Monday’s Memorial Day events in and near downtown Rockford

ROCKFORD (WREX) – Downtown Rockford is expected to be bustling with people Monday for Memorial Day festivities.

The Memorial Day Parade starts at 9 a.m. at 7th Street and 6th Avenue in Rockford.  From there, the parade goes north along 7th Street to East State Street, then heads west, crossing the Rock River on the State Street Bridge and continues west all the way to North Main Street.  The parade ends at Veterans Memorial Hall at 211 North Main Street.

Festivities keep going from there.  A Memorial Day ceremony starts as soon as the parade ends at Veterans Memorial Hall.  The ceremony will feature guest speaker, U.S. Army Captain Jeffery Johnson, plus Winnebago County and City of Rockford leaders.  Following the ceremony is a dove release.  To conclude, every year, there’s a ‘Sinking of the Ship’ event, located behind the Rockford Public Library.  These events should wrap up by noon.

Starting at 1 p.m. Monday, the Navy Club Ship # 1 will host a “USS Constitution” Dedication Ceremony.  This will be located at 2324 Charles Street in Rockford.  The Navy Club of Rockford Ship #1 will host a dedication ceremony for a large model of the “USS CONSTITUTION.”  Organizers say the ship was built and donated to the club by Rockford resident and veteran Ronald Ramlow.


Caring: Tearful reunion brings paramedics and patients together in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WREX) – Every year, Rockford paramedics get to reconnect with the patients they helped save.  It’s often a tearful reunion and this year was no exception.

“I had gotten home about 6:30 in the evening and my vision started to blur,” says Doug Mark, former Rockford alderman and survivor of a stroke April 29.

Just a few years ago, Doug Mark was helping make decisions on city matters like public safety as a 3rd Ward alderman.  Last month, his life depended on those services.

“My wife said, ‘I think I need to call 911,’ and instead of saying ‘Oh, I think it’ll pass,’ I said ‘I think it’s a good idea.'”

Doug was having a stroke.  He says he doesn’t even remember the first few hours of that emergency.  So Friday, back to full health, he finally meets the paramedics who came to his rescue.

“When you need them, you want them there.  They play an important role and they always will,” he says.

Friday marked the final event for Emergency Medical Services Week in Rockford, where patients and paramedics re-connect.  Doug’s is one of seven new stories this year.  Survivors of all ages get to put names to faces, sharing their experiences and their thanks.  It’s an event that means just as much to the men and women who helped when they were needed.

“The most important reason we do this is that we have the ability to link our rescuers up with the individuals they treat.  We have roughly 20,000 patients a year, we’re very busy, so we take time to slow down and give appreciation for the service we provide to citizens,” says Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten.

Many of the people saved were survivors of heart attacks.  The national average survival rate for that emergency is less than 10%.  The fire department says as of this year it’s 30% in Rockford.  That’s the highest rate the city’s ever seen.

Rockford City Market Opens for Sixth Year

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — It’s a weekly event that many credit for filling storefronts in downtown Rockford. City Market is kicking off its sixth year with more vendors and more space.


The ribbon was just cut for the brand-new two-story parking deck on Water Street. You may remember the former spot collapsed last year, forcing crews to repave and rebuild, adding a pavilion and more outlets for vendors. More than 75,000 people came down here on Fridays last summer and organizers say they expected even more families this year.

“We hoped it’d be a community gathering spot, we intended to create a weekly ritual and we intended to drive economy and those things are happening but really it’s happening as a result of the desire of the community at large to want to be down here on Friday night,” says

Peter Provenzano, chairman, Rock River Development Partnership.
Here’s what we can expect if we’re planning on coming down anytime this summer.

65 businesses will be set up along Water Street and the new upper parking deck. That’s eight more than last year. A full list can be found at Just to give an idea, new this year, Chai Town Tea, a jewelry maker and a gourmet popcorn shop will be out for the first time Friday. The celebration opened at 3:30 p.m. and will continue until 8:30 p.m.

