Unity, Pride, Culture: ROCKFORD CITY MARKET

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Epic Electric – Classic Rock cover band
Acoustic Performer: Timerpoint


Boys & Girls Club of Rockford – Theater Club

Tinkering Around Town and Guilford Robotics Team – Robotics provides kids the opportunity to design, build, program and tweak robots that are used in competition. Stop by the Guilford Robo-Vikings activity booth to learn more about the Robotics program, to learn about this year’s challenge, to see the robot in person, and even to take it for a spin!


Rockford Road Runners


317 Studio & Gallery – Therese Rowinski (Studio Director, 317 Studio & Gallery) acrylic paintings and Greg Whitson (Photographer). 317 Studio & Gallery has regular gallery events such as Artists at Work on first Fridays, ArtScene and numerous studio classes.

Economy & Jobs: Rockford Has 2nd Highest Job Growth in Illinois

The Rockford metropolitan area has seen strong job growth over the past year according to new data released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

The region added 3,300 jobs between April of last year and this year according to IDES, a 2.2% increase.  Only the Lake-Kenosha Counties metro area added jobs at a higher rate (3.1%).

Read more http://www.mystateline.com/news/rockford-2nd-highest-job-growth-in-il

Education: Teachers, staff spend decades at Cathedral of St. Peter School in Rockford

“We learn a lot about what’s going on in each other’s lives through that. And it sets the tone for our school day. It’s really nice — and you don’t want to be late,” said Cindy Buffo.

Buffo has taught art for 29 years at the Cathedral of St. Peter School, more commonly called St. Peter School. She loves working there, and that sentiment is shared by many — if not all — of the 17 staff members. Some teachers at the school are now educating the fourth generation of students from the same family.

“It’s such a family school,” Buffo said. “And we have the best kids in the city.”

Principal James Burns echoed the sense of community at the small school on the top of the Church Street hill not far from downtown Rockford. St. Peter School is across the street from the Cathedral of St. Peter and offers preschool through eighth-grade faith-based education.

“The teachers get along well with each other, and the parents support them so much that this is where they want to be,” Burns said.

Read more http://www.rrstar.com/article/20160524/SPECIAL/160529991?template=printart

Safety: Combatting Crime in Rockford – Community Forum Hosted by Congressman Adam Kinzinger

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This forum is open to the public and will focus on the work our local law enforcement is doing to combat crime in the region.  The Congressman will be joined by special guests from the FBI, ATF, DEA, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, Transform Rockford, and newly appointed Rockford Chief of Police Daniel O’Shea.  This event will give residents an opportunity to meet with those who work every day to keep them safe and to discuss the different strategies being used to reduce crime in and around Rockford.

See Calendar


Public Invited: Community Conversation with Sammy Rangal; Treating the Whole Person,May 24th, 7pm


 Sammy Rangal

Community Conversation

Sammy Rangal
Successful Reentry Program
Treating the Whole Person

Presented with the City of Rockford

This forum we will have a presentation and dialogue with Sammy Rangal who has been involved with the very successful reentry program at Racine Vocational Ministries. Sammy has a very unique and passionate perspective in this area.Please join us and learn about this recognized best practice.

Tuesday May 24, 2016
7:00 PM – 8:15 PM
Memorial Hall
211 N. Main Street
Rockford IL 61101

Visit www.transformrockford.org




RSVP: Community Conversation, evening of June 1st with author of For the Love of Cities, Peter Kageyama

The “loveability” of a city as a factor in its success is greatly underappreciated

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Peter Kageyama is the author of For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places and the follow up, Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places.  Planetizen recognized For the Love of Cities as a Top 10 Book in 2012 in urban planning, design and development. Peter is the former President of Creative Tampa Bay, a grassroots community change organization and the co-founder of the Creative Cities Summit, an interdisciplinary conference that brings citizens and practitioners together around the big idea of ‘the city.’

Location: Prairie Street Brewhouse
Time: 5pm-8:30pm
RSVP: Click here

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Unity: Faith community should affirm shared values of Transform Rockford

On Sunday May 8, Father David Beauvais preached at Zion Lutheran Church. I had invited him a few months ago and the focus was about unity. Father Beauvais is well-known in the community for his service in the Roman Catholic Church and with interfaith dialogue. He has affirmed the Transform Rockford value of unity and embodies it in our community.

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

As the co-lead on the Transform Rockford Clergy Unity Team, I’m grateful for the many faith leaders who have affirmed the values of Transform Rockford. We’ve encouraged faith leaders to be engaged in the process. Now we are asking faith communities to affirm these values and engage more intentionally in this journey.

