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Record Rise in Unemployment Claims Halts Historic Run of Job Growth

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WASHINGTON—A record 3.28 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the new coronavirus hit the U.S. economy, marking an abrupt end to the nation’s historic, decadelong run of job growth.

The number of Americans filing for claims was nearly five times the previous record high. The surge was for the week ended March 21 and could rise further. Pennsylvania, Ohio and California were among 10 states reporting more than 100,000 claims, leaving unemployment systems overloaded.

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Josephine Allen | News, Sports, Jobs

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Josephine Allen, 69, of Stockton, N.Y., died unexpectedly at home on Monday, March 30, 2020. Beloved wife of David M. Allen. A complete obituary will be published in the OBSERVER later in the week. Arrangements by David J. Dengler, LARSON-TIMKO Funeral Home, 679-9000.



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Local artist offers classes online | News, Sports, Jobs

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Artist Sheri Liebschner poses with one of her recent works. (Submitted photo)

EAST LIVERPOOL — The coronavirus quarantine has meant change to the life that we once knew, and this even was acknowledged by a local artist who recently shared her talents in art instruction online.

“I decided to start having a Zoom-based art class, when I realized our lives probably would not be getting back to normal anytime soon,” Sheri Liebschner explained. She had been teaching painting classes at the Museum of Ceramics on Monday mornings and Thursday evenings as well as the Daydreamers studio in Salem. That along with her Saturday workshop scheduled earlier this month in the East Liverpool Community and Learning Center had to be canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Missing her student artists and friends, Liebschner decided to go online. “I was missing …. being able to share their successes and pictures of their work on Facebook and Instagram. Many in the community responded positively on social media to our classes and the individual student effort, so I wanted to keep that spirit going.”

Although the COVID-19 crisis did hasten her actions, she had been thinking about offering online classes for a while. The classes are free and available to the community.

The online classes are pretty similar to her Museum of Ceramics’ classes, which she had began teaching in October. “Zoom allows participants to share audio and video, so we can share progress, problems and tips. Just like with the in-person class, we listen to music, share personal stories, local happenings and sometimes funny things too,” Liebschner continued, adding that she is still trying to work out some of the technical issues that have surfaced.

The class is at 10 a.m. Mondays and had been running around 40 minutes. However, Zoom has been extending that for the class to around 90 minutes at no additional charge.

Participants just need to download the free Zoom application on their computer, tablet or phone at http://zoom.us/Students. They provide their own supplies, and all experience levels are welcome.

Liebschner said that she inherited her love of art from her mother Carole, who is an accomplished artist in her own right. “She won awards for her paintings locally when I was growing up and has won quite a few recently in regional shows as well.”

She had studied art at Miami University and rediscovered it as an adult, taking continuing education classes in the evenings. This led to her signing up for some regular college art classes at the University of Akron, where she and her mother study with nationally recognized artist Christopher Leeper in Canfield. “Right now this is my day job, and it has really taken off over the past 12 months. I am represented by the Fine Art Sales Gallery at the Butler Institute of American Art”, where she sells original paintings and greeting cards.

Locally, the Museum of Ceramics also carries some of her smaller original works. For more information, visit www.sheriliebschner.com.


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Blair cases count coronavirus down by two to four | News, Sports, Jobs

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Blair County’s coronavirus case number, as tallied by the state Department of Health, went down by two to four today, because patients initially presumed to be residents of Blair actually lived in another county, according to a DoH spokeswoman.

Sometimes a doctor who orders a test may cite a patient’s case by the address of his office or the address of the location where a specimen was taken from the patient, but the DoH slots cases according to patients’ counties of residence, said Maggi Mumma in an email.

Such an initial discrepancy — or a mistaken belief about a patient’s county of residence — accounts for the shift from the six cases listed Monday to the four listed for Blair on Tuesday, according to information provided by Mumma and by state Health Secretary Rachel Levine, as stated on the DoH’s daily webcast today.

The numbers decline does not reflect patient deaths or recoveries, as those continue to be part of the county numbers — although the DoH handles each differently, tracking the number of deaths, but not recoveries, Mumma stated.

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