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Faculty shares excitement for 2020-2021 school year | News, Sports, Jobs

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WILLIAMSTOWN – With the completion of the new Williamstown Elementary School and new additions to Williamstown Middle/High School, many educators are looking forward to the 2020-2021 school year.

The new elementary school, located at 430 Caroline Ave., has been under construction for over two years on the site of the former Fenton Art Glass company.

A ribbon cutting was held on Sept. 1 to officially dedicate the new school.

Principal Heather Bretthauer said teachers and staff have been in the building over the past month getting rooms and materials ready for students.

“Since the day I said they could come in, they have been here every day since,” she said. “They have dedicated themselves to making sure this place feels like a home.

“Everyone had a month and a half to get ready and the school looks absolutely beautiful.”

Many of the teachers in the building talked about having their rooms ready. Many were excited about having new technology available to them.

Bretthauer said they were going to be an “Apple school” with Apple computers and technology.

Second-grade teacher Michelle Sauro said so many of the teachers and staff have been impressed with the building, its layout and design. There is a huge gym, a huge library and a lot of space.

Each classroom has an Apple TV and the kids have iPads which can be utilized together.

“It is not the old chalkboard you use to have,” Sauro said. “It is wonderful.

“There are a lot of resources for the kids to utilize. With all the new technology we have, the kids will really benefit from it.”

She said all of the teachers are excited about getting everything organized and having a lot of new things available for the students.

“We love it,” Sauro said “All of the kids have a locker, everyone has their own personal space and everything is brand new.”

The building also fits well into the community.

“It looks good in the community and will be good for the community,” Sauro said.

Even with the new school, educators and students are still facing many of the same challenges being faced across the country with preparing for school during the pandemic, said Dave Morris, fifth grade teacher.

“I think we are in good shape and we are anxious for the kids to get back and get back as to as close to normal as we possibly can,” he said. “It is a beautiful building obviously.

“We are excited to be here.”

All the new technology will enable teachers to do a lot at school or at home or both, Morris said.

All of grade levels are grouped together so teachers can better function as a team.

“We have a lot of room here so we can do outdoor learning as well,” Morris said. “There is a lot we can do here that we were limited in what we could do at the old school.”

Teachers came in on their own time to get things ready, said fifth grade teacher Diana Leo.

Due to health concerns, the water fountains will be turned off and kids will have a water bottle refilling station which many are excited about, she said.

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Indonesia’s Pandemic Response: A Law to Create Millions of Jobs | Voice of America

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A landmark law passed this month in Indonesia will open the populous, impoverished country to labor-intensive industry like many of its Southeast Asian neighbors despite a hit to worker rights, people on the ground say. 

The 905-page Omnibus Bill on Job Creation bill will give millions of young people chances to work, including in formal jobs that can be hard to find because older Indonesian laws discouraged foreign investors from setting up factories, analysts believe. 

Indonesians are struggling to earn income during an unrelenting COVID-19 outbreak that prompted shutdowns from April. The nation with nearly 400,000 infections reported a sharp drop in retail sales from April through August and a fall in exports over the three months ending in September.   

“With this new law, it is expected that the investment would come not only to the Indonesian economy, but also come to the labor-intensive part, and by getting more investment in that area it is expected that more jobs will be created, and those jobs are more of the quality jobs, not only informal jobs,” said Yose Rizal Damuri, economics department head with the Center for Strategic and International Studies research organization in Jakarta.   

Indonesia’s government and House of Representatives passed the bill ahead of schedule on October 5, the Jakarta Post reported. The bill aims to cut bureaucracy and make it easier for investors to create jobs, said Richard Borsuk, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies adjunct senior fellow in Singapore.

Protest against the government’s proposed labor reforms in Sukabumi, West Java, Oct. 7, 2020.

President Joko Widodo’s government sees this bill as part of his “legacy” to stimulate the 270 million-person country’s economy, Rizal said. Minerals, oil and farming make up much of Indonesia’s $1 trillion-plus GDP today. “Labor-intensive” industry players find Indonesia too expensive now, Rizal said, explaining why that sub-sector makes up just 2% of the country’s total investment. 

Foreign manufacturers of garments, shoes and textiles normally pick other low-cost Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, over the past decade because of stiff pro-labor laws, economists say. Foreign investment eventually raises the living standards, as witnessed in China and eventually Vietnam

“It’s probably something that will be a long-term benefit, if this does go through,” said Rajiv Biswas, senior regional economist with IHS Markit, a London-based analysis firm. 

