Families & Education: Rockford schools celebrate dads, kids with donuts and gratitude

ROCKFORD — Longtime educator Karen Portis had hoped that Friday morning’s Dads Bring Your Student to School Day would entice some new West Middle School fathers to walk into the building for the first time and get involved.

Jayden Dieter and stepfather Joshua Good are among the first to arrive  Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at Dads Bring Your Students to School at West Middle School. Dads and their kids were treated to free doughnuts, coffee and juice. SUNNY STRADER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM

Jayden Dieter and stepfather Joshua Good are among the first to arrive Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at Dads Bring Your Students to School at West Middle School. Dads and their kids were treated to free doughnuts, coffee and juice. SUNNY STRADER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM

As the 36-year teacher and administrator gazed out at the standing-room-only crowd, her heart was warmed beyond expectations.

“I see some of you dads who used to be my students here with your own children,” a thrilled Portis said. “It fills my heart.”

Rockford School District middle schools opened their doors to dads as part of an annual tradition aimed at increasing parental involvement, especially among fathers and father-figures. Dads are served doughnuts, coffee and juice and asked to sign a pledge to volunteer two hours at the school in the coming year. They’re given a variety of options, from helping oversee lunch or breakfast to monitoring halls to selling concessions at games.

Read More…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20151002/NEWS/151009864?template=printart

Responsibility: Metals and Electronics Drive

Volunteers Needed for 2-3 hours spent outside this Saturday Oct 3: Metals and Electronics Drive from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. in the south parking lot of Machesney Town Center, 8750 North Second Street, Machesney Park, for the semi-annual recycling event of all things metal or electronic, except TV’s.

Greet drivers, direct traffic or help unload vehicles (of small to mid-weight items), from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Greeters, only, still needed in morning.

Register online or contact Coordinator Martha Byrnes at Martha@knib.org or 815-637-1343. More info at www.knib.org . Weather forecast is fabulous.

This collection prevents poisoning groundwater with heavy metals and neuro-toxins and helps the community reduce landfill waste. Be a part of a clean, green community and meet some great people, too!

Some volunteer slots also open at Saturday October 10th for the Clothing and Textiles collection at all area Schnuck’s store lots. www.knib.org

Rockford City Market expects 100,000th visitor on Frid

ROCKFORD — Rockford City Market will conclude its season on Friday after again posting a record number of patrons.

Nearly 98,500 people have attended the weekly market staged at the intersection of Water and Market streets in downtown Rockford. That’s a 31 percent increase over last year’s previous record-breaking attendance. Overall attendance is expected to crack 100,000 on Friday, and Rockford City Market will hand out a prize to visitor number 100,000. The market has grown each year since its June 2010 debut.

Read More…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20150930/NEWS/150939962

Unity, Pride, Culture: Rockford City Market ready to wrap up record-breaking year

Rockford City Market is ready to wrap up the season with record breaking attendance. More than 100,000 visitors are expected to pass through the gates by the end of the day Friday, October 2.

It meant more than just success for the market. It also helped at least one business launch this year.

Jodi May says she never intended to start a business at Rockford City Market.

“Sugar Britches came about kind of backwards really,” May says.

The old-fashioned candy maker wanted to open a store front in Rockton then maybe branch out to events. But when May couldn’t find a place to lease she decided to come to city market, where 13 News met her earlier this year. She demonstrated how to wrap caramels.

May found so much success at the market she was able to sign a lease for a candy shop that she plans to open in December.

“There’s a great buzz around city market so I thought selling my candy there would be an excellent opportunity to get the word out to a huge amount of people,” May says.

May picked a great year to start at the market. With no rain-outs and warm weather through the fall, city market has brought in huge crowds.

“It’s been a whirlwind, we’ve had so many people. So many new vendors and new patrons, it’s been great. We are up almost 30 percent in our visitors,” says Cathy McDermott, manager of Rockford City Market.

While things are looking good at the market next door there are a few issues with the future Indoor City Market. The state’s budget impasse is holding up some of the money that will be used to rehab the building. But work has not stopped.

“Hopefully in 30 to 60 days we are going to be able to announce an anchor tenant and some other financing that we have been working on and it’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” McDermott says.

But McDermott says plans are still on track to go from an outdoor city market right into an indoor market in 2016. But they just need to finish this year’s city market first.