Read more…

TransformRockford News Release: Community Conversation; Regional Alignment Yields Impressive Results


News Release
May 22, 2015

Transform Rockford Hosts Community Conversation
Regional Alignment Yields Impressive Results
Learn first-hand how a metropolitan area was transformed
Monday June 1, 2015 5:30 PM

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Transform Rockford, a regional long-term planning initiative to dramatically improve the social and economic condition of the Rockford region.

Transform Rockford and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC) are hosting a Community Conversation featuring Tom Clark, Chief Executive Officer, of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.

Metro Denver is a national model for regional cooperation in economic development, political cooperation, culture, and sports. Through Tom’s first-hand experience, our region will have an opportunity to learn what creating a culture of cooperation can and must look like in order to grow and strengthen infrastructure, become an innovation hub and attract the workforce needed to truly change a region.

Don’t miss this opportunity, include your colleagues, friends and family. Together we can work toward a transformed Rockford region and become a top 25 community by 2025.

Event Details:

Date:  Monday, June 1, 2015
Location:  The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL 61101
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Presentation and Discussion

Learn more about Transform Rockford:

Web:                                Twitter: @TransformRkfd

Facebook:       Instagram: TransformRockford



Contact: Patrick O’Keefe – (815) 505-1366 /

Frank Beach: Transform Rockford is opening our eyes

Frank Beach, 10th ward alderman, Rockford

Frank Beach, 10th ward alderman, Rockford


I must confess that I’m hopelessly in love with Rockford.

When Transform Rockford appeared on our city’s scene, I was a bit skeptical about what I heard and the attitude presented regarding the function and responsibility of our city’s elected officials. I noticed some dissension that left me a bit cold. What was the real agenda? Why were the elected officials, who interact with the public every day, put at “arm’s length”? Was this my perception, or was this a reality?

I did attend all of the public community meetings to allow for better self-education. I learned that Transform Rockford’s goal is to encourage us to see beyond ourselves and think outside of our comfort zone. What stood out to me is that what we see with our eyes may not be what we see, and what we hear with our ears may not be what we hear. We need to go beneath the surface to discern the true intent of the heart.

Read More …

Transform Rockford volunteer spotlight: Wester Wuori

Wester Wuori

Age: 44

Occupation/profession: Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Rockford Health System

In Rockford area since: 1986

Transform Rockford involvement: Member of the Communications Team since its inception and co-lead of the “Living the Brand” Spoke Team.

Quote: The shared value of “Unity” will be critical to moving our community forward. We need to do a better job of “placing the greater good of all parts of our region … ahead of self or organizational interests.” When more of us are comfortable standing up and saying, “This may not be best for me personally or for my organization, but I know it’s what’s best for the community,” then we’ll know we’re making progress.

Read more …

Economy & Jobs: Rockford Ranked 18th best place in the U.S. for Teachers!

The city of Rockford was just ranked the 18th best place in the U.S. for Teachers. The ranking was determined by the GoodCall research team using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and The National Center for Education Statistics. With high-stakes testing and increased teacher evaluations adding pressure on teachers across the country, analyst Paul Southerland set out to determine which U.S. cities still provide a good backdrop for teachers. Rockford’s ranking comes as great news for prospective teachers in the Rockford area. Some of the metrics that earned Rockford it’s #18 spot on the list include:

  • High salaries
  • Low cost of living
  • High job availability
  • Strong educational values in the community

A full breakdown of the data used to compile this report can be found here


Inclusion: IDOT-Illinois Infrastructure Listening Tour

The Illinois Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Illinois Capital Development Board, announced the start of a series of listening sessions over the next month to discuss the state’s infrastructure needs and the steps required to make sure the right investments are being made to keep Illinois competitive in a 21st century global economy. The meetings will be held in multiple communities throughout the state, with a goal of presenting Governor Rauner’s office with a comprehensive package of recommendations for consideration this spring. The Rockford Listening Session will be hosted on Thursday, May 14th at the RMAP Design Center at (address). 315 N Main St. Rockford.

Date: 5/14/2015
Time: 3:00 PM TO 4:00 PM

Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning (RMAP)
315 N Main St
Design Center
Rockford, IL 6110

(815) 987-8100
For more information and to Register: click here