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



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;; @DeCosterKen

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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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Textile park in Bareilly to create jobs: CM | Lucknow News




Lucknow: Chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday said a textile park would be set up in Bareilly soon. The CM made the announcement while reviewing the development work in Bareilly division comprising Bareilly, Budaun, Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur districts.
Yogi said textile is the second most important sector in job creation after agriculture. “The textile park would generate significant number of jobs in the region,” he said in the meeting attended by MPs, MLAs, divisional commissioner and district magistrates.
The CM directed officials to expedite the smart city project in Bareilly.
The state government is committed to provide drinking water supply to every household under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, Yogi said. For this, the work of rejuvenating the dead rivers should be done through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS). The CM also emphasised on speedy construction of 300-bed hospital which can have a Covid facility.
“Tourism is another area which has immense potential to generate employment. Chuka in Pilibhit has immense potential to be developed as a tourist hot spot,” he said.
The CM also directed officials to speed up payment of cane dues to farmers. He said the review of cane arrears in Bareilly division should be done at the district level. “Timely payment of dues can encourage farmers,” he said.
Yogi expressed his displeasure over slow construction of gram secretariat at gram panchayats and said work should be expedited after identifying land.
The spots for construction of community toilets should also be identified and all the infrastructure should be geo-tagged. Yogi also pitched for speeding up road repair in the division and said there was urgent need to closely monitor the work to ensure timely completion. The nodal officers should do physical verification of projects.

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Chancellor warned scrapping tax-free shopping risks 70,000 jobs | UK news




UK retailers, hoteliers and airport chiefs have warned the chancellor that scrapping tax-free shopping for international tourists has put 70,000 jobs in jeopardy.

Earlier this month the Treasury said that the retail scheme, which enables non-EU visitors to reclaim VAT paid on their purchases, would finish at the end of December. The Treasury says it is making use of the end of the Brexit transition period to bring personal duty and tax systems in line with international norms.

The move has caused a huge storm in retail and tourism circles with Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and the owners of high end designer outlet mall Bicester Village among the business putting their names to a letter urging the chancellor to think again.

Other signatories include the bosses of major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham.

The decision will leave Britain as the only country in Europe without a tax-free shopping scheme for international visitors. The fear is that without the perk this high spending group of travellers, who fly in from China and the Middle East, will go elsewhere. It comes at a time when city centres around the UK are struggling to recover from the pandemic, a situation that has already led to tens of thousands of jobs losses.

Paul Barnes, chief executive of the Association of International Retail, described it as a devastating decision that would lead to the loss of tens of thousands of tourism and retail jobs right across the UK.

“Madrid, Milan and Paris are rubbing their hands with glee at this self-inflicted wound,” said Barnes. “If we charge a fifth more for the same goods, international visitors will not hesitate to switch their city breaks to other countries and the stores and jobs will follow within months.”

While international tourists reclaim VAT on £2.5 billion of purchases, they pay VAT on the rest of the £22 billion they spend.

The luxury handbag brand Mulberry also criticised what it said was a “short-sighted” move. The Somerset-based firm is the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in the UK and Thierry Andretta, the chief executive, warned it would “have a material impact on jobs and manufacturing in this sector”.

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