13 News will be live at the last city market this Friday. Organizers will give a prize to the 100,000th visitor.

News Source: http://www.wrex.com/story/30156899/2015/09/30/rockford-city-market-ready-to-wrap-up-record-breaking-year

Infrastructure: Rockford Airport day-flights take off with passengers

John and Bonnie Coffin are new retirees and they are not wasting their newly-found down time.

“We can just pick up and do whatever we want so it’s kind of cool,” said RFD passenger John Coffin.

They are two of 50 passengers Tuesday that boarded Rockford airport’s first day-flight in years.

The destination was Cincinnati where the cubs are taking on the Reds.

It’s one of four day trips the airport has added in just the past couple of weeks.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for seniors and for those looking for the excitement without having to take a long car ride,” said Rockford Airport Authority Economic Development Manager Jeff Polsean. “Enjoy the event and then get back on the bus, back at the airport and your back in the same night.”

The cost to Cincinnati was 175 dollars and includes round trip airfare, transportation to and from the stadium and tickets to the game.

“We just always knew and thought in our minds that this would be a successful event that this community would embrace,” Polsean said.

In fact, only a few hours after announcing the first day-flight to the public, it sold out. Since then, the airport has added another Cubs game to Cincinnati and two vacation packages to Niagara Falls. They also sold out in a matter of hours.

And while the airport is not giving any specifics on where they will be flying to next, passengers have some ideas.

“St. Louis, Nashville, maybe some Blackhawks games, Bulls games,” said RFD passenger Jeff Clark.

“Vegas would be good. You could probably do a Vegas trip. Maybe a Bears game, I think people would definitely go to a bears game. I know we would,” Coffin said.

The airport said it’s open to just about anything. Of course, that’s as long as passengers keep buying tickets.

If you are interested in finding out about upcoming day trips click here.

News Source: http://www.wrex.com/story/30146046/2015/09/29/rockford-airport-day-flights-take-off-with-passengers

Education: Rock Valley College hosting Manufacturing Open House

Media Contact: Dave Costello, 815-921-4516

Event Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015

Event Contact: James Castree, (815) 921-4274

Rock Valley College is hosting a Manufacturing Open House on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at the Stenstrom Center for Career Education (4151 Samuelson Rd., Rockford).

The open house will provide the opportunity to learn more about the manufacturing program options offered at RVC. There will also be tours of the college’s state-of-the-art facilities and RVC’s knowledgeable faculty from these in-demand areas will be on hand to talk more about the programs and how they can prepare students for a rewarding career. Attendees will also hear about the impact manufacturing has on our region and will learn about the career opportunities available in Rockford’s manufacturing industry.

In addition to the evening open house at RVC’s Stenstrom Center, 30 factories are hosting 450 students from the region for tours of their facilities on the morning of October 1.

Please RSVP to James Castree, Coordinator of New Student Enrollment at RVC, at     J.Castree@RockValleyCollege.edu or (815) 921-4274.

Quality: Rockford Brewing Co. & Dockside Taproom Serve Up Sporty Fun

A new cool, casual sports bar has arrived at Prairie Street Brewhouse, and it’s just steps away from delicious dockside dining.


A highly anticipated addition to Prairie Street Brewhouse, 200 Prairie St., Rockford, has arrived.

The Rockford Brewing Co. restaurant now has a new sports bar called Dockside Taproom that serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. The cool, casual bar with 24 taps is located right next to the restaurant’s arcade area, and is also just steps away from the restaurant’s riverside dock, making this new hangout a relaxing place for people to unwind, indoors or out.

“For the most part, I think people like to have a choice of a business-casual restaurant upstairs, or go down to a sports bar and relax a little bit,” says Chris Manuel, vice president and co-owner of Rockford Brewing Co. “You can watch a game, throw some darts, be a kid again and play some pinball, or sit along the banks of the Rock River, which I don’t think has ever happened before in Rockford. It’s unique.”

Opening a sports bar was something Manuel always wanted to do with his co-founders, Reed Sjostrom and Dustin Koch, but Manuel credits the Koch family for coming up with the idea.

“They thought a sports bar would be a great place for all to enjoy,” Manuel says. “Now people are able to have a nice, elegant meal upstairs, go down to the sports bar and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and top it all off with a nightcap on the dock underneath the stars. It’s the best of all worlds in one building.”

