: Closed Easter Sunday. Kirkland's: Closed Easter Sunday. Kmart: Open Easter Sunday. Kohl's: Closed Easter Sunday. Lowes: Open Easter Sunday. Macy’s: Closed on Easter Sunday. Michael's: Closed Easter Sunday. Neiman Marcus: Closed Easter Sunday. Office Depot: Closed Easter Sunday. Office Max: Closed Easter Sunday. Old Navy: Open on Easter Sunday. Pier 1 Imports: Closed Easter Sunday. Pottery Barn: Closed Easter Sunday. Rite Aid: Open Easter Sunday. Ross: Closed Easter Sunday. Sam's Club: Closed Easter Sunday. Sears: Open Easter Sunday. >> Easter quotes 2019: Inspiring sayings of hope and renewal T.J. Maxx: Closed Easter Sunday. Target: Closed Easter Sunday. Walgreens: Open Easter Sunday. Walmart: Open Easter Sunday. Williams-Sonoma: Closed Easter Sunday.
  • Following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on the Russia probe, your local lawmakers are weighing.  WOKV spoke with Northeast Florida Republican Congressman John Rutherford hours after the report's release on Thursday.  He tells us the important elements to him, were the findings that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and no corrupt intent determined in the obstruction of justice allegations.  But Rutherford says he was surprised that the Special Counsel didn't make a final prosecutorial decision on the obstruction of justice issue.  'He [Mueller] relies on the Office of Legal Counsel that says you can't indict a sitting President, and in this regard, he went along with that. But to say that's his basis for not coming to a conclusion on obstruction, when he came to a conclusion on the Russian collusion, it doesn't make sense to me,' explains Rutherford.  He says it's almost like Mueller didn't want to make a decision.  'The lack of a conclusion that there was a crime IS an exoneration... if you say you find no corrupt intent, we find no crime, how do you then say, but we can't exonerate him [Trump]. In that part, I struggle with the finding,' Rutherford adds.  In terms of the reaction on Capitol Hill, Rutherford says it's likely that those who support the President will highlight no collusion and no obstruction, but those who dislike him will latch on to the elements that the Special Counsel refused to come to a conclusion on.  When it comes to recent calls to 'investigate the investigators' in the Russia probe, Rutherford says he feels it's absolutely necessary as he wants to know the 'predicate act' that started this investigation in the first place.  'We don't just investigate people, we investigate crimes. And there has to be a predicate act, that indicates there is a reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. And if that predicate act turns out to be the Steele Dossier and it's completely false, then this whole thing falls like a house of cards,' says Rutherford.  WOKV also spoke with Northeast Florida Democrat Congressman Al Lawson about his thoughts on the report.  He says his biggest takeaway is that the American people will find out what really happened during the course of this investigation with the President.  'Because, as you know, about 25 people that worked with him [Trump] during the course of the campaign got indicted,' explains Lawson.  He says the other thing that stands out to him is that he feels Attorney General William Barr is more trying to protect the President, than do his job for the American people. Lawson says he also doesn't feel the AG's summary to Congress was accurate.  Lawson says when people and lawmakers read this report, he hopes they move away from putting a party label on it.  'I wish what they would put on it, is what is best for American people and, especially, when you have some possible collusion with Russia. It's unacceptable to have that regardless of who is in office and see the way the President has been operating- not like any other President in American history,' says Lawson.  When it comes to efforts to 'investigate the investigators', he says all of us need to be accountable and that investigators need to be unbiased and not swayed one way or another.  'This has taken up an awful lot of time, and we, as taxpayers, have spent an awful amount of money to be where we are today. It shouldn't be a situation where everything is being questioned, simply due to the fact that over the last almost two years, the investment we have made in order to get down to see whether a foreign government had significant input in our electoral process,' says Lawson.  He says his hope that once all the dust settles on this report, that the public has a clear vision of what occurred. READ: REDACTED SPECIAL COUNSEL REPORT ON THE RUSSIA PROBE
  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news The report was released around 11 a.m., weeks after Mueller completed his investigation. President Donald Trump hailed the report as a victory over his critics. >> Mueller Report: Read the report Barr just released Update 6:45 p.m. EDT April 18: The Justice Department said it will provide Congress with a second version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that has fewer redactions in the coming two weeks. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday that the Justice Department will make the report available to House and Senate leaders, as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the judiciary and intelligence committees. Each lawmaker can also have a staff member present. Boyd said the report will be provided in a secure reading room at the Justice Department next week and in a secure room in the Capitol the week of April 29. The unredacted material will include classified information and material involving private citizens who were not charged. It won’t include secret grand jury information. Update 3:45 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller’s report shows the Russian-based Internet Research Agency worked not only in Trump’s favor but also in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who ran for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before losing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The company’s attempt to boost Sanders’ candidacy first surfaced last year, after authorities charged more than a dozen people and three companies with interfering in the election, The Washington Post reported. According to the newspaper, IRA operators were instructed not to harm Sanders’ reputation. “Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them),” Mueller quoted IRA operators as saying. Update 2:55 p.m. EDT April 18: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler said Thursday that he will issue a subpoena to get the full Mueller report and the underlying materials from Barr after the attorney general released a redacted version of the report. “Contrary to public reports, I have not heard from the Department (of Justice) about receiving a less-redacted version of the report,” he said Thursday in a statement. “Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.” Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee May 2. Update 2:25 p.m. EDT April 18: Kellyanne Conway, who serves as counselor to the president, told reporters Thursday that Mueller’s report was inaccurate in its description of Trump’s reaction to the special counsel’s appointment. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupre: Mueller: Trump obstruction failed because aides refused orders to undermine Russia probe According to Mueller, the president 'slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm (expletive).’' However, Conway said she was in the room when Trump learned about the appointment and that she “was very surprised to see” Mueller’s report on it, CNN reported. “That was not the reaction of the president that day,” she said. Update 2 p.m. EDT April 18: Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement Thursday that the special counsel’s report showed “no collusion, no obstruction.” “While many Democrats will cling to discredited allegations, the American people can be confident President Trump and I will continue to focus where we always have, on advancing an agenda that’s making our nation stronger, safer and more secure.” Despite the vice president’s claims, Mueller declined to answer the question of whether Trump obstructed justice in his actions related to the Russia probe. “Now that the Special Counsel investigation is completed, the American people have a right to know whether the initial investigation was in keeping with long-standing Justice Department standards -- or even lawful at all,” Pence said. “We must never allow our justice system to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda.” Update 1:45 p.m. EDT April 18: In a joint statement released Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr and Mueller reached conflicting conclusions on the question of whether the president obstructed justice. “The differences are stark between  what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction,” the statement said. “As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding.” In his report, Mueller declined to answer questions surrounding whether Trump obstructed justice in his efforts to tamp down on the Russia probe, which authorities said he saw as a direct challenge to his presidency. Update 1:40 p.m. EDT April 18: In the report released Thursday, Mueller said his team’s investigation was sometimes hampered by the use of applications that “feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records” and the deletion of communications relevant to the probe. “In such cases, the Office (of the Special Counsel) was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts,” the report said. “Accordingly, while this report embodies factual and legal determinations that the Office believes to be accurate and complete to the greatest extent possible, given  these identified gaps, the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast a new light)the events described in the report.” Update 1:20 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted in an interview that her comments to the news media after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey were “not founded on anything.” In response to a reporter’s question about FBI support for Comey after his May 2017 dismissal, Huckabee Sanders said at news briefing that, “We’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.” 'The evidence does not support those claims,' according to the Mueller report. Update 1:15 p.m. EDT April 18: The House Intelligence Committee invited Mueller to testify next month after Barr released a redacted version of his 448-page report Thursday. “To discharge its distinct constitutional and statutory responsibility, the Committee must be kept ‘fully and currently informed’ of the intelligence and counterintelligence findings, evidence, and implications of your investigation,” committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said in a letter to Mueller dated Thursday. “This requires that the Committee receive comprehensive testimony from you about the investigation’s full scope and areas of inquiry, its findings and underlying evidence, all of the intelligence and counterintelligence information gathered in the course of the investigation.” The House Judiciary Committee has also asked Mueller to testify. In a letter sent Thursday, committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller to appear before the panel by May 23. Update 12:45 p.m. EDT April 18: Brad Parscale, manager of the 2020 Trump presidential campaign, hailed the release of Mueller’s report Thursday and repeated the president’s calls for an investigation into the investigators. “President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again,” Parscale said in a statement. “Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.” In the report released Thursday, Mueller said the FBI launched an investigation into whether Trump campaign officials were coordinating with the Russian government in July 2016. The investigation came after authorities said then-Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that “the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.” Update 12:35 p.m. EDT April 18: Mueller said Trump attempted to influence the investigation into Russian election meddling. Mueller said his efforts “were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede his request.” Mueller’s report details instances by several officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, ignoring or refusing Trump’s requests to interfere in the investigation. Update 12:15 p.m. EDT April 18: When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Trump in May 2017 that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian election meddling, the president 'slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm (expletive).'  