Powerball jackpot estimated at $400 million

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — If it seems that giant lottery jackpots have people lining up at convenience stores more frequently, just wait.

Most of the attention has been on Powerball since its rules were changed a couple years ago to boost payoffs. On Wednesday, Powerball’s estimated $400 million jackpot will be the nation’s fifth-largest ever.

Organizers of the country’s other big lottery, Mega Millions, are now also planning changes to increase jackpots.

Mega Millions, which is sold in 43 states, plans to boost the initial jackpot to $15 million. It also will lessen the odds of winning jackpots and make other changes that will result in faster growing prizes to grab the public’s attention.

Iowa Lottery chief executive officer Terry Rich says the purpose is to “turn up the excitement level” and increase sales.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Conn. launches latest tax amnesty program

Officials are set to release the results of the investigation into the New Jersey boardwalk fire that destroyed dozens of businesses.   The cause is reportedly accidental in nature and was likely the result of an electrical malfunction, reported the Asbury Park Press on Tuesday.

Article source: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/23443270/conn-launches-latest-tax-amnesty-program

Splurging for luxury items for babies


From sleek rockers, muslin baby clothes, and faux shearling booties, experts say more regular moms are stocking up on luxury baby items.

Victoria Pericon, of savvymommy.com, says, in recent years, the high-end baby market has exploded thanks to celebrities like Kate Middleton.

“Celebrity status really dictates for a lot of people what they buy for their own children,” she says. “So if the Beckhams have something for their daughter, or you know, Gwen Stefani is pregnant again so if she’s wearing a certain thing for her maternity wear, people will want to do that as well because celebrities determine the style.”

Giggle on the Upper East Side features some of the most exclusive items, like the Bugaboo Buffalo, which costs a cool $1,100.

“This is Bugaboo’s newest stroller to the market, this is a single solution stroller, high performance and super high quality,” says Megan Kernan of Giggle. “Not only are they the parent’s arm candy, but they’re a super safe ride for baby.”

Your baby can ride around in that Bugaboo with these faux shearling booties by Egg for about $30.

“Every parent is going to put them on their little one’s feet to keep them warm throughout the winter the best part about it is there’s a matching jacket so you could match the jacket with the booties so your baby’s going to be super stylish yet super cozy all winter long,” Kernan says.

After cruising the streets, baby can relax in

Article source: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/23446591/splurging-for-luxury-items-for-babies

Young Americans moving back home; want to stay longer


A new study claims that younger Americans think it’s OK to move back home for up to half a decade after college, a lot longer than older Americans think is acceptable.

The study found that adults ages 18 to 34 feel it is acceptable for adults to live at home with their parents for up to five years after college. People over the age of 55 say that the welcome should be worn out by three years.

The Coldwell Banker study of more than 2,000 Americans found that parents, and particularly those who are younger, may be driving the trend of adults living at home for a longer period of time.

According to the survey, millennial parents (ages 18 to 34) are fine with grown children living at home for up to six years after college, while older parents (ages 55 and older) believe they should be out of the house within four years of finishing college.

Dr. Robi Ludwig, who conducted the survey for the real estate company says, “In terms of transitioning into independent adulthood, it’s almost as if 27 is the new 18.”

According to the survey, more than two in three Americans believe that too many adults living at home with their parents are avoiding responsibility, and 65 percent believe too many young adults who move back home after college are overstaying their welcome.

The survey found that only 13 percent of Americans believe adults should never live at home with their parents but 80

Article source: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/23049381/young-americans-moving-back-home-want-to-stay-longer

McDonald’s testing $5 items on ‘Dollar Menu’


NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s Corp. says a revamped version of its Dollar Menu that includes items priced at $5 could be launched nationally this year.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain says it has been testing versions of its famous value menu that’s called “Dollar Menu More” in five markets across the country. The company noted that no official changes have yet been made to its current Dollar Menu, which was introduced more than a decade ago.

The change would come after McDonald’s unsuccessful attempt last year to get customers to switch from the Dollar Menu to a pricier “Extra Value Menu,” which features items costing closer to $2. But after sales flagged, the company went back to aggressively touting its Dollar Menu in TV ads.

If the new “Dollar Menu More” is rolled out, the Extra Value Menu would be retired, said Neil Golden, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s, which is based in Oak Brook, Ill.

“We didn’t deliver on simplicity and clarity,” Golden said of the Extra Value Menu. He said that the company realized the “Dollar Menu” was a strong brand that McDonald’s could build on instead.

The results from the tests have been positive and the company is in the process of sharing the information with its more than 14,000 U.S. franchisees, he said. In order to be approved, at least 75 percent of the company’s 180 marketing cooperatives across the country would need to vote for it.

The Dollar Menu More that was tested has three price

Article source: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/23338260/mcdonalds-exploring-changes-to-dollar-menu