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Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Caring: Rockford Food Pantry Gets Big Boost from CROP Hunger Walk

The Rock River Valley Food Pantry received a $10 thousand check Sunday afternoon from the CROP Hunger Walk.

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The event is held annually in Rockford and across the nation.

Rockford  has received more than $250-thousand  from CROP for local hunger relief in the past 30 years. The 2016 Rockford CROP Hunger Walk will be held on October 16th.


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Economy & Jobs: Rockford Home Show Draws Thousands

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Over 25,000 people were in the Stateline this weekend for one of the area’s biggest home shows.

250 vendors displayed their services, including the latest products for home improvement and remodeling. There were also a variety of demonstrations. Special exhibits included the “Natural Treasure” water exhibit, featuring a 1941 truck floating in a stream with water rolling through the truck.

Local business owners say the Rockford Home Show is a great way to promote local businesses and ultimately help the economy.

Owner of Natural Water Gardens, Tim Siegner, says, “With all the different vendors that come in, it’s got to impact the local economy. A lot of the vendors have to come and stay in hotels and use the restaurants and that type of stuff. Our clients usually come within a 100 mile radius, so they’re coming and staying for a while.”

Siegner says he usually gets about 40-50 new clients every year from this event.

This is the 36th annual Rockford Home Show.


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Caring: Rockford nonprofit changes children’s lives through the power of play

ROCKFORD (WREX) –

In 1994, Kids Around the World was founded in Rockford. Since then, it’s expanded across the United States and helped 7 million children in over 65 countries.

The faith based non-profit provides nutritional meals, religious teachings, and builds playgrounds for kids in need.  It does this both locally and abroad.

“Part of the reason the playground started the whole thing off is they wanted to give a gift, something tangible to the community it could use,” says Kids Around the World Playground Director Tim Clauson.
Clauson says Kids Around the World connects with park districts and other organizations across the nation that don’t want their playground sets anymore.

“The word has just spread through the playground community. Rather than putting your playground in a landfill we can give your playground another use overseas at an orphanage or school for children that wouldn’t have a playground if we didn’t come and build one for them.”

Read More…http://www.wrex.com/story/31338088/2016/02/28/rockford-nonprofit-changes-childrens-lives-through-the-power-of-play


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Education, Economy & Jobs: Chicago Rockford AAR Facility Right on Track to be Done

ROCKFORD

The massive 203,000 square foot AAR facility is the largest pre-engineered structure of it’s type-the first and only one of its kind in the U.S.

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And it’s right here in Rockford.

The original agreement with AAR promised to create 500 jobs, but that number is now projected to be closer to a thousand by the end of the first year.

It was all done through local collaborations with Scandroli Construction, architects from Larson and Darby, and it’s partnership with RVC’s Aviation Maintenance Educational Facility.

“This is a one of a kind building, and we’re very proud to be a part of that, putting this project together,” said Dan Roszkowski, the President Of Larson & Darby, the architectural firm behind the project.

“You know, we talk about transforming Rockford, this project, the Rock Valley College project, are truly here to transform Rockford and allow our young people a bright future going forward.”

The project is expected to be completed on time and on its 40-million dollar budget by the middle of June, and it hopes to keep more local talent in the area through the jobs and opportunities it creates.

News Source: http://www.mystateline.com/news/chicago-rockford-aar-facility-right-on-track-to-be-done


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Arts & Recreation: RACVB to unveil Rockford coloring book

ROCKFORD (WREX) –

What was once known as a kid’s activity, is becoming a growing trend with adults; coloring books.  The city of Rockford is about to be part of this popular activity in a new way.

“We noticed that adult coloring books are becoming really popular,” says project manager Addie Longberry. “They’re really trendy right now so we decided we would hop on that bandwagon.”

One day Rockford will have a coloring book all its own. Longberry says Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is tapping into local talent, to highlight the beauty of Rockford.

“We are looking for local artists to volunteer their artistic abilities to draw out some local area and things that they’d like to enter into the coloring book.”

So what exactly are they looking for?

“We want to showcase original sites and attractions that are unique,” says Longberry. “Things would  be like the symbol, sock monkeys, the Rockford Peaches.

But Longberry says this interpretation of what makes Rockford beautiful, is up to the creator.  The book will be roughly 34 long, with more than just coloring options.

“We’re hoping to include crosswords, word search, different activity puzzles, connect the dot.”

And buying the book will help make the city look event more vibrant.  The money it collects will go towards the Forest City Beautiful initiative. This will help upgrade and maintain flower beds, and public spaces downtown.  Hopefully generation more material for the next coloring book.

