Fri
Sep 30 2022
08:08 am
By: bizgrrl

"As a freshman congressman in 2013, Ron DeSantis was unambiguous: A federal bailout for the New York region after Hurricane Sandy was an irresponsible boondoggle, a symbol of the “put it on the credit card mentality” he had come to Washington to oppose.

“I sympathize with the victims,” he said. But his answer was no."

...Mr. DeSantis, now Florida’s governor... "“But you know, when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything — if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.”

“Ironically,” said David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida, “there’s nobody in America that Ron DeSantis needs more than Joe Biden.”

Will this bring more compassion to the DeSantis rhetoric? Doubt it.

Thu
Sep 29 2022
10:36 am

Used car prices — although down 2% in August from the record high reached in January — are still up 48% from August 2019, according he Consumer Price Index, a key inflation measure. New car prices hit a record in August, up 30% over the last three years.

Used cars have become unaffordable

Wed
Sep 28 2022
07:35 am

Category 4 Hurricane Ian is now hitting Naples, Sarasota,
and Tampa Florida. It is predicted to cross over Central Florida to the East coast.

Even Disney closed, which doesn't happen often for weather events.

Let's hope for the best for our Florida friends. Just because Florida’s government is so reprehensible doesn't mean we can't care for the citizenry. Sort of like the previous president getting elected shouldn't be blamed on me and mine.

Sun
Sep 25 2022
08:52 am

"...the NTSB is recommendin​g measures leveraging new in-vehicle technologies that can limit or prohibit impaired drivers from operating their vehicles as well as technologies to prevent speeding. These include:

Requiring passive vehicle-integrated alcohol detection systems, advanced driver monitoring systems or a combination of the two that would be capable of preventing or limiting vehicle operation if it detects driver impairment by alcohol. The NTSB recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration require all new vehicles to be equipped with such systems.

​Incentivizing vehicle manufacturers and consumers to adopt intelligent speed adaptation systems that would prevent speed-related crashes. This is a reiteration of a previous NTSB recommendation to NHTSA."

In my younger years I would never have gone along with this recommendation. However, in current times it seems people are more interested in their phones than the skill of driving. Many people don't care if they speed recklessly. Speed limit signs seem to be a suggestion to be ignored.

Two people were killed in traffic accidents last week in Alcoa and Louisville. One was identified as road rage. He had his three children in the car with him and proceeded to run another driver off road resulting in the death of the other driver. The secondc accident involved an inebriated driver, passing cars on a two lane road, running a woman off the road resulting in her death.

Something needs to be done. Wouldn't it be interesting to have controls in your car to help prevent these issues. However, it could be really hard to merge into interstate traffic if you couldn't speed at least during the merge.

Over the past five years, the average home price has gone up by 60% while the average income has risen by less than 15%, said Andy Walden, vice president of enterprise research at Black Knight, a mortgage database company.

“Home prices are significantly out of whack with income levels,” said Walden.

Why it’s getting even harder to keep a roof over your head

Topics:
Fri
Sep 23 2022
06:57 am
By: bizgrrl

The Fall started at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, 9/23/2022,, a day officially known as the autumn equinox.

"On the day of an equinox, the Earth is tilting neither toward or away from the sun, and therefore receives almost an equal amount of daylight and darkness, according to the National Weather Service."

It's only 53 degrees this morning. Fall is in the air.

Topics:
Fri
Sep 23 2022
06:51 am

Renters "received notices that they would need to permanently leave their homes by October or face eviction. The document said they were being forced to leave so some new property managers could renovate their units."

The apartments are in the 1100 block of Mechanics Way. The units appear to be more like single story townhomes or triplexes than apartments.

The complex appears to have been purchased by Mockingbird Homes LLC in September 2020. According to owner records on KGIS the current property owner paid nearly 30% more than the previous buyer did one year earlier.

The article reports that at least one of the residents has lived there 10 years and another 14 years. The apartments back up to Fifth Avenue and I-275.

I've been a landlord. It is not easy. However, it's not too hard to make a profit. The only time we asked someone to leave was when they couldn't pay the rent and then we gave them a couple of extra months to move. I know of a nice apartment complex in West Knoxville, close in, that upgraded their units but did not force out current tenants.

These are hard times but it has been shown that corporations are making lots of money during times of shortages. It could be that at some point Knoxville/Knox County will have to address rent controls. Minimum wage workers cannot afford to live in the rural areas and commute to work in the city. There is no bus service in rural areas.

