Neighborhoods: “We can make a difference” Citizens Rally to Fix Rockford landmark

The timing is off on one Rockford landmark

ROCKFORD (WREX) – One of the most recognizable landmarks as you come into Rockford needs repairing. The clock’s time at the Clock Tower Resort is off and it has been for quite some time.5945837_G

It bothered one man so much he decided to use his radio show to take action. If timing is everything there is something wrong in Rockford.

Can you tell me what the time is?


Can you look at your clock and tell me what it is?

“1:37. You are late.”

“I knew that sounded wrong. It’s like 1:53.”

So is the clock right?

“Ummm almost.”

The Clock Tower Resort’s clock does not keep time correctly.

“I have been driving by it for five years and it’s been wrong for five years,” says Jim Stone.

The WXRX host was so mad the clock did not work he took to the airwaves. He’s been complaining about the broken time piece since this summer. Finally, he went to his owners at Mid-west Family Broadcasting and asked them to help him fix it. It just signed an agreement with the resort’s owners. The media company is now responsible for fixing and maintaining the clock for the next five years.

Transform Rockford’s executive director says this is actually the kind of initiative been promoting.

“People can take from this that they can make a difference. Take some inspiration from what they are doing. If we can do this then maybe then maybe they can do something in their neighborhood,” says Mike Schablaske.

The clock isn’t expected to be fixed until at least next year. But a broken clock is right at least twice a day, right?

“Actually its right 8 times a day. There are four different sides.”

Mid-west family needs the community’s help to fix the clock tower. It’s started a fund for it’s repair and maintenance. You can contact the station for more information on how to donate. You can also click here.


More news from TransformRockford

Quality: Rockford’s Coco Key becomes a movie set


ROCKFORD — Coco Key water park became a movie set Thursday as a father honored his late 10-year-old son with a film project to raise money to fight the brain cancer that killed him.

The movie, “Thrill Ride,” is a low-budget children’s action film by Mason’s Movies, a nonprofit company formed by Chris Parrish of Woodstock after the death of his son, Mason, three years ago from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.

The film stars Kristen Johnson, who won two Emmy Awards as Sally in TV’s “Third Rock From the Son.” Set in an amusement park, it is the story of three kids who sneak into the park one night to hunt for loot that Al Capone was said to have buried there. The park’s attractions — a sea witch, evil mermaid, pirates and monsters — come alive and give the kids what Parrish describes as a “wild and dangerous ride beyond all imagination.”

The plot was Mason’s idea and father and son, who tossed movie ideas back and forth like a game of catch, wrote and pitched the idea to studios.

“Mason was a naturally gifted storyteller,” said Parrish, who moved to Illinois after 18 years as a screen and TV writer in Los Angeles.

Writing was one of the things Mason was able to do as his cancer progressed. He wrote until he could write no longer.

Parrish said that on the day Mason slipped into a coma his son said, “Mom I feel like writing. Give me my notebook.”

Mason’s Movies found backing from Vince Foglia, founder of the Cary manufacturer of disposable health and personal care items, Sage Products.

“He doesn’t want a dime,” Parrish said, noting that half of the film’s proceeds will fund future films and the other half will go toward brain cancer research, vans equipped for disabled children and for an after- school program, Cartoon Comics Inc., which teaches the craft of cartooning and storytelling.

Parrish did not disclose the film’s budget, but said that in comparison with a big budget Hollywood product “it will cost what they spend on sushi.”

The film, which will be released in 2015, will be about 90 minutes.

“That’s the target,” said producer Angie Gaffney. “We recognize the short attention span of children.”

Part of the story involves a water park. Alex Hughes, location manager for Mason’s Movies, said Coco Key at the Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center was chosen from a half-dozen parks he considered for the film because it had the decor for a pirate theme. He describes the film as “Goonies” meets “Night at the Museum.”

Hughes said most of the movie will be filmed at Chicago Studio City, where the rest of the amusement park was built.

There will be no weapons or swearing in “Thrill Ride.”

“This is a PG movie,” Hughes said.

Brian Leaf: 815-987-1343;; @b_leaf

Arts & Recreation: The Blue Angels Visit Rockford Ahead of Airfest 2015


ROCKFORD -– Two captains of The Blue Angels arrived at Rockford Airport this morning in anticipation of Airfest 2015. The pilots are traveling all over the country visiting each site for their air show next year. The last time the blue angels were featured in Rockford was in 2007– and Blue Angels Pilot Captain Jeff Kuss says the team is excited to be back.

“Out on the crowd line talking to people, talking to kids as I once was a little kid excited to be seeing those guys at the air show. Man, what a great experience that is to be able to share that with people,” Capt. Kuss says. “So, that’s the best part for me and I can’t wait to do it here in Rockford next year.”


The same pilots appear at every show throughout the country.  They will return in time for Airfest next July.



See Rockford’s Badge! Sperling’s Best Places & Forbes: Best Opportunity Cities for 2014

Sperling’s Best Places & Forbes partnered up to bring you the Best Opportunity Cities for 2014.

For the winners, we are providing [the below] badge for you to use on your website or blog. Enjoy!

Feel free to post the badge on your personal and company home page or blog! See link


The badge is posted on the TransformRockford home page as well as the website footer area!