The Transform Rockford Values have been affirmed so far by only 15 faith communities, including: Baha’i Faith; Banner of Truth International Church; Bridge Ministries, Caledonia Church, Cherry Valley United Methodist Church, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Holy Family, Living Word Tabernacle Church, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church, St. Paul Church of God in Christ, St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Westside Church of God in Christ and Zion Lutheran Church.


Read more http://www.rrstar.com/article/20160514/OPINION/160519719?template=printart

Education: Rockford University’s president reflects on his career before retirement


More than 300 students received their diplomas from Rockford University this weekend. The day was made even more memorable thanks to their guest speaker, the U.S. Surgeon General.

Students aren’t the only ones who are saying farewell to their school.  Rockford University is saying goodbye to its president Dr. Robert Head. Head is retiring after eight years as president. He says the move leaves him with mixed emotions.

“Bittersweet. I have enjoyed my career in higher education helping students to fulfill their dreams.”

Looking back on his career, Dr. Head knows what he’ll remember most.

“My reward truly is in the accomplishments of our graduates.”

Dr.. Head and RU students welcomed a high-ranking keynote speaker at the 162nd commencement, the U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek Murthy.


Read more http://www.wrex.com/story/31979177/2016/05/16/rockford-universitys-president-reflects-on-his-career-before-retirement

Economy & Jobs: Rockford partners with Zion West Neighborhood Association to create new jobs


A community team-up is making steps to help lives and lawns in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood.


Rockford’s Community Economic Department, the Zion West Neighborhood Association, the West Gateway Coalition and Rockford Corridor Improvement coordinated together on a first ever opportunity to better maintain abandoned residential lots in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood.

This partnership has led to three new jobs in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood. The workers are in charge of mowing 28 vacant lots. Jessie Jones is one of those employees and lives in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood. He is happy to have the opportunity to work.

“We have so many bad things to say about each other but today we had a positive thought,” Jessie said, “Today was a blessed day.”

Jessie and and another young man from the neighborhood, Tyrie Jones, do not travel far for their new jobs.

“I just have to walk to work basically,” Tyrie said. “I am good with transportation all I need are my feet.”

The men are employed through Zion West Enterprises, a small business the city chose to work with on the mowing project instead of typical lawn care contractors. The president of Zion West is Pastor Marvin Hightower. He says it is a blessing they get to supply work to some of their neighbors.

“It is a great opportunity for them and we are grateful to give this opportunity,” Hightower said.

The contract with Zion West Neighborhood Association will commence with the mowing of 28 lots within their immediate neighborhood. As this group establishes themselves and the program grows it will have the opportunity to expand to more than 100 lots in larger neighborhoods.

Rockford’s Community and Economic Development Director, Todd Cagnoni, says that the city will pay $25 a mow and is committed to pay $10,000 for the lots in 2016.

“The city is utilizing our funding which we would otherwise would spend on a greater mowing partnership,” Cagnoni said. “But instead we are hiring individuals from the neighborhood to put them to work.”

“We can change a lot with this program. We can put people back into those vacant homes and we can make our neighborhood beautiful again,” Jessie said.

Each new employee went through a job interview and training. If these employees ever cover more lots Rockford says it has the ability to pay up to $45,000 on this project down the road.

“The sense of pride this builds in the neighborhood is going to be great and we are just looking for this to spread and grow,” Pastor Hightower said.

“It is a beautiful thing and this is the happiest day of my life,” Jessie said.

Even though mowing is seasonal work Pastor Hightower is looking for a way to make these men full-time employees in the future.

News Source: http://www.wrex.com/story/31987529/2016/05/16/rockford-partners-with-zion-west-neighborhood-association-to-create-3-new-jobs

Quality: Five shining moments from the Special Olympics in Machesney Park

MACHESNEY PARK — Each year, hundreds of athletes with intellectual and physical disabilities gather at Harlem High School for the Special Olympics. They compete for gold medals in soccer and track and field.

The event is hosted by Special Olympics Illinois Area 1, which is comprised of Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, Ogle, Whiteside, Lee and De Kalb counties. There is a parade, opening ceremonies and, of course, athletic competitions.

More than 600 Special Olympians — 60 from Rockford — participated in track and field today ; 240 took part in soccer. Some 600 volunteers and 300 coaches also took part. Following are five memorable moments from a memorable event.

Read more http://m.rrstar.com/news/20160507/five-shining-moments-from-special-olympics-in-machesney-park?template=printart