The RACVB says it hopes to have the coloring book completed in the next few months.  If you’d like to submit your artwork, or find out more about the project, you can contact info@gorockford.com.

News Source: http://www.wrex.com/story/31320264/2016/02/25/racvb-to-unveil-rockford-coloring-book


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Caring: How Rockford ended homelessness among veterans (WGN Radio)

Rockford, IL has the distinction of being the first city in the nation to end homelessness among veterans. Rockford’s mayor, Larry Morrissey and formerly homeless veteran- Paul Paddock join Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes to talk about the process by which Rockford has achieved their goal.

Listen to Audio: click here


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Education: Fun, hands on learning about coding

The “Hour of Code” is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

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The ultimate national goal is to get 10 million students to try computer science for one hour. In addition, the “Hour of Code” demystifies computer science and coding.

In December 2015, Professor Konkol offered the first “Hour of Code” event with 126 people from the Rockford region participating. To keep this momentum moving Professor Konkol decided to offer “Hour of Code” workshops each month. The workshops take place the 4th Saturday of the month from 9am-10am.

What happens at the “Hour of Code” Workshops?

  • Fun, hands on learning about coding
  • Unplugged and online learning
  • Perfect for ages 5 and up!
  • Raffle prizes
  • Information about CIS Computer Science and Coding Courses offered at Rock Valley College
Agenda

  • Welcome & Introduction; 9am
  • Computer Science or Code Tutorial (Unplugged or Online); 9:05am – 9:55am
  • Wrap it Up with Raffle Drawing for Door Prizes; 9:55am

To RSVP or for more information about the monthly Hour of Code workshops visit http://rvchourofcode.com


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Quality: Rockford Reachout Announces New Leader

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — An organization that gives classes to inmates in the Winnebago County Jail has a new leader.

John Evans is a Rockford native, just named Executive Director of Rockford Reachout. He’s worked with the Weed and Seed program and the Joyner Neighborhood Resource Center, but says he’s excited for the new opportunity.

Rockford Reachout serves inmates in the Winnebago County Jail, offering both spiritual classes and other programming . Evans says the organization helps inmates turn their lives around so when they’re released they start out on the right track.

“When you’re trying to go through restoration and healing it really does take that personal connection and I really want us to focus on that and on the human need,” Evans said.

About 30 former inmates are involved in a mentoring program to help them re-enter society, but Evans says he hopes to eventually expand it through collaboration with other community groups.

News Source: http://www.wifr.com/home/headlines/Rockford-Reachout-Announces-New-Leader-369878611.html?device=tablet&c=y


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Quality: Rockford Reachout Announces New Leader

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — An organization that gives classes to inmates in the Winnebago County Jail has a new leader.

John Evans is a Rockford native, just named Executive Director of Rockford Reachout. He’s worked with the Weed and Seed program and the Joyner Neighborhood Resource Center, but says he’s excited for the new opportunity.

Rockford Reachout serves inmates in the Winnebago County Jail, offering both spiritual classes and other programming . Evans says the organization helps inmates turn their lives around so when they’re released they start out on the right track.

“When you’re trying to go through restoration and healing it really does take that personal connection and I really want us to focus on that and on the human need,” Evans said.

About 30 former inmates are involved in a mentoring program to help them re-enter society, but Evans says he hopes to eventually expand it through collaboration with other community groups.

News Source: http://www.wifr.com/home/headlines/Rockford-Reachout-Announces-New-Leader-369878611.html?device=tablet&c=y


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Education: NIU, RVC launch campaign to support new engineering degree program in Rockford

ROCKFORD — Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University leaders launched Engineering Our Future on Tuesday, a $6 million fundraising campaign to support a new four-year engineering degree program based at RVC.

The NIU-RVC Engineering Program will open to students in fall 2016 and allow them to obtain bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and applied manufacturing and a master’s degree in integrated systems engineering at Rock Valley’s North Mulford Road campus.

Before Tuesday’s announcement concluded, leaders celebrated several large donations to the campaign: $2 million from the Woodward Charitable Trust, $400,000 from the Stenstrom Foundation and “a significant leadership gift” from the Bergstrom Foundation. The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois pledged a dollar-to-dollar match on funds raised for student scholarships.

Tuesday’s donations amounted to about half of the $6 million goal.

The program represents the college’s “most ambitious partnership yet” with NIU, said RVC President Mike Mastroianni.

“It’s a paradigm change,” Mastroianni said. “People are used to looking at community colleges as two-year institutions, and that’s it. … We are truly the community’s college. You can complete a certificate program here. You can come here to transfer to a another school, and now you can get a four-year degree on the campus.”

Read more…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20160223/NEWS/160229792?template=printart