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Monthly Archives: September 2016

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Arts & Recreation: Rockford Rain Art Brings Joy!

Rockford Rain Art, a public art initiative in downtown Rockford, aims to bring a bit of joy to what might be a gloomy, rainy day. The art is visible only when the sidewalk is wet! So, if rain isn’t in the forecast, grab a bottle of water and create your own rain!


Share your Rain Art photos with #rockfordrainart #gorockford #rockfordexplorer

Rockford Rain Art, the latest public art installation as part of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitor Bureau’s Forest City Beautiful initiative, is on display at 12 locations throughout the downtown River District and the Midtown District .

The art will be installed on sidewalks and is only visible when it rains (or if someone brings along a bottle of water, water balloon, bucket of water, etc.) The paint is environmentally friendly and will last for 2-4 months.

Collaborating with Rockford Community Partners, the River District Association and the Midtown District, RACVB is working with Rockford-based OC Creative for the project installation and execution. OC Creative launched a similar initiative called Project Liquid Sunshine in spring 2016.

The art designs were created by Liz Wood, RACVB Creative Services Manager.

Download a map of the Rockford Rain Art locations here!

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Interconnectedness : City Market provides sense of place for Rockford residents

Justin Hey, co-owner of Hey Brothers

Rockford City Market is the go-to Friday night ritual for summers in downtown Rockford, bringing more than 100,000people downtown last year.

“It has really created a sense of community for Rockford,” said Ginny Smith of Pecatonica. “Everybody comes here. We like to come down and have a beer, a bite to eat and we love the live music.”

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Transparency: Rockford Leadership Alliance Session on 9/29 – Create Transparency


Julia KirbyJulia Kirby is Editor at Large at Harvard Business Review as well as the author of Standing on the Sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere (2012) and Only Humans Need Apply: Winners & Losers in the Age of Smart Machines (May, 2016).  She has written many articles for Harvard Business Review including “Trust in the Age of Transparency” featured in the July-August 2012 HBR magazine.

September 29 | Hilton Garden Inn

Morning Session: 8:00am-12:00pm | Afternoon Session: 1:00-5:00pm
Presenter: Julia Kirby, Harvard Business Review

For more information visit

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Education: Douglas J. Jensen selected as next RVC president

Douglas J. Jensen

Douglas J. Jensen

ROCKFORD — Rock Valley College Trustees have chosen Douglas J. Jensen as the college’s next president.

Trustees plan to vote on a contract for Jensen Tuesday night. The proposed contract begins Oct. 10 and runs through June 30, 2019. Jensen will be paid $180,000 a year with benefits.

Jensen, 59, has 30 years of experience working in community colleges. He is leaving his job as the assistant director of educational services for Alabama Industrial Development Training, an independent agency under the supervision of the state’s Department of Commerce.

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Physical Infrastructure: Feds award Rockford airport nearly $2.2M to upgrade taxiway

It’s the latest multimillion-dollar effort to improve the city’s airport and make it a regional business center. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, and Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, announced the $2,176,238 award today. The money will be used to rebuild the airport’s 1,400-foot Taxiway F.

Earlier this month, the federal government said it will send $6 million to the airport to defray the ongoing $20 million addition of 25,000 square feet to the airport’s passenger terminal. Weeks before that announcement came a $455,000 federal award to the airport for construction of a 30,000-square-yard cargo apron to accommodate air cargo traffic.

“We have a great relationship with Sen. Durbin and Rep. Bustos and this is part of our overall goal to include the Federal Aviation Administration in our planning process,” said Airport Director Mike Dunn.

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Unity, Pride, Culture: Greater Rockford Italian American Association to hold banquet Oct. 8

ROCKFORD — The Greater Rockford Italian American Association will hold its annual Hall of Fame and Special Recognition Award Banquet at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road.

The event will honor Rockford-area Italian-Americans who have made significant contributions to the Italian-American community and will feature a social hour, dinner, ceremony and entertainment by the Mike Alongi Trio.

Tickets: $40. For tickets: 815-871-7789; For information:

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Economy & Jobs: Rockford seeing best housing market in ten years

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – If we’re in the market to buy a home here in the Stateline now may be the best time to start looking.

In August, we saw the best month of new homes being sold in nearly 10 years. Much of this success comes from the affordability in Rockford. The average home in the Forest City sold for about $115,000 exactly half the average price on the national scale. Steve Bois at Rockford Area Realtors says that the housing market is slowly improving and he expects the growth to continue.

“We’re expecting a normal seasonal slowdown if you will. But we’re not expecting to see any brakes put on either. So I think we’re going to continue to trend positively this year versus last year,” says Rockford Area Realtors CEO Steve Bois.

Bois says that economists believe it would be beneficial for businesses to set up shop in Rockford because the affordable housing alone would allow employees to buy new homes where they work.

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Unity, Pride, Culture: Rockford church celebrates 180 years

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — 180 years ago Andrew Jackson was president, Wisconsin became a territory, and Davey Crockett arrived in Texas. That was also the year Centennial United Methodist Church in Rockford began its ministry.

The church, now at the corner of Broadway and Parmalee celebrated that big anniversary Sunday with a special service followed by lunch. Although the location has changed through the years, the mission hasn’t. Centennial United Methodist is well known for its neighborhood outreach and serving low income families. It welcomes kids every Saturday for a kids club and offers English as a Second Language classes.

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Healthy Lifestyles: Join experts on Blue Zones; Live Longer, Better. Live to be 100


Blue Zones Project Friends @ Five

Join experts on Blue Zones; Live Longer, Better. Live to be 100.

September 19, 2016 @ 5:00 pm7:00 pm
Discovery Center Museum, 711 N Main St, Rockford, IL 61103, USA

Transform Rockford’s goal of making Rockford a top 25 city by 2025 could become a lot easier if it’s picked to become a Blue Zone.

“The collective effort that the City is getting ready to do, we’d be honored to work here,” said Blue Zones Project National Spokesperson Tony Buettner.

Buettner was the keynote speaker in June at the UW Health Sports Factory. He explained to hundreds of people about the projects initiative to improve a community’s health and well being by helping it secure major grants. But only three communities in the entire United States will get picked as the next Blue Zones. Buettner says he’s looking for something specific when it comes to choosing the zones and Rockford just might fit the bill.

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Education: Rockford Christian Schools earns continuing accreditation

ROCKFORD — Rockford Christian Schools recently earned continuing accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Northwest Accreditation Commission and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.

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