Hertz has agreed to purchase up to 175,000 electric vehicles from General Motors over the next five years. This follows earlier announcements that Hertz would buy 100,000 electric cars from Tesla and another 65,000 from the Volvo spin-off brand Polestar.

Hertz is buying up to 175,000 electric vehicles from GM

Thu
Sep 22 2022
10:02 am

"Federal Reserve officials, struggling to contain the most rapid inflation in 40 years, delivered a third big rate increase on Wednesday and projected a more aggressive path ahead for monetary policy, one that would lift interest rates higher and keep them elevated longer."

"The Fed raised its policy interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, boosting it to a range of 3 to 3.25 percent. That’s a significant jump from as recently as March, when the federal funds rate was set at near-zero..."

FedRates_20220922.jpg

Starting with Fourth quarter, 1954.
Ending with Second quarter, 2022.

Fed rates are still very low.

Mortgage rates are up to 6%. Those who obtained mortgages between 2012 (3.92%) and early 2022 (3.45%) were lucky. Those trying to obtain mortgages now may be in shock. Just think, though, in 1982 mortgage rates were over 17%, in the late 80s the rates dropped to 9%, and in the 2000’s rates were from 5% to 8%. Higher mortgage rates do appear to slow down home buying.

Auto loan rates do not appear to have not fluctuated as much as home loans.

MtgRates_20220922.jpg

Starting with February, 1972.
Ending with May, 2022.

Savings and CD rates are oh so very low. If they went down any more you would be paying the financial institutions to store your money. In July 2022 a 6 month CD savings rate was 0.29%, in 11/2009 the rate was 0.51%, in 5/1989 the rate was 9%. Savings and CD rates are not climbing as quickly as mortgage rates. Think, though, if rates go back down in the near future a financial institution will be happy to get stuck with a 30 year 6% loan but they will not be happy getting stuck with a 5 year 6% CD savings rate.

Wed
Sep 21 2022
08:48 am

2022 Federal and State General Election

DEADLINE TO REGISTER : Tuesday, October 11

EARLY VOTING BEGINS : Wednesday, October 19

DEADLINE TO REQUEST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT: Tuesday, November 1

EARLY VOTING ENDS : Thursday, November 3

ELECTION DAY : Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Dr. Jason Martin for Governor

Mark Harmon for U.S. Representative

Go to your county's election commission web site to review a copy of the ballot, e.g. Knox County Election Commission. In addition to candidates for office there are 4 proposed changes to the state constitution, right to work, temporary governor when the governor is unable to discharge duties, slavery, ministers and priests holding office in the Tennessee legislature.

Tue
Sep 20 2022
10:49 am
By: bizgrrl

As we've said before, "Does civilization really need Bitcoin?"

"Bitcoin mining is the process of creating new bitcoins by solving extremely complicated math problems with heavy duty computers that verify transactions in the currency. When a bitcoin is successfully mined, the miner receives a predetermined amount of bitcoin."

..."crypto has a dirty little secret that is very relevant to the real world: it uses a lot of energy. How much energy? Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, currently consumes an estimated 150 terawatt-hours of electricity annually — more than the entire country of Argentina, population 45 million. Producing that energy emits some 65 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually — comparable to the emissions of Greece — making crypto a significant contributor to global air pollution and climate change."

... "the computer power needed to create each digital token consumes at least as much electricity as the average American household burns through in two years..."

"But many virtual currency aficionados argue that the energy consumption is worth it for the grander cause of securing the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks and making a new kind of financial infrastructure, free from the meddling of banks or governments."

Crypto markets pose real risks as referenced by recent events. "The May crash of a so-called stablecoin and the subsequent wave of insolvencies wiped out over $600 billion of investor and consumer funds."

"President Biden’s March 9 Executive Order (EO) on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets outlined the first whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology. "

Not mentioned by the White House, but should be considered is to outlaw bitcoin mining.
However, "The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recommended in a report Friday that greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts stemming from crypto “mining” should be limited."

I just don't understand people who want free of banks and governments. Nor, do I understand people who don't care about the climate and our world. On the other hand, maybe I should come up with my own currency, sell it to the masses, make a lot of money, then shut it down leaving the Mrs. currency useless.

Tue
Sep 20 2022
10:05 am

From the Daily Memphian.

"The statewide backlog of [rape kits] rose from 801 kits last August to 958 last month, a 20% increase. The Nashville lab’s turnaround time was 28.2 weeks, and the Knoxville lab’s was 45.9 weeks. The West Tennessee (Jackson) rape it turnaround time rose to 48.6 weeks this August. "

...

