Healthy Lifestyles: Healthy Rockford: Staying On Track During Thanksgiving

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Thanksgiving is just a few days away and local trainers want us to know holidays are no excuse to overeat.

While it can be hard with all the parties and foods at work, experts at FitMe Wellness say we shouldn’t wait until New Years to make a resolution to watch what we eat. If we know we have an event coming up, we’re told to put it on the calendar and prepare by working out a little more and becoming more active and cut back on what we eat the rest of the week.

This is all part of the plan so we can enjoy ourselves within limits.

“A lot of times we truly don’t understand how much we are putting into our bodies. For example, the dip that we love we would have to walk an hour and a half to burn that off and we don’t do that. We eat food in addition to that,” says Karla Johnson, FitMe Wellness Coach.

For more information about FitMe Wellness, please click here

News Source:

Education: The “Hour of Code” is Coming to RVC! RSVP Today!

The “Hour of Code” is for everyone!

The CIS Division of Rock Valley College is celebrating National Computer Science Week, December 7-13, by joining many other institutions across the US and hosting an “Hour of Code” event on December 12th 8am-12:30pm at Rock Valley College in the Woodward Technology Center, Room 152.
Dec 12, 2015 @ 8am-12:30pm
Rock Valley College Main Campus
Woodward Technology Center, Room 152

Hour of Code.

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.

Space is limited. RSVP today! See

Four, one-hour tutorials will be offered & one online tutorial. No experience needed.

8:00am       LightBot. Explains the concept of “Coding” (Ages 5-104)
9:10am        Create “Flappy Birds” app and save on your phone when finished (Ages 5-104)
10:20am     Build “My Web Browser” iPhone app using SWIFT  (Ages 10 -104)
11:30am      Build “I have a Dream!” Android app using App Inventor (Ages 10 -104)
Online         Choose from multiple Tutorials (email will follow with details)

  • Click HERE for more details (Videos from Will.I.Am & Presidemt Obama)
  • Click HERE to download event poster

If you have any questions about the event, please e-mail Professor Chuck Konkol at

News Source:

Economy & Jobs; Leadership: Rockford couple get an investment bite on ‘Shark Tank’

ROCKFORD — Only when they were halfway out of the meeting room on “Shark Tank” did things finally start looking up for Tracie and Glen Burress.

Tracie and Glen Burress hold hands while watching themselves present sockTABS on ABC's Shark Tank on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Giovanni's in Rockford. The couple won $50,000 on the show with 30 percent ownership of their venture going to Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU. SUNNY STRADER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM

Tracie and Glen Burress hold hands while watching themselves present sockTABS on ABC’s Shark Tank on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Giovanni’s in Rockford. The couple won $50,000 on the show with 30 percent ownership of their venture going to Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU. SUNNY STRADER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM

The Rockford couple pitched their SockTabs to a panel of celebrity entrepreneurs during Friday’s episode of the popular ABC reality show. Each of the five “sharks” shot down the Burresses’ offer: a $50,000 investment in exchange for 20 percent ownership in their company.

Defeated, the couple started to walk out of the room, but they were stopped by Daymond John, one of the investors and CEO of the FUBU apparel line. John offered to invest $50,000 in SockTABS in exchange for 30 percent of ownership.

A deal was sealed.

Read more…

Unity, Pride, Culture: Rockford religious leaders hold a vigil for victims of the Paris attacks


Praying for the lives lost, November 22, Muslim leaders of Rockford held a vigil for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.
Local religious leaders joined together to show people this type of activity is unacceptable across all religions.

The crowd took 30 seconds of silence to honor the victims of the November 13 attacks that killed more than 100 people in Paris.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 6.13.26 AM

Arshad Shaikh, President of the Muslim Association of Greater Rockford, stated, “I felt there was a unification of the hearts. I think it was very much a feeling of harmony in the room and understanding and sorrow.”

The Muslim Association of Greater Rockford put this vigil together. Organizers wanted to mourn lives lost while also having an important discussion about the religion they practice– Islam.

Islamic state terrorists are responsible for what happened in Paris. Local Muslims say that group is not a representation of their beliefs.

Shaikh explained, “The second largest religion in the world being ostracized in Western societies because an acronym has the word Islamic in it; it is very personal.”

Jane Eesley, Senior Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, added, “The terror actions of ISIS do not represent the main stream Islam and people of good faith who are not Muslim need to stand with Muslims in this time so Muslims do not become victims of discrimination.”

Neighboring churches representing other denominations filled the mosque. They showed their support to differentiate Muslims from ISIS. They say it takes strength to stand up for what’s right.

“Some people who don’t know any Muslims might be suspicious when they hear a Muslim say no that’s not really us but it is important for Christians to stand with religious minorities and to make it clear,” Eesley explains, “So I am committed whenever I hear people do Muslim bashing I won’t put up with it. I just won’t.”

Supporters hope this commitment to change helps ease the way people view any religious group.

Judy Schultz, Member of Christ United Methodist Church, says, “I think that is the message we are all together wanting peace and justice and be able to live in harmony together.”

The religious organizations in Rockford plan on having more interfaith talks throughout the year explaining it helps break down barriers put up by fear.

News Source:

Inclusion: You’re invited to a Community Informational Meeting

From RHA website

In keeping with the tenor and tone of this week’s Affordable Housing News Round Table discussions we invite you to a moderated informational community meeting about RHA Housing Plans including the South Newtowne proposal. This meeting will provide a mutually respectful exchange of information and answers to questions that have been presented.