Responsibility: Volunteers Needed to Fix the Clock Tower (Stone & Double T ~ WXRX)

Stone & Double T from WXRX radio have started a project to fix one of Rockford’s landmarks, The Clock Tower!

Mike Schablaske met with Stone & Double T this morning to discuss the vision and purpose of the fixing the Clock Tower.

Qualified general laborers & construction volunteers are needed to build a wall around the Clock Tower.


If interested in volunteering, please call Stone & Double T @ 815-874-2104!


Healthy LifeStyles: Rockford Chamber to host Healthcare Industry Update Luncheon

ROCKFORD — The Rockford Chamber of Commerce will focus on the role that specialty group practitioners play in our local healthcare landscape during its annual Healthcare Industry Update Luncheon on Nov. 20 at Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road.

Scheduled speakers include a panel of specialists from nationally recognized specialty groups based in Rockford who will engage in dialogue about trends and impacts in healthcare.

The luncheon, presented by BMO Harris Bank, takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tickets: $450 for a table of 10; $45 for individuals.

For information or to register: 815-987-8100;

Economy & Jobs: Manufacturing revolution


Manufacturing revolution could propel Rockford region into economic powerhouse
Creating jobs for generations of Northern Illinois families. That could be the future of Rockford’s economy in the dawn of a new manufacturing revolution.

That sentiment was shared Wednesday night at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s annual meeting.

More than 700 business and community leaders gather at Giovanni’s to talk about resources the region can capitalize on.

One being the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute. UI Labs is set to open it in Goose Island in Chicago next year. The institute will be a research center where companies, academic institutions and municipalities can innovate together.

“Manufacturing the way that we may have grown up knowing it isn’t the same,” said Dr. Caralynn Nowinski, the Executive Director of the DMDII. “We think of the three D’s: dirty, dark and dangerous. That’s not manufacturing of the future. Manufacturing of the future is cool. Manufacturing of the future is about data, it’s about sensors and intelligent machines and the industrial internet.”

Year-to-date, RAEDC reports more than 2,300 jobs have been added or retained in the local economy.


Education & Family: Tabbatha Korinke learned to read for her children and herself


Tabbatha Korinke learned to read for her children, herself
Tabbatha Korinke with her children, Landon Clark, 7, and Elizabeth Korinke, 10, in front of The Literacy Council in Rockford. Korinke has been a client for 10 years.

When Tabbatha Korinke got pregnant at 18, she realized that the key to her daughter’s education could depend on her own ability to read.
Korinke wanted her child to be literate, but first she had to learn to read. So she sought the help of The Literacy Council, a nonprofit that helps adults overcome illiteracy.

The decision changed her life and set her on a course to earn a GED.

“I didn’t want her to grow up like me and not know how to read and see that Mom couldn’t read, so I went and found someone to help me,” said the 28-year-old mother of two children, ages 7 and 10.
She struggled in school for years. She was held back in first grade, when she missed nearly the whole year battling a near-fatal illness. She dropped out in the ninth grade after years of frustration with reading.

She read at a third-grade level when she arrived at The Literacy Council. That means she struggled with multisyllabic words and reading comprehension. It made it hard for her to read bills, understand paperwork at the doctor’s office or fill out job applications.

Now Korinke is reading near an eighth-grade level and has her sights on obtaining her GED in 2016. She enjoys reading adventure books and any stories she can share with her children.
“She is really anxious to improve and get her GED. She comes into my office on a regular basis to schedule her next testing date,” literacy coordinator Katrina Wiginton said. “That really shows her dedication.”

Korinke works two jobs while taking literacy classes. In an essay for the Literacy Council, she said reading has improved her self-esteem, made her more independent and improved her confidence.

She’s become a strong advocate for the agency, praising its role in her efforts to increase her education. She volunteers for fundraisers and other events that support its efforts. She’s also made sure her kids know the importance of reading and education.

“They’re going to college.”

Kevin Haas: 815-987-1410;; @KevinMHaas


Mike Schablaske is attending “Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)” Team Meeting Today

Mike will be attending “Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)” Team Meeting Today  – calendar link:

To find out what “Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)” is all about read the below Press Release dated Jan 16, 2014.

Jan 16, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced that Rockford has been chosen as one of seven new locations for a “Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)” program.

“I’m pleased to announce this important investment today in Rockford’s economic future,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.  “The Strong Cities, Strong Communities program will help Rockford implement its economic development plans to create jobs, improve education and public safety and build a stronger middle class.  This will help make the Rockford region an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

The SC2 team will assist the City of Rockford by helping them leverage and implement its economic development plans in the areas of business development, education and workforce training, and public safety. The City has worked creatively to address its high unemployment rate, including through a creative partnership with the online craft sales platform, Etsy, that has provided entrepreneurship training to high school students and public housing residents. The SC2 team will augment these efforts by assisting Rockford with a cradle to career workforce development strategy. The team will also provide coordinated technical assistance to identify opportunities for economic growth and strategies to address crime prevention.

The White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, first announced in July 2011, seeks to strengthen neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions around the country by enhancing the capacity of local governments to develop and execute their economic vision and strategies, providing necessary technical assistance and access to federal agency expertise, and creating new public and private sector partnerships.  Through historic investments and partnerships, SC2 is helping communities that were hardest-hit by the recession.


See below post about “Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)