"TBI director David Rausch requested $59 million in funding last November for 40 additional forensic scientists and 10 other staffers, a roughly 20% staffing increase, in an effort to reduce turnaround times to eight weeks. (That $59 million also included a rent increase and other costs.)"

"Tennessee Gov. Lee and the General Assembly ended up granting the TBI about half of that."

...

"Leaders in the Republican-controlled General Assembly say they’re willing to give the TBI what it needs to reduce the rape kit backlog and turnaround times."

But they didn't.

“Someone could get raped and have that rapist’s baby before the kit is processed,” state Rep. Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville) said at a press conference this week."

...

"In the upcoming session, Republicans say they will build on this year’s “truth in sentencing” law with more tough-on-crime legislation."

What good is legislation without follow-up? The Tennessee Republican legislature appears to be defunding the police.

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is sponsoring a bus trip to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. A Knoxville Tours motor coach will take participants to the festival on Saturday, October 8, leaving Oak Ridge at 7 a.m. and returning around 8 p.m.

A bus to Jonesborough; butterflies Saturday

Sun
Sep 18 2022
01:05 pm

We usually feed and see hummingbirds in the late Spring, early Summer. In the last couple of days we have seen them flit by on our back porch, so we decided to put out a feeder. They visit quite frequently. Don't know if they are the same ones or different ones migrating. Either way, it is a pleasure. The Mr. got a good picture.

Hummingbirds_20220918.jpg

Topics:
Sat
Sep 17 2022
06:43 am

At least some places. I'm talking about retail/brick and mortar right now.

We we to two financial institutions last week, on the same day. It was quite uplifting to see employees and customers treating each other so well.

We went to the first FI on a Monday morning. Even though we had to wait nearly an hour for a representative, it gave us time to watch the people in action. The employees knew nearly everyone's name and likewise for customers knowing employees. An older gentleman dropped off some okra for one of the FI reps and she was returning an empty egg carton to him where he had previously given her eggs. You gotta love a small town.

The service went much faster at the second FI. But we still were able to see a great example of great customer service. A customer approached a teller with their cell phone. They said they couldn't get the FI app to work like it used to. The teller did tech support, without touching the customer's phone. The teller stepped the customer through uninstalling the app and reinstalling the app and setting up the app and logging in. I would never of guessed I could go to a bank teller and get such great technical support.

We currently shop primarily at a small Food City nearby. We sometimes go to Publix in Knoxville and even Fresh Market when we are looking for something special. Kroger is useful when we can't find something at our Food City. When you shop regularly at a small store the employees get to know you and you them. It is kind of like Norm at Cheers.

Then there is the dry cleaner I visit, Midland Dry Cleaners. I used to visit them much more frequently when we had to dress for work. I now only see them once a year or so. However, there is one of their front office employees (I'll not mention the person's name) that knows my name even after a year.

You gotta love a small town. Sometimes it can be a small community within a larger city. Support your local retail/brick and mortar stores. You'll probably be surprised and disappointed if they disappear.

The new Covid-19 booster targets "the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus."

"Almost 68 percent of the U.S. population is considered fully vaccinated with two jabs."

"Everyone should get the new COVID-19 booster, experts say, even if you have gotten previous vaccinations or come down with COVID-19 during the omicron wave in late 2021 and early 2022."

"... community spread remains high in nearly 85 percent of counties in the country, according to the CDC. Researchers who spoke with the PBS NewsHour said they were concerned that COVID-19 cases and deaths may rise in the coming months as colder weather forces gatherings back inside."

"Data from the CDC shows that unvaccinated adults 50 and older have a 14 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who have received the vaccine and two or more booster shots. Those in the same age range with only one booster were still three times more at risk."

"Seventy-five percent of COVID-19 deaths have been senior citizens, 65 years of age and older."

The new Covid-19 booster is available at local pharmacies. It is currently free. Some people are getting it at the same time they get their annual flu shot. Both Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 boosters are available. However, both may not be available at every pharmacy. In our area one pharmacy had the Pfizer Covid-19 booster and another pharmacy five miles away had the Moderna booster.

Do it out of respect for your older family and friends.

Thu
Sep 15 2022
06:41 am

From Knox County, as of 9/10/2022,
and from State of Tennessee as of 9/10/2022,

since the inception of COVID-19, approx. 1/23/2020...

The Knox County Health Department reports 110,390 coronavirus cases and 36,428 probable cases.
2,662 cases in 28 days, averaging 95 cases a day. A 20% decrease in cases per day as compared to the report dated 8/13/2022 (120 cases/day).