Last week we heard many calls for more information, such as:
Where does RHA get its direction from?
How did RHA decide on its Housing plan?
How did the RHA and Gorman relationship start?
How will 1100 households be moved?

RHA as the responsible agency for Rockford’s public housing “system” will discuss history and redevelopment planning. Gorman as RHA’s contract developer and housing implementation partner will address housing components.

Saturday, November 21, 2015
9:00 am to 11:15 am
Heartland Community Church

1280 South Alpine Road

See more at:

Economy & Jobs: 1,500 local construction workers to build MercyRockford hospital

ROCKFORD — The 450,803-square-foot hospital MercyRockford Health System was given permission to build will be erected by about 1,500 construction workers, virtually all from the immediate area.

“It has been a difficult five or six years for the construction industry and for the Rockford region economically,” Brad Long, president of the Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, told the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board on Tuesday before the board voted on the MercyRockford plan.

“The news of the Mercy-Rockford Memorial Hospital merger (in January) and the construction of a $400 million campus gives hope to our members and our community that there is potential for a better future,” Long told the review board.

The board received oral and written testimony from supporters and opponents, then voted unanimously to allow construction of a 188-bed, $407.2 million hospital and a $68.6 million medical office building at the junction of Interstate 90 and East Riverside Boulevard. The 188-bed hospital will specialize in serving women and children.

In recent months, local construction had picked up with two projects: Construction workers have finished building Rock Valley College’s Aviation Career Education Center at Chicago Rockford International Airport, and they’re 60 percent done with work on the $40 million AAR Corp. jet maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the airport, Long said.

Among the trades that will be involved in the hospital project: electricians, carpenters, painters, glaziers, cement masons, plasterers, operating engineers, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, bricklayers and roofers, Long said Wednesday.

A few niche specialty workers might need to come from the Chicago area.

Long said it’s too soon to estimate how many people in each trade group might be on the job.

“Our design team is excited to begin the detailed design process,” Javon Bea, MercyRockford president/CEO, said Wednesday in an email.

A few details about the project: The hospital will consist of two seven-floor towers. All the rooms for patients will be private and will accommodate people with disabilities.

The hospital will contain 84 medical-surgical beds, 20 beds for obstetrics patients, 12 for children, 18 for adult intensive care, eight for pediatric intensive care and 46 for neonatal intensive care.

Also to be housed in the hospital, which will provide Level 1 trauma care: 10 emergency department stations, six convenient-care stations, 10 operating rooms, 14 diagnostic imaging rooms, and other administrative and clinic support space for physical therapy and labs.

“The site development and facilities design will incorporate the most integrated technology, seamless delivery of patient care and state-of-the-art private patient rooms throughout the hospital for babies, children and women,” Bea said.

The 81,498-square-foot medical office building will be five stories tall and provide physician offices, diagnostic services and administrative support.

Construction will begin early next year and could take 2½ to three years to complete.

The facilities at the North Rockton Avenue campus of Rockford Memorial Hospital will be updated as programs become shared across the two sites. All rooms will become private as well. The emergency department and pre- and post-operative patient care are among the areas that will be updated.

Georgette Braun: 815-987-1331;; @GeorgetteBraun

Apprentices needed

Apprentices for various trades are being sought, and up to a quarter of the workers to be employed on the new hospital project could be apprentices.

Brad Long, president of the Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, said apprentices typically start at $15 to $17 an hour; by the time their four- to five-year apprenticeships are completed, they’re earning $25 to $38 an hour as journeymen. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit

News Source:

Unity, Pride, Culture: Stroll On State ~ Saturday, Nov 28th


Merry and Bright: a downtown holiday” returns on November 28, 2015 with Stroll on State! Stroll on State is a spectacular holiday event to attend with your family and friends to get you in the holiday spirit. There are plenty of activities to do, decorations to see, and delicious food to eat at this event to celebrate the holiday season downtown.

When: Saturday, November 28, 2015
Time: 3 – 9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Rockford along East State Street
Cost: Free!

More information…

Leadership & Youth; Caring – Rockford Christian students rally around classmate


Rockford Christian students running a race this weekend aren’t just doing it to get exercise.  They’re showing a classmate support.

The fourth and fifth graders have been training on Wednesdays for the Jingle Bell Run.

They started training runs at half a mile.  Gradually, they’re ready to take on a full 5K this Saturday.

The students doing the race are raising money for the Arthritis Foundation.

A nonprofit that helps one of their classmates, named Connor.

“It helps my sickness,” said Connor Kossman.  “I have juvenile arthritis.  This raises money for that, and I just love to run.”

Connor is running in the Jingle Bell Run Saturday.

He personally raised $3,000 for the cause as well.

News Source:

Economy & Jobs: New Mercy Rockford hospital could spur major economic growth


After months of debate Mercy Rockford can now fulfill its tag line, “one hospital, two campuses.”

“We are just really excited for the Rockford community,” said Mercy Rockford President and CEO Javon Bea.

The Health Facilities and Services review board gave the green light Tuesday for Mercy Rockford to start building a second hospital campus on the east side of the city near I 90 and East Riverside Boulevard.

“Now we have got to plan it, and we have got to design, and we need to finance, and build it and move into it,” Bea said.

Mercy Rockford is already focusing on development beyond just the hospital.

Its carved out 20 acres on the campus for retail development and a hotel.

Read more…