Education & Caring: Fourth Annual Dining in the Dark

Join us on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at Franchesco’s for the Center for Sight & Hearing’s fourth annual Dining in the Dark.

This event brings awareness to vision loss, with all proceeds to support services for individuals with vision and/or hearing loss.  The Center for Sight & Hearing has served individuals in northwest Illinois who are blind and/or visually impaired for over 50 years.

For more information, contact Tom Lasley at 815-332-6828, or

To Register for this Event Click Here

Education: RVC Student Promotes Internships

You Must Take Advantage of internships!

Brandon White, Rock Valley College student

An internship is where you get your hands dirty and find out what you REALLY have been going to school for. Performing skills for a job is very different than simply learning about it and internships provide invaluable, hands on, learning experiences.

Brandon White, accepted an internship with Fat Wallet and weeks later accepted a full-time position! Some courses that helped build his skill-set were PHP (Web234), Mobile App Development (CIS280), and Network Security (PCT130).

Arts & Recreation: Artists wanted for Rockford event


The Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter is looking for artists to participate in the 13th annual Unforgettable Art event.

This event will feature talented artists who will transform blank canvases to works of art while patrons, sipping cocktails and enjoying hors d’oeuvres, look on. Pieces will then be auctioned off at the end of the event.

Unforgettable Art: An Affair for Alzheimer’s will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, 1601 Parkview Ave, Rockford, IL.

To receive an application,CLICK HERE or contact Jennifer Ratkovic at 815-977-9125 or Applications are due by Friday, February 8, 2016. Artists must submit samples of their work in order for the application to be considered.

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Arts & Recreation: Rockford Park District Reveals Plans For ‘Silent Sports’ Trails

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Experts are calling Rockford the perfect place for it and now dozens of people in our area say they agree, however, paving the way for several new trails could be a bit of a bumpy road.

Activities like mountain biking, hiking and cross country skiing make up something being called, “Silent Sports” and the Rockford Park District says it wants to clear nearly 50 miles of new trails for those silent sports to bring more attention to the Stateline but it’s not going to come cheap.

The park district says it will have to fund-raise more than $2 million dollars to complete the project. About half of that money would cover the cost of building a triple-level slopestyle bike park at alpine hills – X-Games style jumps and obstacles with a bunny hill for beginners. The other half would feature more than 40 miles of leisure opportunities through Atwood Park. According to the trail designer, Rockford’s biggest draw is also its biggest challenge.

“There’s not a lot of trails in this area, ya know, and there’s not a lot of trails even around Chicago so you’ve got a great opportunity here to create a regional draw,” said Progressive Trail Design president, Nathan Woodruff. “Really just the terrain, the topography, is really cool. It’s perfectly suited for awesome single-track.”

Woodruff says the courses would be divided into beginner, intermediate and expert skill levels, similar to ski slopes, so that anyone can enjoy them. He says the project will likely take two years after the money is raised.

The park district is dividing the silent sports project into phases so that we won’t need the full $2.2 million. RPD says the money will have to be mostly by donation and phase one will cost less than $500,000 dollars. Donations are all tax deductible and can be made by contacting the Rockford Park District directly: 815-987-8826.

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Education: Rockford’s Renee Schott named Golden Apple’s 2016 assistant principal

ROCKFORD — Renee Schott of Jefferson High School today was named the 2016 winner of theGolden Apple Foundation Investing in Excellence: Assistant Principal Development Program.

Renee Schott, one of five assistant principals at Jefferson High School, was named the Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford's 2016 winner of the Investing in Excellence: Assistant Principal Development Program on Feb. 1, 2016, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ALAN LEON/ROCKFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT

Renee Schott, one of five assistant principals at Jefferson High School, was named the Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford’s 2016 winner of the Investing in Excellence: Assistant Principal Development Program on Feb. 1, 2016, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ALAN LEON/ROCKFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT

Schott is the school’s assistant principal of curriculum, principal of the school’s Human & Public Services Academy, master scheduler and liaison between the student services and alternative learning departments.

Schott will attend the Harvard University Graduate School of Education‘s New and Aspiring School Leaders Program this summer, courtesy of First Midwest Group. The Rockford development firm will cover the $3,500 cost of tuition, room and board and airfare for Schott’s weeklong experience. Upon her return, Schott will conduct a workshop for area educators.

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Unity, Pride, Culture: Rockford area kicks off Black History Month with events

ROCKFORD (WREX) –Monday kicked off Black History Month and several events are planned in the Rockford area.

The Black History Month Sale and Display is going on all month at the Just Goods Fair Trade Store on 7th Street. The store will be a display of books, posters and art work in honor of Black History Month. Not all of the items on display are for sale.

Other events include a new exhibit at the Ethnic Heritage Museum opening on South Main Street on Feb. 14. and a program to honor black veterans on Feb. 20 and 21 at Veterans Memorial Hall in Downtown Rockford.

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Education: Rockford student wins National Geographic Bee first round

ROCKFORD — Spectrum Progressive School eighth-grader Mike Milles won the school’s National Geographic Bee for the second year in a row Jan. 27.


The competition was the first round in the 28th annual National Geographic Bee. Thousands of schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories are participating in the 2016 Bee. The school champions, including Milles, will take a qualifying test; up to 100 of the top scorers in the test in each state will be eligible to compete in the state bee April 1.

The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state winners to participate in the national championship rounds May 22-25.

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Caring: Jericho Project Celebrates 10 Years of Serving the Homeless in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — For 10 years the homeless and those less fortunate in the Rockford area have been able to rely on one project to continue to provide a meal that they can always count on.

For one volunteer the Jericho Project means more than just a hot meal and good company.

“This place did actually help save my life and this was just a small part of it, Said Craig Schmitt, Project Director for Jericho Project.”

Craig Schmitt works at the Rockford Rescue Mission and serves as the Project Director for the Jericho Project which is celebrating 10 years of encouraging and helping the needy and homeless in the Rockford area.

Emmanuel Lutheran Churchs’ Mission House, also known as the white house, on 5th Street in Rockford, opens it’s doors three times a month by providing a meal some people may not get otherwise.

“It helps people like myself who need to supplement their food supply basically. I’m a very limited income and a place like this is really a blessing to everybody that comes here, Said Rockford Resident, Michael Pencakowski.”

Schmitt knows many of the people who visit the Mission House because he can was once in their shoes.

“I had also come from homelessness and worked myself way back up and this place was integral back when I was out on the street to help me get back up on my feet, Said Craig Schmitt, Project Director for Jericho Project.”

Homeless people like Dan Daly and Ronald Herlien have been coming to the white house for more than ten years.


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Education & Safety: Rockford Students Unite Against Bullying

Some Rockford students gathered Friday to unite against bullying.

Ellis Elementary School students and staff linked arms around the school to form a unity circle.  Students have spent part of the school year learning and practicing anti-bullying behavior and activities.

Staff say it’s all about creating a safe and healthy learning environment for kids.

“Open up those conversations and let the students know they can feel safe at school” says Dr. Martina Smith, Principal at Ellis Elementary.

Students and staff all wore orange during the unity ceremony, which is the national color of bullying awareness.

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