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This Just In - Daily Updates

Dandridge, Tennessee

November 26, 2012


Christmas Season Officially Arrives For Jefferson County
Black Friday & Small Business Saturday Success - HAPPY CYBER MONDAY!

Staff Photo / Photograph of Christmas table display at The Shoppes at Roper Mansion, Dandridge, TN



The holiday shopping season has arrived with full force and the online retailers may be the biggest winners in the push for consumers. With online shopping growing in popularity, Cyber Monday has become a much anticipated shopping day for online consumers. A contrived day designed for online shopping, Cyber Monday was a clever marketing scheme that was born in 2005 to promote online retailers. The Monday following Black Friday finds many online retailers handing out discounts in the same fashion that consumers may find on Black Friday. Shoppers may be afforded free shipping for their orders, as well as featured items at seriously discounted prices. Big Box retailers have cashed in on the internet market and often extend Black Friday specials to the Cyber Monday shoppers. Beyond becoming a force in the holiday consumer market, Cyber Monday is nearly as famous for lost productive work time. Many of the consumers that make purchases on Cyber Monday do so from their employer’s computers. 2011 Cyber Monday data suggests that nearly half of all workers in the United States plan to do some shopping during the work day on Cyber Monday and of those nearly 35% will spend more than 1 hour online. Some employers have blocked online viewing of certain sites that may cut into the Cyber Monday bottom line. Two thirds of the people employed in the United States admit to using their employer’s internet for personal usage and 22% of employers have fired an employee for using the internet for non work related activities.


SHOP SMALL Big Success


Local businesses were alive with action last weekend, proving that big box retail isn’t the only way to go when looking to do a little holiday shopping. Saturday, the push was on Nation wide to shop small and local. Residents hit the Historic Town Square in Dandridge to jump start the shopping season. The shop small movement is powered by the Small Business Administration and is committed to bringing consumer dollars back to Main Street America. The local shops saw a tremendous amount of foot traffic on Saturday and they even found their stores filled on Black Friday, which is traditionally a slow time for small, independent stores as the crowds flock to retail chains in hopes of deep discounts. The Shop Small Movement has found a lot of steam in the last few years as consumers have rediscovered the leisure of shopping at independent stores, closer to home.




The turkey left-overs are finished and the Black Friday shopping craze is nothing but a sleepy memory. There is nothing left to do but count the money and analyze the numbers from the extended holiday shopping extravaganza. Though there is still much data to analyze and the final tally may not be known for several weeks, early indications are that the face of Black Friday is changing after nearly eighty years. The decision of some big box retailers to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day had an impact

Unemployment Rates Up Slightly
For Jefferson County

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development has released unemployment numbers for October and Jefferson County has posted a 9% unemployment rate. That number is up slightly from the September rate of 8.8%, making Jefferson County one of sixty four Counties that showed an increase in unemployment from September 2012 to October 2012. Overall, Tennessee posted a lower unemployment rate with the State coming in at 8.3% in September 2012 and 8.2% in October 2012. Though the State rate is decreasing, it is still above the National average of 7.9%. Nationally, unemployment rose .01% in October 2012. Knox County maintained its status as the lowest unemployment rate in a metropolitan area with a 5.9% unemployment rate. That rate was unchanged from September 2012 to October 2012. In Tennessee, fourteen Counties showed a decrease in their October unemployment rate while 17 remain at status quo. In the Morristown Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Jefferson, Hamblen and Grainger Counties, only Hamblen County showed a decrease in unemployment improving from a 9.4% rate in September 2012 to a 9.2% rate in October 2012. Jefferson County has seen a significant drop in unemployment in comparison to October 2011, when the County posted a 10.5% unemployment rate. Hamblen County has remained relatively steady in their unemployment rate since October 2011 posting a 9.6% rate at that time. Grainger County carried a 10.7% unemployment rate in 2011 and that number has moved only slightly to a 10.5% rate in October 2012.


Israel - Hamas Conflict
Shifts In Power
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer


Hamas and Israel have agreed to a cease-fire, the aftermath of which has greatly changed the political structure of the Middle East. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has drawn support to his new administration, as his leading of the negotiations between Hamas and Israel is convincing many that he is going to be a worthy leader of the nation. The conflict also served as a demonstration of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, and has proven that Israel can potentially defend itself from large-scale rocket bombardment. Contrary to many fears arisen at the onset of the most recent clash in Gaza, Hamas has managed to draw more civilian support. By bombarding with such assertiveness and aggression, as well as pushing the attacks further into Israel than the nation had ever accomplished, Hamas has proved to many citizens that it is a “legitimate” force in the Middle East. Israel has always claimed that Iran was smuggling weapons to Hamas. In a statement from Mohamed Ali Jafari, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, this is finally confirmed: “Gaza is under siege, so we cannot help them. The Fajr-5 missiles have not been shipped from Iran. Its technology has been transferred (there) and are being produced quickly.” This statement has served to establish, at least in popular/public opinion, at least a business alliance between Hamas and Iran. Israel’s Iron Dome managed to shoot down hundreds of the Iranian (engineered) rockets, leaving Iran with nothing gained during the conflict. At the time of this writing, it is unknown the full extent of the shift in power in the Middle East, though it is clear that future negotiations and relations with these countries will be greatly altered by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