There have been 1,482 deaths due to coronavirus in Knox County.
That is up from 1,461 total deaths as of 9/10/2022.
21 deaths in 28 days. Just over 5 deaths a week. Less than the 8 deaths a week reported for the last period.

Deaths by age group (age breakdown as of 09/10/2022, Knox County count of 1,482 deaths ):

1 in the 0-17 age group (0%) (0% (+0) no increase since 9/10/22)
64 in the 18-44 age group (4%) (0% (+0) no increase since 9/10/22)
306 in the 45-64 age group (21%) (1% (+2) increase since 9/10/22)
345 in the 65-74 age group (23%) (1% (+3) increase since 9/10/22)
766 in the 75+ age group (52%) (2.1% (+16) increase since 9/10/22)

As of 09/10/2022, there are
123 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in the Knox County region. A 1% decrease over the hospitalizations on 8/13/2022 (124 hospitalized). Over six times the hospitalizations on 5/14/2022 (19 hospitalized).

As of 9/10/2022 there are
21 COVID-19 patients in ICU. A decrease of 1 patient from the number reported on 8/13/2022. More than double the number of ICU patients from 6/18/2022 (9). More than five times the number of ICU patients from 5/14/2022 (4).

Hospitalizations are no longer below the low of 21 on 7/4/21.

As of September 10, 2022, ICU bed available capacity is at 10.10%
of 317 total ICU beds. Down from 14.2% on August 13, 2022. However, the number of available ICU beds decreased from 324 to 317.

As of September 10, 2022, the TN Dept of Health reports the average positivity rate over the past 7 days is 29.5% ,down from the previous rate of 35.4% reported on 8/13/2022. This is still double the rate reported on 5/14/2022 (14.8%), which was double from the 6.9% reported on 4/16/2022.

Vaccinations reported, last updated 9/14/2022:

% with 2 doses - 58.9% (up from 58.7% on 8/17/2022, up from 58.6% on 7/23/2022, up from 58.4% on 6/25/2022)

% with at least 1 dose - 63.9% (up from 63.8% on 8/17/2022, up from 63.5% on 7/23/2022, up from 63.2% on 6/25/2022)

% with a booster shot - 28.5% (up from 28.3% on 8/17/2022, up from 28.0% on 7/23/2022, up from 27.6% on 6/25/2022, up from 25.84% on 5/22/2022)

Tue
Sep 13 2022
07:58 am

The City of Alcoa is pursuing non-contiguous annexation.

Blount County has decided to sue the City of Alcoa to stop the annexation.

"A long-simmering argument about farmland, development and jurisdiction boiled over last week. Blount County brought a lawsuit against the city of Alcoa on Wednesday, Sept. 7. It asks that the municipality’s annexations of two properties off Wildwood Road be invalidated."

Blount County Mayor Ed "Mitchell named the annexations as examples of “donut-holing.” He was referring to the prospect that, if the annexations passed, a section of city land would be wholly surrounded by the county."

Uncontrolled development is getting out of hand. Someone needs a plan.

Mon
Sep 12 2022
05:45 pm

It's not just developers in the county who are trying to avoid community input.

A development has been proposed on Blount Avenue that is far beyond what is allowed by code. This is at at 451 W. Blount Avenue, just west of CityView. The Zoning Administrator for the South Waterfront made a decision to treat this project as a Level II rather than as a Level III. The effect of this is no allowances for community input.
In fact, the public was not informed that these reviews are taking place other than a small sign.

There are major differences proposed from what is allowed by code, including a building height that is 29% higher than allowed and a building footprint that is 127% larger than the size allowed by zoning. What this does is create solid blocks separating the river from Blount avenue and the neighborhood to the south. There are other deviations being argued but the important issue is the developers and the city are calling for approval with no input from residents.

Even if you don't care about my neighborhood or this building, think of the precedent it sets for other developers in the city.

Residents and community leaders are appealing this direction.
Please contact BZA in support of this appeal and in support of the community having input into this process. Send your comments to Jennifer Scobee - jscobee@knoxvilletn.gov - by no later than Friday, September 16th to be included in the agenda packet. Please reference Agenda Item 9G22VA in your correspondence. ALSO, if possible, please show support by attending the BZA meeting September 20 at 4 p.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building.

For additional information, you can review the appeal at 9G22VA.pdf (civiclive.com). Scroll to read the narrative page for details on the reasons for appealing this administrative decision.

We deserve better from our city.

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