This Week's Facts:
HOLIDAY FAST FACTS
The estimated retail sales by the nation's department stores in December 2012 was a whopping $25.9 billion.
The estimated value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2012 ─ was $39.2 billion - the highest total for any month last year.
The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2013 was $1.0 billion.
China was also the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($93.0 million worth).
Over half of the nation's potatoes (estimated 51.6%) were produced in Idaho and Washington during the fall of 2012.
1.9 million gallons of maple syrup were produced from U.S. trees in 2012.
7.2 million pounds of coffee was harvested in the U.S. (Hawaii) during 2012-2013.
Source: National Agriculture Statistics Service
The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 15 billion pieces of mail between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. The busiest mailing day is set for Monday, Dec.16, and Wednesday, Dec. 18 will be the busiest delivery day.
For more fun facts, see the Census Bureau’s 2013 Holiday Season Facts for Features.
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State Scales Back Spending to Match Revenue
In a press release from December 9, Governor Mike Pence announced the state will take a number of cost-saving measures in light of the November revenue report, which shows state revenue is $141 million lower than projected this fiscal year.
The state will require agencies to hold back an additional 1.5 percent of their appropriations, sell the state airplane, delay planned expenses for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, and require a two percent reserve on university operations and line items. These steps will save the state an additional $57 million this fiscal year.
“Fiscal integrity is the foundation of prosperity,” said Governor Pence, “The cost-saving measures we are implementing today will ensure that Indiana remains fiscally sound during these uncertain times.”
The measures come on top of previous steps to preserve the state’s structural surplus, which maintains the state’s fiscal integrity and contributes to Indiana’s AAA credit rating. At the start of the fiscal year Governor Pence required agencies to reserve 3 percent of their appropriations, paid off the Miami Correctional Facility bonds and transferred Medicaid and State Highway Fund surpluses to the state’s general fund. These actions already saved the state $116 million.
The November revenue report and commentary from Budget Director Brian Bailey have been posted on the State Budget Agency webpage. The report can be found here. The full list of cost-saving measures can be found here.
FSSA Announces Changes in Food Stamp Delivery Dates
More than 926,000 SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients in Indiana will be impacted by recently announced changes in the SNAP (Food Stamps) Program. Nearly one-sixth of the population of Indiana receives SNAP benefits, all potential library patrons.
Benefit delivery dates will change next month as a result of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 530 which was passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013.
This chart shows how the changes will affect the dates when SNAP recipients receive benefits, based on the first letter of the recipient’s last name. The recipient is the person whose name appears on the front of the Hoosier Works (EBT) card.
The amount of recipients’ SNAP benefits will NOT change. Only the day on which benefits are applied to their Hoosier Works EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards will change.
Payment dates for SNAP depend on the first letter of the client’s last name, and benefits have previously been made to clients during the first 10 days of each month. SEA 530 dictates that, starting in 2014, SNAP payments will be spread from the fifth through the 23rd of every month, on odd days.
However, to phase in the change, in the month of January 2014 only, SNAP clients will receive half of their benefits on their current date and the other half on their new date.
Having distribution days spread throughout the month will mean fewer shoppers on any of those days, making shopping easier for SNAP clients and for all food shoppers. Additionally, spreading distribution days will also ease the burden on grocery stores and other food sellers, as well, as those merchants can spread demand throughout the month.
Diabetes: Risk Factors, Prevention and Management
More than 8% of Americans have diabetes and about 35% of American adults have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Without healthy lifestyle changes, those with prediabetes may develop diabetes.
To protect your health, get information about:
Risk Factors - Family history, blood pressure, and other factors can affect your chances of developing diabetes. Take a quick test to learn your level of risk.
Prevention - The onset of Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented or delayed through moderate weight loss, good nutrition and exercise.
How to Manage Diabetes - If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, learn how to stay healthy and keep the disease under control.
Statistics - Get some basic facts, including the prevalence of Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes.
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