on Black Friday numbers. That decision, coupled with an uncertain economy, has early statistics coming in slightly behind 2011’s Black Friday numbers. Reports show that coupling Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday brings a much brighter retail outlook. One of the biggest changes this year may not have been the date of purchase, but rather the manner of purchase. Internet shopping showed a significant boost in sales on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Thanksgiving Day online sales were up by around 17% and Black Friday online sales showed a more than 20% increase. Those that did  brave the stores to do their shopping utilized their phones and tablets to get the most beneficial coupons and social networking was an important factor this year, as consumers shared shopping information. Mobile sales, from consumers using a phone for purchases, saw a double digit jump this year. Most experts are in agreement that the combined numbers from Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and online sales through the holiday weekend will meet or exceed predictions for the start of the 2012 holiday shopping season.

Earthquake Shakes Local Region
Photo & Article by Robin Archer, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

Some Jefferson County residents slept thought the earthquake, while others were awoken by the thunderous noise. The earthquake, which struck on Saturday morning November 24th, had an epicenter was five miles from Sevierville. The quake registered a 3.0 magnitude and provided an early wake up call as it arrived at 6:03 a.m.  A second quake in nearly the same spot occurred later that same morning at 9:56. Registering a 2.5 magnitude, the second quake was only four miles from Sevierville.  This is the second and third recent earthquakes in East Tennessee in recent weeks, with a 4.3 magnitude earthquake happening earlier this month on November 10th.  With all of the earthquake activity in our area recently, it brings to light the question of how long East Tennessee has dealt with earthquakes. How big have they gotten? What is the past history and what can we expect to come?

What exactly is an earthquake?  An earthquake is caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth's surface. Several thousand shocks of changeable sizes occur annually in the United States, and 70 to 75 damaging earthquakes occur throughout the world each year. All 50 states and all U.S. territories are susceptible to earthquakes. Where earthquakes have occurred in history, they will likely happen again.

What can be expected from earthquakes? Most earthquakes in our region are small tremors. Often there are complaints of cracked walls, shaken homes, upset animals, but very few reported injuries. But most earthquake-related injuries result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects. Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time of the year and at any time of the day or night. Smaller earthquakes habitually follow the main shock. Ground shaking from earthquakes can collapse buildings and bridges, disrupt gas, electric, and phone service and sometimes trigger landslides, avalanches, flash floods and fires.

Past history of Earthquakes in our region consist of many larger quakes on the west side of the state, while there have been smaller tremors locally. The quakes have been monitored beginning in the mid 1800’s. Since that time earthquakes from as small as 1.0 to over 8.0 have been recorded. The Eastern Tennessee seismic zone extends across Tennessee and Northwestern Georgia into Northeastern Alabama. It is one of the most active earthquake areas in the Southeast. Earthquakes too small to cause damage are felt about once a year. Earthquakes too small to be felt are abundant in the seismic zone, and seismographs have recorded hundreds of them in recent decades. Earthquakes in the Central and Eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most of eastern Tennessee's bedrock originated several hundred million years ago, as the Appalachian Mountains were formed. The Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. The Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake ref  CITATION USG12 \l 1033  (USGS.gov)

Because earthquakes are relatively commonplace in East Tennessee it is important to be knowledgeable about their potential impact. Due to the location of the most recent earthquakes and their proximity to the Douglas and Cherokee Dams, TVA confirmed that an inspection of the areas surrounding the dams, as well as the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant had been investigated for possible compromise from the quake. TVA will be releasing pertinent information as it becomes available, however no current damage has been reported. The Report Card for American Infrastructure produced by American Society of Civil Engineers has reported that of Tennessee’s dams, there are 148 high hazard dams in Tennessee. A high hazard dam is defined as a dam whose failure would cause a loss of life and significant property damage. In addition, 6 of Tennessee’s 658 dams are in need of rehabilitation to meet applicable state dam safety standards.

On the national level, The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) leads the federal government’s efforts to reduce the fatalities, injuries, and property losses caused by earthquakes. Congress established NEHRP in 1977, directing that four federal agencies coordinate their complementary activities to implement and maintain the program. These agencies are FEMA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey. New building codes have been put into place, but only for new construction. The federal government’s FEMA plays a key role in developing the seismic provisions of model building codes and associated design standards FEMA also maintains several grant programs that help state and local governments plan and implement earthquake mitigation measures. FEMA has produced many of the publications used to document and promote seismic rehabilitation methods and the consensus recommendations that the agency helps to develop on improving building codes. FEMA works with code- and standards-development organizations to incorporate these recommendations into nationally applicable model building codes and standards.

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