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F&J Racing postpones Blessing of the Bikes | News, Sports, Jobs



Blessing of the Bikes planning committee members Steve Moody, Jackie Ingraham, Connie Hoskins and Thomas Reynolds decided to postpone the annual event.

Saturday was supposed to be the date of one of the long-standing charitable events held in Marshall County.

However, much like many events planned to be held during the ever-changing world of COVID-19, the risks were too high. 

The decision was made to postpone the Blessing of the Bikes – which originally had been planned for May – due to a desire not to contribute to the spread of the virus, said Tom Reynolds, a member of the planning committee for the event along with Connie Hoskins, Steven Moody and police liaison Tricia Thein.

Moody has been with the event since day one, also serving as the announcer for the festivities. The event is hosted by Fred and Jackie Ingraham, the owners of F&J Racing, a bike maintenance and repair shop at 701 N Third Ave. 

The event began 25 years ago, with the organizers wanting to give back to Marshalltown and Marshall County communities. It started with two barrels for food and clothes for the Salvation Army but has since grown into one of the bigger charity events in Marshalltown. 

Reynolds said it was difficult not to have the event.

“We truly did want to be able to have the event,” Reynolds said. 

Hoskins said the group attempted three times to schedule and hold the event – but they were not able to find a way for it to be safe enough, and they did not want to put the people they were raising money to help at more risk by attending a large gathering. 

Hoskins said the event has given to a number of charities over the years, including (but not limited to):

• Marshalltown Dog Park

• Animal Rescue League

• a safe house in Marshall County for those who are escaping from domestic abuse

• Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Marshall County. 

It’s not a money-making operation for the Ingrahams, Hoskins said.

“Fred and Jackie for years have done this, and they don’t make any money off of it,” Hoskins said. “They’ve put money into it. They do this to help people who need it.”

Reynolds said one of the newer parts of the event is money for a Marshalltown Police Department fund to help homeless people get a place to sleep when they are picked up by police officers in the wintertime. He said that previously it would be up to the officers to pay out-of-pocket and they wanted to change that. 

With the cancelation of the 2020 event, the attention within the organizing group now turns to 2021.

The planning usually takes around three to four months, Hoskins said. 

Jackie, Reynolds and Hoskins said there is an intention to hold it at least one more time to celebrate Jackie and Fred’s commitment to their business and the community.

Jackie’s impact on the event has been massive, Thein said. She said honoring Jackie is “hugely important.”

“It is time-consuming and difficult,” Thein said of planning the event. “She has done a fantastic job for so many years.”

Reynolds said the event is “winding down” a little bit, and there are discussions about whether to continue it or to have another interested party continue the tradition of giving. 

“Fred and Jackie have thought about the future,” Reynolds said. “We’ve enjoyed doing what we’ve done. We do want to do it [in 2021] so Jackie has 25 years. They think it might be time to pass the torch.”

The eventual passing of the torch comes as the group makes it clear that it is not only bikers who come to the event. There have been many efforts made to make the Blessing of the Bikes even more family-friendly, Hoskins said, and there is a priest present during the event. 

Hoskins said the groups wants to go as big as they can with the Blessing next year.

“We want to do it as big as we can to help the community,” Hoskins said. “It’s not just for bikers. It’s for everybody.”

Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or

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




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




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




(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

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