Image Map

Monthly Archives: February 2017

  • -

Education: Learn Coding with Robots at RVC


The Rock Valley College Computers and Information Systems (CIS) department will host a “Learn Coding with Robots” workshop on Saturday, March 25, 2017, 10 a.m. to noon, in the Woodward Technology Center (WTC) on RVC’s main campus (3301 North Mulford Rd.).

Mayor Larry Morrissey and his daughter at recent “Learn Coding with Robots” workshop!

“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.

Tickets to participate in the workshop are $75 plus online ordering fees. Parents and grandparents can purchase a 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


  • -

Leadership & Youth: Rockford Christian Life students share stories with seniors

Some high school students in the Stateline spent the day sharing and hearing stories from seniors at a local nursing homes.

Rockford Christian Life students were at Wesley Willows and Peterson Meadows Friday to hang out, craft and scrapbook. Students heard stories about the seniors’ lives when they were teenagers and talked about their experience as being a teen now.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for both the students and the residents to share their life stories and talk about what they do for fun and travels that they’ve taken,” Director at Peterson Meadows Melissa Wright said.

The students also learned about career opportunities in senior living.

News Source:

  • -

Safety: A Look at Rockford Police Department’s SCOPE Team

ROCKFORD – The Rockford Police Department SCOPE team has been busier than ever, using specialized tactics to take down dangerous suspects.

In fact,  they’ve been behind several arrests in recent weeks.

It’s a police unit that focuses on very specific crimes.

“SCOPE stands for specialized community oriented police enforcement.”

Lieutenant Eric Bruno from the Rockford Police Department tells us the SCOPE team is the enforcement arm of the investigative services bureau.

And they’ve been busy arresting offenders and fighting crime.

“They are responsible for some of the worst of the worst that we have in the city,” said Lt. Bruno. “Specifically, they deal with a lot of the gun violence, narcotics as well.”

Made up of two teams, with a total of 11 officers, they’re currently housed in District 1.

The unit handles multiple investigations at a time.

Working overnight hours, in plainclothes and unmarked cars, they help relieve the burden on regular patrol units.

“They’re really a group of highly trained officers and we count of them for a lot of different functions within the police department,” said Lt. Bruno.

The unit was originally created to not have to answer service calls.

They can also be enterprising; gathering intel and teaming up with other stateline agencies to bust criminals.

Something it’s creator thought the city needed.

“We were having multiple shootings, the number of murders increased dramatically,” said Dominic Iasparro, a former Deputy Chief for Rockford Police and and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.  “And the amount of crack cocaine that was available on the street just exploded.1993 was probably one of the most violent years in the city’s history. And as a result of that we came up with different options for adding additional manpower to the city.”

Although it’s gone through a couple name changes since it was first formed in 1994, the goal is still the same.

They’re working hard to reduce violent crime and make the city safer.

“I’d consider it a great success,” said Iasparro. “They make a large number of arrests, there’s a large number of people that went to the penitentiary, very violent offenders that went to the penitentiary based off of work that they did. And it’s growing.”

Lt. Bruno said it’s not uncommon for the SCOPE team to seize a gun every single day they work.

The unit works seven days a week, and will soon be moving to their new headquarters at the Justice Center downtown.

  • -

Unity, Pride, Culture: The Rich History Behind Rockford’s First African American Church

ROCKFORD –     Peter Blakely was born a slave in South Carolina who eventually escaped and came to Rockford with his wife and mother in law in 1861. Thirty years later — he would make Rockford history.

Laura Furman, Midway Village Museum Curator says,”In 1891 Peter Blakely invited a group of African American families locally to come to his mother in law’s home on South Main Street and have the first meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal Church which became Allen Chapel.”

As word of the new church spread, more people started attending.

“In 1892 they moved to a house at Winnebago and Elm street. And ultimately then in 1917 built the brick church that was there for many, many years.”,says Furman.

The chapel is named after Richard Allen, a former slave who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1794, the first independent black denomination in the country.

Reverend Charlene Bulls-Mills, Pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church says, “The reason you see anvils a lot around the church is because Richard Allen the founder, organized the AME Church in a blacksmith shop.”

From those humble beginnings, the church grew — including here in Rockford.

In 2006, Allen Chapel moved from downtown to their current location on Rural Street where the church continues with a vibrant congregation.

Reverend Bulls-Mills says, “It’s the every day church for everyday people is the church’s motto and that motto really resonates with me because it says that people from every walk of life are welcome.”

  • -

Candid emotions surface in event on race in Rockford

Updated Tuesday February 21, 2017 at 11:58 pm

  • -

Caring: Rockford New Car Dealers Association to announce $10K donation recipient

ROCKFORD — The Rockford New Car Dealers Association will present a $10,000 donation to a Rockford-area charity at 2 p.m. Feb. 23 in the center court of CherryVale Mall, Suite 5, 7200 Harrison Ave.

The charity donation was part of the Spring Auto Show held Feb. 14-19 at CherryVale, which offered customers the opportunity to submit entries for their favorite local charity to receive the donation.

For information: 815-332-3000.

News Source:

  • -

Transform Rockford Announces New Leadership

Transform Rockford has announced the addition of two new Steering Committee members. Christie Jarrett, Vice President of Human Resources & Marketing for Stenstrom Companies, Rockford IL and Nathan Boelkins, Vice President UTC Aerospace Systems, Rockford IL, have joined the Steering Committee. The organization also announces the officers of the Steering Committee. Bobbie Holzwarth will serve as Chair; Dave Schertz, Vice Chair; Rev. Ken Board, Treasurer and Jeff Glass as Secretary.

New Steering Committee members:

Christie Jarrett, Stenstrom Companies

Nate Boelkins, UTC Aerospace Systems


Chair: Bobbie Holzwarth, Holmstrom Kennedy Law

Vice-Chair: Dave Schertz, OSF St. Anthony

Treasurer: Rev. Ken Board, Pilgrim Baptist Church

Secretary: Jeff Glass, Smith Ombudsman

“Through our shared values, broad engagement and focus on our community vision we are changing the culture of our region. We are realizing a sense of hope for the future, and the optimism and conviction that we will become a top 25 community by 2025.” stated Bobbie Holzworth.

  • 1

Save the Date: 815 Choose Civility Forum with Rev. Jeffrey Brown

815 Choose Civility Forum with Rev. Jeffrey Brown 

Thursday Mar. 2nd 2017

6:00 pm

Crusader Community Health  

1200 West State St, Rockford IL 61102


  • -

Register – Community Conversation Part II: Race in the Rock River Valley

Community Conversation

Part II

Topic: Race in the Rock River Valley

Tuesday, Feb. 21st, 2017

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Pilgrim Baptist Church

1703 South Central Ave, Rockford, IL 61102

Click Here to Register


  • -

Caring: National Donor Day hits home for Rockford heart recipient

ROCKFORD — Rick Olson carries a laminated photo of a woman he has never met in his wallet. His wife of nearly 52 years doesn’t mind because in his chest Olson carries that young woman’s heart.

Valentine’s Day is also National Donor Day, but Olson is happy to tell the story of his new heart any day of the year.

Olson, 70, of Rockford was walking his dog in November 2011 when a major heart attack left him on the sidewalk, and the left side of his heart 90 percent idle. Originally under the impression it was just a few bruises, a week later he was transported to UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, and prepped for surgery.

Read more