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Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Save the Date: Construction Kick-off Ceremony for Sportscore Two and the Wedgebury Stadium ~ Friday August 1st

Please SAVE THE DATE and plan to attend a Construction Kick-off Ceremony for Sportscore Two and the Wedgebury Stadium, cornerstone projects of the Reclaiming First initiative.

WHEN: Friday, August 1st

TIME: Construction Kick-off Ceremony at 9 a.m.

WHERE: Sportscore Two, festival area (north of the indoor sports center). 

The construction kick-off coincides with the 2014 Illinois Tourism Road Show arrival. Members of the Illinois Office of Tourism and Jen Hoelzle, director of IOT, will be part of the news conference and groundbreaking, as we celebrate the economic impact this initiative will have on the State and county tourism.

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See Invitation

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Louisianians’ Secret to happiness: “We have lots of passions, and we love to share them”



If you’re happy and you know it, you probably live in Louisiana. At least that’s what “Unhappy Cities,” a paper recently released by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, indicates. Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Houma landed on the list of top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest reported happiness. No other state claimed more than one spot.

Chris Granger A zydeco breakfast at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

Chris Granger A zydeco breakfast at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

What are they drinking down there? Well, “a beer bottle is easy to dance with,” says New Orleans resident Ian McNulty, author of “Louisiana Rambles.” “It’s sort of a cliche but Louisiana is a place where people love to have a good time,” he told

“Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll) is the unofficial motto of the state,” adds David Gambrell, a musician raised in Baton Rouge who now lives in Louisville, Kentucky (among the report’s 10 least happy cities).“The state of Louisiana has a serious commitment to fun.”

Given Louisianians’ passion for life, particularly food and music, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne told he wasn’t surprised by how the state fared in the ranking. “We have lots of passions, and we love to share them.”

McNulty points to a unique foundation of history, family tradition and sense of place that fuels this zeal for fun, noting that the things that make people happy are tied to where they live, and are readily accessible. “You don’t have to hire a band or get limos to feel like you’ve had a fabulous time in Louisiana,” he says. “Sometimes all it takes is a dozen pounds of boiled crawfish, newspapers to spread it out on, and beer. … Very often when you’re talking about having a good time in Louisiana it revolves around food. A lot of our food by its nature is celebratory.Nobody makes a gumbo for one.”

And not only is food always on the table, McNulty says, but “there’s usually a band playing somewhere. Music is everywhere.”

That music, Gambrell says, “… gets into your body and resonates … you have a physical connection with the people playing the music and those around you enjoying it.”

People pour into the streets for Mardi Gras and other festivals brimming with food and music. Is it all that partying that makes Louisianians happy?

Maybe. But one common thread here is human connection. Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky elaborates.


Tim Mueller / Courtesy Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Musicians meet for a Cajun jam session at Boutin’s restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Tim Mueller / Courtesy Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Musicians meet for a Cajun jam session at Boutin’s restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“Positive emotions are the hallmark of happiness. Anything we can do to increase bursts of positive emotion is going to contribute to happiness,” she says. There are plenty of ways to do that – exercise and eating chocolate among them – but frequent celebrations in Louisiana offer ample opportunity.

However, “It’s not necessarily the festival that makes you happy,” Lyubomirsky notes. “… it’s an excuse to get together with people and strengthen relationships.”

While Lyubomirsky points out the study is correlational, not causal – meaning that going to Louisiana won’t necessarily make you happy – perhaps there’s something the rest of us can learn from the happy state.

And McNulty has a suggestion that covers all the bases.

“Find the things that are worth celebrating and sharing where you are, and build a good time around that.”


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Take Poll: How Long Have You Lived in the Rockford Region?


How long have you lived in the Rockford region? Click here to access poll!


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Post My Feedback: Praise

The website now has  Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.46.22 PM button at the bottom of all pages. This allows the community to post ideas, questions, problems, and praise.

Below is the latest  Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.49.22 PM

Dan Pfluger, 5 hours ago

What a great vision! Entering the Coronado and seeing all those Boys and Girl Scouts greeting us was thrilling. It’s encouraging to see that such young leaders are willing to participate.

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We need your feedback!

Vote and comment on the draft vision and impact statements.

Visit POST-IT NOTES now!

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City of Rockford Joins

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What is NextDoor?

Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name
  • Download mobile app

Nextdoor’s mission is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods.

Register Now @

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Post-It Notes Update!

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Give feedback for Vision and Impact Statements. Check out updated the Post-It Notes!

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Transform Rockford Sees Success With Phone Banks

ROCKFORD, IL–Organizers say they were blown away by the volume of voices sharing their vision for the city’s future.

The phone banks were a huge success and Transform Rockford heard from many members of the community.

“The phones were literally ringing off the wall for two hours, there was no break,” said Chuck Konkol, the communication liaison for Transform Rockford.

An estimated 250 calls came in for the phone bank event—which means state liners definitely made their voices heard.

Three specific areas were on the community’s mind—safety, education, and jobs.

Their main concern was how to implement changes and when.

“That’s in the days to come, to figure out as a community how we’re going to do it,” said Konkol.


Source: WTVO