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Monthly Archives: January 2017

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Respect: 815 Choose Civility Pledge is Tuesday! Committee says civility is key to improving community

ROCKFORD — “Civility” recently has become a buzzword in political speeches, news reports and everyday conversations across the country. Lawmakers, pundits and citizens plead for civil behavior.

Georgia, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas are just a few states where lawmakers issued a plea for civility as they convened their 2017 sessions.

In Rockford, the plea is coming from a different segment of the population.

“Not every community needs it, but Rockford does. We are very negative,” said Sherry Harlan, an attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson in Rockford. “We need to learn to be respectful of people with other opinions.”

Harlan is a committee member of 815 Choose Civility, an initiative that began last August to help transform Rockford into a successful and thriving community.

“This needs to be organic — person to person. We have lost our ability to communicate one-on-one. We need to acknowledge that ‘My behavior does affect you. Maybe I shouldn’t treat you that way,'” Harlan said. “I know you can’t wave a magic wand. But if your peers change, maybe you’ll think twice.”

Kathryn Pearce, the manager of patient enhancement services at Mercyhealth in Rockford, is also a member of the civility initiative and one of the co-leads of the leadership and youth group in the renewal area of Transform Rockford. As her leadership committee researched potential projects, she noticed every idea had civility at its core.

“Civility can be very, very broad, but its basic principles are so critical in the foundation of culture,” Pearce said. “Culture is created by people. You have to have a set of values and norms that we identify and subscribe to.”

To get the conversation started, 815 Choose Civility will hold its first open meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at Heartland Community Church, 1280 S. Alpine Road, Rockford. The evening will include information tables and a panel discussion featuring Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea; Mark Baldwin, executive editor of the Rockford Register Star; KFACT mentor Shamika Williams; and Dick Kunnert of the Yeshua Catholic Leadership Institute.

Attendees also will be asked to take the 815 Choose Civility Pledge, agreeing to conduct themselves in a way that is honest, respectful, considerate and kind, even toward those with whom they disagree.


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Unity, Pride, Culture: World Series Champion David Ross Visits Rockford

Retired Cubs Catcher David Ross entered the stage at City First Church this Sunday to the Go Cubs Go song, a tune that will never get old for the World Series Champion.

Ross made a special appearance to a packed crowd to talk about his journey and his future.

“The love that you’re receiving from fans and these people taking time out of their day to come and show you that love and appreciation, listen to you tell your stories about one your faith and the team is pretty overwhelming,” Ross said.

Ross touched on the World Series win and how he got the notorious nickname “Grandpa”. All thanks to fellow players Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo creating a famed ‘Instagram’ page that included “Grandpa Rossy” in its title.

“Literally a week later I run out on the field in Arizona, and I’m running out there I here everybody going, ‘Grandpa! Grandpa!’,” he added.

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Education: (WIFR) Rock Valley College teaches about coding through robots

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) — Rock Valley College is hoping to bring more people to their coding programs, including women.

The college knows robotics and learning how to code are great to help children and adults prepare for the future. RVC is introducing Ozobot to those taking the “Learn Coding with Robots” class. They say the workshop encourages people to learn that coding’s not only the future, but it can also make every day life simpler.

The next “Learn Coding with Robots” workshop is Saturday, March 25th. The first two workshops sold out so buy tickets early @

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Economy & Jobs: Rockford Area Job Growth Remains Strong

December employment numbers show that the Rockford region continues to enjoy the strongest job growth in Illinois, with a 1.8% increase in employment compared to the previous December.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports that Rockford added 2700 jobs over the 12 month period ending December, 2016, by far the largest increase in employment on a percentage basis of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas.

As a result, the Rockford region’s fell to 6.5% in December from 7.5% the previous December.  That’s less than half its peak number at the height of the Great Recession, but still higher than all but three other metropolitan areas in Illinois.

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Safety: Rockford Police Hold District 2 Open House

A new facility to fight crime in Rockford is just about open for business.

Rockford Police held an open house at its District Two Headquarters.  The station is off Broadway, right in the center of what police called a hot spot for crime.  It’s all part of the department’s Geo-policing strategy.  But, Chief Dan O’Shea says the way it’s set up, it should bring the community and officers closer together.

“It’s just fantastic having a gymnasium here,” said O’Shea.  “You can have kids come in and play basketball with police officers.  You can do bike rodeos indoors when the weather’s not good outside.”

The new headquarters is set up in the former Turner School building.

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Education: RVC to hold ‘Learn Coding with Robots’ workshop


ROCKFORD — The Rock Valley College computers and information systems department will hold a “Learn Coding with Robots” workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 28 (this Saturday) at the Woodward Technology Center at RVC, 3301 N. Mulford Road.