“It creates a better environment for foreign multinationals to hire, because from the perspective of foreign multinationals, it’s very restrictive labor laws there,” Biswas said. “They’re worried about hiring because it’s very hard to reduce the workforce later on.”   

Foreign investors will consider the law a “step in the right” direction for making Indonesia friendlier, forecast Song Seng Wun, an economist in the private banking unit of Malaysian bank CIMB.

“This Omnibus Bill is part of something that Jokowi [was] looking to see how they can help sort of improve the investment landscape to make it a little bit more attractive in Indonesia, just to make sure Indonesia doesn’t get pushed down the investible list of countries,” Song said, using the Indonesian president’s nickname. 

But the law sparked staunch opposition. Some governors have asked Widodo to revoke the law and other people protested in the streets over three days, sometimes violently, Borsuk’s study says. 

The law effectively eliminates the power of labor unions, said Paramita Supamijoto, an international relations lecturer at Bina Nusantara University in greater Jakarta. 

The October bill would roll back legal support for fair wages, safe working conditions and excessive overtime, U.S.-headquartered human rights advocacy group Amnesty International said in a statement in August. It called the bill’s preparation process “opaque.”   

Severance pay for laid-off workers will also slip, Damuri said. 

For workers, the law means that “whatever you do, your life will be determined by your employers,” Supamijoto said.

But the law could stoke enough investment to stop people from migrating overseas in search of work, she said. “Under our current president’s administration, they prefer to invite the investors rather than sending workers abroad, so it’s better to invite you to come here to spend money, to invest your money, then to help us to build the infrastructure,” she said. 

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Cindy Knier | News, Sports, Jobs

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Cindy Knier (nee McCarty) slipped off to be with Jesus on Oct. 24, 2020, at 58 years of age. As much as she loved staying home with her family in Muncy, she was ready to be with the Lord and to rest in His everlasting peace after bravely battling that insidious beast, cancer.

She will be lovingly remembered and missed by her husband of 39 years, Rodney Knier; children: Michael (Jenny) and Katie Artley (Jade); grandson Samuel Artley; siblings Geri Schnure (Ed), Jeannie Bontomase (Dale), Melinda McCarty, Joyce McCarty, Lisa McCarty, John McCarty (Lourie), and last but not least, Jacque McCarty; and a vast number of cousins, nieces and nephews.

The favorite daughter of Lewis and Lola McCarty of Muncy, Cindy was a hometown girl who served as the editor of the local newspaper, The Luminary. Recent students of Muncy High School had the delight of knowing her as their school librarian. Cindy loved taking pictures (even when it got on her friends’ nerves), listening to and singing along with the oldies, sipping Lipton tea and spending time with family and friends. She was a fiercely devoted mother and a proud new grandmother. She hated the sound of chewing, so please chew quietly to honor her memory.

Cindy was famous for her beautiful laughter. Forevermore, heaven will ring with its glorious sound and earth will be the poorer.

A celebration of Cindy’s life is being planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a charitable donation to The Son Light House of Muncy or Camp Victory.

Rod Knier

ministrare quam ministrari

to serve rather than to be served




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Amazon to hire 100,000 for new seasonal jobs

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(NEXSTAR) — Amazon announced Tuesday that it’s creating an additional 100,000 seasonal jobs.

Last month, the retail giant said it was hiring 100,000 full- and part-time workers across the U.S. and Canada.

The company said the newest crop of positions will allow people to earn money during the holiday season, and many of the job locations will include bonus holiday incentives.

“With more than 12 million Americans out of work according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics these new seasonal roles in several locations across the US and Canada will complement its regular full- and part-time positions,” Amazon said in a statement. “Amazon offers jobs for people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and these 100,000 new, seasonal jobs offer opportunities for pay incentives, benefits, and a path to a longer-term career, or can simply provide extra income and flexibility during the holiday season.”

The retail giant also said it has promoted more than 35,000 employees in 2020, and 30,000 workers have participated in its Career Choice program, which is designed to help “upskill” people seeking a future in a “high-demand field” by offering courses in 20 career paths.

The company said half of the program’s participants are from underrepresented minority groups.

“Career Choice is one way we help people think big about their careers, and we offer training across a wide variety of skills needed for high-demand fields,” Darcie Henry, VP of Global HR for Amazon Operations, said in a statement.

The company said the jobs could lead to a more long-term opportunity.

“A job with Amazon can be the start of a future, long-term career inside or outside of the company,” the retailer said.

Anyone interested in applying for the positions can visit amazon.com/apply.

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