Unity, Pride, Culture: Midway Village hosts 19th annual Scarecrow Harvest Festival in Rockford

ROCKFORD — Scarecrows may frighten the birds, but children at the Midway Village’s 19th annual Scarecrow Harvest Festival were laughing. Families and friends gathered under a tent Saturday to stuff their old clothes with straw and draw faces — some sad, some happy, some scary — on old knapsacks. Some children brought along hats and wigs, others designed their scarecrows according to Halloween themes. Some children made it easy on themselves and just stuffed baby onesies.

Read more…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20151003/NEWS/151009773?template=printart

Responsibility: Nominees wanted for 2015 Excalibur and Excelsior awards

ROCKFORD — The Rockford Register Star is accepting nominations for its highest honors, the Excalibur and Excelsior awards.

The Excalibur has been given since 1971 to an individual who exemplifies community service and excellence, and whose work makes a difference in the Rock River Valley. The Excelsior has been given since 1979 to an organization that does the same.

Last year’s Excalibur and Excelsior winners: Roger Reithmeier, a retired finance executive who has served on numerous nonprofit boards, and the Ken-Rock Community Center.

Read more…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20151003/NEWS/151009801?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

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

Quality: Rockford wins national award in America in Bloom contest

ROCKFORD — The Forest City has one of America in Bloom’s best residential streetscapes.

A decorative planter marks the end of Calvin Park Boulevard at Rural Street in Rockford (photographed Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015). MAX GERSH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/RRSTAR.COM

Winners in the 2015 contest were announced Saturday at the group’s annual dinner in Holland, Michigan. Rockford also received a four-bloom rating on a five-bloom scale and a special mention for efforts in urban forestry.

It was the fourth year the city has entered the contest. Rockford won its population category in 2005 and 2007. This year, we competed against Lexington, Kentucky, and Henderson County, North Carolina, in the 40,000-plus population category. Lexington won the overall award.

Read more…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20150927/NEWS/150929748?template=printart

Slice: Community-minded educator Brian Huels focuses on positives in Rockford

Posted Sep. 21, 2015 at 8:15 AM

Brian Huels came to Rockford from Chicagoland 13 years ago to start a business along the Rock River.

The business — B3 Marine and Water Sports, which later merged with Rockford Marina — closed in 2005, but it didn’t sour Huels’ taste on Rockford.

He worked as a public accountant after that, then found a rewarding career about three years ago as an assistant professor of accounting at Rockford University. In the classroom, he’s known for his enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and dedication to his students. He also was honored with the 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Huels has also volunteered with Transform Rockford for two years. For years he has taught kids to water ski. He is also the diving coach at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Country Club.

Read more…http://www.journalstandard.com/article/20150921/NEWS/150929948

Community Conversation: Best Practices in Education ~ 9/22

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
NIU Rockford
Meeting and Conference Center
8500 E. State St., Rockford, IL

Speaker: Sondra Samuels, President and CEO
Northside Achievement Zone
Minneapolis, MN

One Ecosystem of Support from the Cradle to College

Northside Achievement Zone operates as one integrated program across multiple partners, with NAZ families. Together we provide families with an unbroken ecosystem of best-practice supports from pre-natal through college. Each of these supports builds toward measurable academic outcomes for children.


See calendar

Economy & Jobs: Rockford Area Economic Development Council aims high with 5-year job-creation campaign

ROCKFORD — The region’s premier economic development agency laid out a retooled strategy Thursday to make the Rockford area more prosperous, with an ambitious fundraising campaign to pay for it.

Rockford Area Economic Development Council is a private nonprofit that aims to enhance wealth in the region by attracting and retaining as it markets Rockford to site selectors and job creators around the globe.

With its new five-year campaign, Rockforward 20/20, the agency expects to create and retain 10,500 jobs by the close of 2020 and attract $925 million worth of capital investment to the region, resulting in 38 million square feet of new or renovated space for business.

To achieve all of that, it expects to raise an additional $600,000 a year — on top of its annual campaign of $1.4 million — to amplify its efforts. Marketing has been RAEDC’s core mission since its inception. The extra revenue would pay for additional external marketing work and two more pillars of the development council’s renewed strategy: workforce development and a qualified sites program to meet the needs of relocating and expanding businesses.

“I want to make this region shine again and I can’t do it alone,” Director Mike Nicholas said at a news conference at the agency’s downtown office. “I need your help and I look forward to working together.”

Read more…http://www.rrstar.com/article/20150910/NEWS/150919898?template=printart