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• Allstate Insurance Company continues its growth in East Tennessee with the opening of a new agency in Knoxville. Owned and operated by Wyatt Hall, the full-service agency offers a complete line of products and services, including auto, property, commercial and life insurance, long-term care and annuities. Hall has worked for Allstate Insurance Company in different capacities for more than 27 years, and has been in the Knoxville are the past four years. He has earned professional designations in the insurance industry and is certified in long term care planning. His knowledge of the insurance industry and experience with Allstate creates a unique opportunity for new and current customers. The Wyatt Hall Allstate Agency is located at 9311 Northshore Drive. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 865-769-5255.

• Karen Berg was promoted to general manager of Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center. An employee of Fort Sanders since 1992, she has served in various capacities, most recently as fitness director. Berg assumed the role Saturday, Jan. 1, following the departure of her predecessor, Jim Aldmon, who was general manager for nine years. A resident of Knoxville for more than 12 years, Karen has a degree in biochemistry from Virginia Tech. She and her husband, Tom, have one child.

• Knoxville After Five a (non-denominational women’s group) will hold an evening for all from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17, at Bearden Banquet Hall, 5806 Kingston Pike. Joyce Conklin, local color analyst and fashion merchandiser/buyer, will present "An Extreme Makeover," with hair designer Londa of Reflections in Franklin Square. Special music will be provided by Tiffany Webb and the featured speaker will be Marilyn Hughes of Springfield, Ohio, a single mother and former teacher. Cost is $14. Call Sandy at 408-0371 or Mary at 691-1704, or e-mail

• With December sales pace slightly below normal, retailers relied on deeper discounts to help fuel a last-minute surge in holiday shopping. Although final holiday numbers have not been reported, the December National Retail Federation’s executive opinion survey shows slightly above normal readings in essential industry operation measurements. Retailers continue to look past the holiday season with some caution as the demand outlook posted a slightly above normal reading than the previous month. The NRF opinion survey is a strategic tool used to track essential metrics that gauges the state of the U.S. retail industry. The survey is used to gather the opinions of the industry’s top executives on trends in merchandising, hiring, sales expectations, customer traffic and special seasonal-related developments. The survey is conducted on a monthly basis and, as results accumulate, will be used to develop an aggregated index of these industry trends. The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet and independent stores as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services.

• Rural/Metro Ambulance Service in Knox County has received the Ray Everett Award from the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad. The award cited Rural/Metro for its proactive partnership with the Rescue Squad in such activities as joint training drills and education days and for helping develop additional advanced protocols for Rescue Squad paramedics in specialized rescue situations. Named for the man credited with bringing modern emergency medical services to Knox County, the Ray Everett Award honors individuals, corporations and organizations that have supported the Rescue Squad's mission and contributed to the advancement of EMS in the area. Rural/Metro of Tennessee is the largest emergency service provider in East Tennessee, with a combined work force of more than 500 firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, telecommunicators and other support personnel. Rural/Metro Ambulance Service is the only accredited provider in the state.

• Shawna C. Turner has been awarded the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors Award of Excellence for 2004. Turner is a realtor with Re/Max at the Lakes in Lenoir City. She can be reached by phone at 986-0074 or 384-6037.


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