Read more…http://oldnorthwestterritory.northwestquarterly.com/2015/08/serving-up-sporty-fun-and-dockside-dining/

Unity, Pride, Culture: Bergstrom Inc.: An International Competitor with Rockford Roots

Assemblers like Jose Gonzalez use electrical and mechanical prints to assemble some components, such as this control board for a mining-grade climate system. (Chris Linden photo)

Assemblers like Jose Gonzalez use electrical and mechanical prints to assemble some components, such as this control board for a mining-grade climate system. (Chris Linden photo)

It’s hard to believe today, but there was a time when automobiles had no air conditioning and heaters were a luxurious add-on. Auto technologies have come a long way, since the 1940s, and one Rockford company has remained at the forefront of innovation.

For 65 years, Bergstrom Inc. has built climate-control systems for commercial vehicle markets around the world. It maintains plants in eight countries and serves big-name customers like Caterpillar, John Deere and Peterbilt.

Take a drive on any given highway, in any corner of the world, and you’re likely to pass a driver being heated or cooled by a Bergstrom unit: a trucker in a big rig, farmers plowing fields, earthmovers sculpting roads, school bus drivers transporting kids.

Supplying global production is big business in the Rockford area, where nearly one-fifth of all jobs are related to manufacturing, and where local production accounted for nearly $2.5 billion in exports during 2015, according to the federal International Trade Administration. Across Illinois, manufacturers exported some $68 billion in goods during 2014.

Despite its international reach, Bergstrom remains firmly headquartered in the Rockford region. Not only is the company close to major customers and transportation routes, but it’s invested heavily in the success of its employees and hometown.

“My father knew very well that to stay in business, Bergstrom had to supply state-of-the-art, competitively priced, quality products to its customer base, says company chairman David Rydell, whose late father, Elvin Rydell, was an early partner. “He also felt it very important to treat its team members with respect while providing competitive wages and benefits, a pleasant and safe place to work, and adequate training. In addition, he said it was important to treat its supply base fairly, and also to be a good corporate citizen. My father knew very well that this could only happen if the company operated at a decent profit, so that it could share and still have funds to reinvest.”

Read more…http://oldnorthwestterritory.northwestquarterly.com/2015/08/bergstrom-inc-an-international-competitor-with-rockford-roots/

Health: 2 physician groups merge with OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford

ROCKFORD — Two surgical groups that have served Rockford for decades have merged under OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

The Rockford Surgical Service, founded in 1950, and Perryville Surgical Associates, which started in 1992, have joined OSF Medical Group‘s team of 650-plus physicians and advanced practitioners. For the two private practices, merging with OSF provides access to more technology, infrastructure and other resources to keep pace with medical advancements. For OSF, it expands the surgery expertise of its staff and strengthens the ease of access to surgical care for its patients.

“Public policy is pushing us that way. They want evidence-based, value-driven, high-quality surgery and medicine, and you have to have a certain amount of heft in order to do that,” said Dr. Robert Hodge, formerly with Perryville Surgical Associates. “Both groups were feeling that it’s progressively harder to do that if you’re small and private.”

Read more…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20150928/NEWS/150929569?template=printart

Caring: Chicago-Based Organization Seeking Donations to Provide Coats to Rockford Students

A Chicago-based organization is looking to raise money to provide new winter jackets for Beyer Elementary students in Rockford.

The FBI Chicago Citizens Academy Alumni Association’s Community Outreach Committee taking part in their 2nd annual Coats for Kids Project. Their goal this year is to give a new winter coat to the 217 students who attend Beyer Elementary School, as well as for the 301 students who attend Charles Evans Hughes Elementary School in Chicago.

“Beyer Elementary School is grateful for the donation of coats from FBICCAAA,” said Christine Smith, Principal at Beyer Elementary. “Many of our families are financially unable to purchase warm coats for their children. This donation will allow all of our students to stay warm during the cold, winter months.”

The group needs to raise $10,000 to provide the coats, so far they’ve collected about a fifth of that.

The deadline to collect money is October 24th, and coats will be given to Beyer students on November 10th. If you’d like to donate, click here (https://donate.operationwarm.org/page/contribute/fbiccaaa).

News Source: http://www.mystateline.com/news/chicago-based-organization-seeking-donations-to-provide-coats-to-rockford-students