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YMCA of Rock River Valley cuts hundreds of jobs – News – Rockford Register Star

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ROCKFORD —  The YMCA of Rock River Valley has terminated hundreds of employees while its facilities remain shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

The YMCA’s temporary closures have resulted in a decline in memberships and lost program revenue, YMCA of Rock River Valley CEO Brent Pentenburg said in a statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place order is putting a real financial strain on our organization. It is forcing nonprofits and businesses to make some tough decisions,” Pentenburg said.

“The YMCA of Rock River Valley has 643 employees, most of whom are part-time staff members. We had to make the very difficult decision to only retain essential employees to maintain critical operations. All of our employees are like family to us and we know this creates difficulties for many of them. It is our hope to recall as many employees as we can when we reopen.”

The YMCA didn’t specify the total number of employees terminated.

The YMCA closed its SwedishAmerican Riverfront, Northeast Family, Puri Family, Camp Winnebago and Children’s Learning Center facilities on March 14. They will remain closed through at least April 7, although emergency child care is still being provided at the SwedishAmerican Riverfront facility and the Children’s Learning Center.

The YMCA is asking members to continue paying dues through March if they are financially able, said Michelle Polivka, the Y’s vice president of marketing and communications.

“We are going to communicate to our members how we will proceed going forward,” Polivka said. “We need support like everyone else. We’re still a nonprofit organization supported by members and donors.”

The YMCA of Rock River Valley has served the area for more than 100 years.

Stateline Family YMCA has temporarily furloughed 254 part-time workers while its Roscoe and Beloit, Wisconsin, sites remain closed, the organization said in a letter sent Tuesday to the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

Ken DeCoster: 815-987-1391; kdecoster@rrstar.com; @DeCosterKen

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U.S. businesses cut 27,000 jobs in March, before virus hit

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U.S. businesses cut 27,000 jobs in March, before virus hit – NEWS 1130


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Last Updated Apr 1, 2020 at 5:36 am PDT

WASHINGTON — U.S. companies shed 27,000 jobs in March, according to a private survey, a figure that mostly reflected the economy as it stood before the full impact of the viral outbreak.

Payroll processor ADP said small businesses took the biggest hit, losing 90,000 jobs, while medium-sized and large companies still added workers. Economists forecast that much larger job losses, probably in the millions, will be reported in the coming months.

Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

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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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