The workshop is for children and adults who are interested in robots and want to learn how to code. All attendees will take home Ozobot, an educational robot.

Purchase Tickets

  • $85 – Normal rate
  • $65 – Student/educator (K-12 and college) and ALL college/K-12 employees rate
  • 20% off by using code ROBOT
  • SPONSOR a local underprivileged young person to attend by using code HELP  during checkout! (20% off)
  • Parents and grandparents can purchase tickets for their child or grandchild and sit with them during workshop at no extra cost.

For tickets: For information:

News Source:

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Arts & Recreation – A Photographer’s Journey: Wild Things!

Rockford native David C. Olson has produced some of the world’s best wildlife images, at times risking his life in their pursuit. His deep knowledge of, and sensitivity to, animal behavior, wildnerness survival and photography, have earned him clients such as National Geographic and the National Wildlife Federation. Here, he shares some of his favorite images with the readers of Northwest Quarterly Magazine.

 Olson photographed this humpback whale fluke with back-lighted water in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska.

Olson photographed this humpback whale fluke with back-lighted water in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska.

Olson, pictured above, believes his photographs play a vital role in sharing both the beauty and the plight of our wild places and wild creatures. To see more of his images or to learn about future trips he will lead, contact him at or David C. Olson Photography on Facebook.

Olson, pictured above, believes his photographs play a vital role in sharing both the beauty and the plight of our wild places and wild creatures.

To see more of his images or to learn about future trips he will lead, contact him at or David C. Olson Photography on Facebook.

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Education: “Learn Coding with Robots” is this Saturday! Tickets Still Available!

Event Date: Saturday, January 28, 2017; 10am-Noon

Media Contact: Dave Costello, 815-921-4516

Event Contact: Professor Chuck Konkol

Event Website:

The Rock Valley College Computers and Information Systems (CIS) department will host a “Learn Coding with Robots” workshop on Saturday, January 28, 2017, 10 a.m. to noon, in the Woodward Technology Center (WTC) on RVC’s main campus (3301 North Mulford Rd.).

“Learn Coding with Robots” empowers children and adults to create adventures, play games, solve problems, and learn to code anywhere they go.

“This event is for all ages,” says RVC Professor Chuck Konkol, workshop leader and CIS faculty. “I even encourage families to attend. If you or someone you know is interested in coding or robotics then register for this fun, engaging workshop. Oh, and you get to take home a robot to continue the fun!”

All attendees will take home award winning robot, named Ozobot.

Purchase Tickets

  • $85 – Normal rate
  • $65 – Student/educator (K-12 and college) and ALL college/K-12 employees rate
  • 20% off by using code ROBOT
  • SPONSOR a local underprivileged young person to attend by using code HELP  during checkout! (20% off)
  • Parents and grandparents can purchase tickets for their child or grandchild and sit with them during workshop at no extra cost.

Tickets can be purchased at

Please email Professor Konkol with any questions at


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Quality: Rockford Park District director Tim Dimke receives lifetime achievement award

ROCKFORD — Tim Dimke began his career at the Rockford Park District caring for animals at the Children’s Farm and Trailside Centre in 1973.

On Friday, Dimke, who has been executive director since 2006, was honored with the Illinois Park and Recreation Association Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award and the Illinois Association of Park Districts Honored Professional Award.

“I was surprised but very honored to accept these awards on behalf of the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners and our team of staff who are dedicated to helping people enjoy life, all the community partners we collaborate with throughout the year, and for our entire community that is transforming daily,” Dimke said in a news release.

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Communications: TODAY Is Better Business Communication Day! Improve Your Skills With These 3 Easy Tips!

Did you know that January 26th is Better Business Communication Day? This is a great time to take stock and see if you’re using your professional communication skills to the best of your ability. Strong, confident communication is essential in any professional situation and can make or break opportunities in the workplace. Take a look at our three tips to transform your communication skills into your most powerful professional tool: 

  1. Watch Your Rate: Many people talk more quickly when they’re nervous or feel passionately about a topic. Running your words together makes it difficult for your listener to understand your speech, and it can give the impression that you’re not confident in the situation or your message. Try to speak at a relaxed, even pace, especially in situations in which you may feel tense or under pressure.
  2. Keep It Clear: Crisp, clear speech helps your listener understand each and every word of your message and makes you sound more professional and polished. Make sure that you pronounce each letter of every word, especially the sounds at the end of a word. Too often, people drop the last sound of a word, making them appear sloppy and making their speech difficult to understand.
  3. Body Language Counts! Non-verbal cues can be just as powerful as speech when someone is forming their opinion of you. Use strong, confident posture, with your back straight and your shoulders back, and avoid fidgeting. Maintain eye contact with your conversation partner; lowering your eyes or looking away too frequently can signal insecurity or boredom.

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