Trump blamed Sessions for the appointment, according to Mueller. 'Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency,' Trump said, according to the report released Thursday. 'It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.' Speaking Thursday at an event at the White House, Trump said, “this should never happen to another president again.” Update 11:45 a.m. EDT April 18: In the report released Thursday, Mueller said his team considered Trump’s written responses to questions in the Russia probe to be inadequate, but they decided against subpoenaing the president because of the delay such a move would cause to the investigation. Other revelations from the report include: Mueller said Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to call the acting attorney general and say that Mueller must be ousted because he had conflicts of interest. Trump previously denounced reports of the call as “fake news.”  Members of Trump’s staff might have saved him from more dire legal consequences by refusing to carry out orders they thought were legally risky, according to The Washington Post.  Mueller made clear in the report that “Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign was willing to take” the help, the Post reported. However, investigators were unable to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 18: In his report, Mueller shared the reasoning behind his decision not to answer the question of whether the might have president obstructed justice. Mueller’s team scrutinized 10 episodes in which Trump sought to seize control of the Russia probe, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey, his directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate.  The president’s lawyers have said Trump’s conduct fell within his constitutional powers, but Mueller’s team deemed the episodes were deserving of scrutiny to determine whether crimes were committed. Update 11:25 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was “having a good day” following the release of the Mueller report. “This should’ve never happened,” Trump told a crowd gathered at a Wounded Warriors event at the White House, according to CNN. “I say this in front of my friends — this should never happen to another president again. This hoax — it should never happen again.' Trump’s attorneys hailed the report as “a total victory for the president” in a statement released to CNN. “The report underscores what we have argued from the very beginning - there was no collusion - there was no obstruction,” the statement said. “This vindication of the President is an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again.” >> The Mueller report: What is in it, when will it be released, what will happen next? Update 11 a.m. EDT April 18: Barr has released a redacted version of the Mueller report, which is 448 pages long. >> Mueller report: Read the transcript of William Barr's remarks Update 10:55 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump was expected to deliver remarks Thursday morning at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride as lawmakers and the public await the release of Mueller’s report. However, by 10:55 a.m., Trump had yet to appear for the event. Update 10:30 a.m. EDT April 18: In a letter sent Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler asked Mueller to testify before the panel no later than May 23. Nadler released his letter to Mueller minutes after Barr spoke with reporters about the report, which is expected to be released Thursday. Barr told reporters he had “no objection to Bob Mueller testifying.” “It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings,” Nadler said. Update 10:20 a.m. EDT April 18: Barr said he plans to release a less-redacted version of Mueller’s report to several congressional committees on Thursday “in an effort to accommodate congressional requests” for Mueller’s full report. “These members of Congress will be able to see all of the redacted materials for themselves -- with the limited exception of that which, by law, cannot be shared,” Barr said Thursday morning at a news conference. “I believe that this accommodation, together with my upcoming testimony before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, will satisfy any need Congress has for information regarding the special counsel’s investigation.”    Update 10:05 a.m. EDT April 18: At a news conference Thursday morning, Barr said it will be important to view President Donald Trump’s actions in context. “President Trump faced an unprecedented situation,” Barr said. “As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion.” Barr said the Office of the White House Counsel has reviewed the redacted version of Mueller’s report but that Trump declined to assert privilege over it. Trump took to Twitter after Barr spoke to highlight that there was 'No collusion. No obstruction.' Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 18: Mueller’s report details two main efforts sponsored by Russian government officials to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, Barr said Thursday morning at a news conference ahead of the report’s release. The report details efforts by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with ties to the Russian government, to “sow social discord among American votes through disinformation and social media operations,” Barr said. It also details efforts by Russian military officials connected to the GRU, “to hack into computers and steal documents and emails from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party.” “The special counsel found no evidence that any Americans -- including anyone associated with the Trump campaign -- conspired or coordinated with the Russian government or the IRA in carrying out this illegal scheme,” Barr said. Update 9:15 a.m. EDT April 18: President Donald Trump called the Mueller investigation 'The Greatest Political Hoax of all time!' in a series of tweets posted Thursday ahead of the release of the report. >> Mueller report: Trump tweets 'presidential harassment' ahead of redacted report's release “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” he wrote in a subsequent tweet. Trump has frequently criticized the Mueller investigation, framing the probe as a political “witch hunt” aimed at harming his presidency. Original report: Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller’s report to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon Thursday before sharing the report on the special counsel’s website, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Battle lines clear as D.C. awaits redacted Mueller report Mueller completed his investigation late last month, 22 months after he launched his probe at the direction of the Justice Department. The investigation was frequently lambasted by President Donald Trump as a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his presidency. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • It's some big news for St. Johns County parents, students, and teachers. The St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Tim Forson has announced he's canceling the district final exams, with the exception of iReady testing.  Forson says during this first week of testing, there have been 'significant issues' with the administration of the tests, which are computer-based.  He says while the district's staff has worked late hours to try to resolve the issues, he ultimately decided to cancel the district final exams to 'remove the frustration of inconsistent test administration and protect instructional time.'  Forson says students need to continue to learn to prepare for other required upcoming assessments, including the Florida Standards Assessment, among many others.  Forson says he does not expect the same issues for these other tests, as they are not done on the same testing platform.  He's assuring parents that the second semester grading scale will be adjusted, following this decision, so that the absence of a final exam will not penalize a student. Forson says the student performance element of teacher evaluations will also be adjusted.  Forson says parents can expect an update on the alternative grading plan, as soon as it's finalized.
  • In recent years, the stadium now known as TIAA Bank Field has seen new massive video boards, upgraded Club Levels, and the addition of pools and a dog park, among other things, through funding from both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville. But the team says they’re not done. Jaguars President Mark Lamping says, since the team joined the NFL, there is only one other team that hasn’t seen a major or full stadium renovation or had a new stadium built- the Buffalo Bills. He is not advocating for a new stadium, but along with Jags owner Shad Khan, they say- from a business perspective- there will need to be upgrades. “We want to co-invest with the City to make the stadium better,” Khan says. Lamping says, in order to continue to grow revenue, they need to continue to add season ticket holders and retain existing ones each year. Renewing a new season ticket holder in to their second season is crucial, according to Lamping, because he says that is a huge influence on whether they’re likely to hold the tickets for many more years  to come. Non-rookie season ticket holders consider their tenure and the team’s performance as the top two factors in deciding whether to renew again, but for rookies, Lamping says it’s about team performance and seat location. “We have to make our worst seats a lot better,” he says. One of the biggest challenges is along the east side of the stadium, especially on the upper level- the sun can be brutal in the midday hours that surround a 1PM kickoff. WOKV asked Khan whether he was considering a dome or cover of some sort to address that. “We want to look for creative solutions that are very cost effective,” he says. Khan brought forward the example of the use of drones to provide cover during the World Cup in Qatar, as something that is innovative and could be used on an as-needed basis, although he says they haven’t actually looked in to the feasibility of something like that. In fact, Lamping says they haven’t really focused much on what exactly they would want to be done at this point, but he believes that will have to be included in the lease re-negotiations the team will face with the City in the coming years. He does know that they are looking at keeping the current location and venue. “Major community gathering places belong in what’s the heart of the community. We think Downtown is that,” Lamping says. But with TIAA Bank Field being a city-owned venue, Lamping says they would seek a City partnership in the funding. “It’s naive to believe that just through the benevolence of some person, that all the City’s problems are going to be taken care of. If that’s the case, we wouldn’t have any problems Downtown, would we? So you want investment in Downtown, and the way to get investment is to make sure the person who’s making that investment- that is taking that risk- receives a reasonable return on their investment. And that’s what I said. It needs to be a private/public partnership only to the extent that the risk isn’t so high that the investment won’t come, and if it is successful, that the returns to the investor aren’t exorbitant,” he says. While the exact price tag or design of any renovations is to be determined, Lamping says they would only ask the City to contribute enough to make the project work. And the upgrades would benefit more than just the Jags, according to Khan. He pointed to the Rolling Stones concert that will take place at the stadium as the kind of event they want to bring more of to the City, and they hope the stadium will reflect the type of venue that those shows demand. This is all further partnered with the Jags’s continued push to redevelop in and around the Sports Complex. During the “State of the Franchise” Thursday, they re-affirmed their commitment to a $500 million development of Lot J, as well as the long term redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards.

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