Image Map

Category Archives: News

  • 0

Arts & Recreation: RAMI announces award winners

ROCKFORD — Rockford Area Music Industry Inc. recently announced the 2017 RAMI Award winners.

The People’s Choice awards and winners are: Radio Station, Real Rock Radio 104.9 The X; Special Event, Byronfest; Artist of the Year, Back Country Roads; Favorite Venue, Whiskey’s Roadhouse Bar & Grill.

The Association awards and winners are: Acoustic Rock/Folk — Cover, Three Good Men; Acoustic Rock/Folk — Original, Paul Bronson; Blues, tie between Harpo’s Revue and Justin “Boots” Gates; Christian/Gospel, Tania Nicholson; Classic Rock/Retro, Shifty Shafer; Country/Bluegrass, Olivia Dvorak; Female Vocalist — Jazz, Funk/R&B, Gina Meeks; Female Vocalist — Rock, Pop, Country, Melissa Ridgeway; Funk/R&B, Can’t Touch This; Hard Rock/Metal — Cover, KillBourn; Hard Rock/Metal — Original, On My Six; Indie/Alternative, Miles Nielsen & the Rusted Hearts; Lighting Technician; Laura Walton; Live Sound Engineer, Russ Kutak; Male Lead Vocalist — Jazz, Funk/R&B, Arik Jenkins; Male Vocalist — Rock, Pop, Country, Zach DeCarlo; Music Teacher — Guitar, Percussion, Vocals (Pop/Rock), Jill Tartaglia; Music Teacher — Strings, Horns, Vocals (Jazz/Classical), Joel Ross; Pop, Minimal; Rap/Hip Hop, Xen; Recording Studio, The Midwest Sound; Rockabilly, Dirty Fishnet Stockings; Stagehand/Rigger, Jamie Veldman; Stage Manager, Chris Smith; Studio Sound Engineer, Daniel James McMahon; Traditional Jazz, tie between Frank Calvagna and The Groove Hotel; and Tribute Band, Sunset Strip.

Two albums earned the Critic’s Choice Album of the Year Award: “Heavy Metal” produced by Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts and recorded at The Midwest Sound; and “Grain of the Sky” produced by Starlite Radio and recorded at Vibehouse Productions.

Read more

  • 0

Transform 815: Innovation, unity at core of Transform Rockford mission

The team at Transform Rockford (from left to right) David Sidney, project manager; Mike Schablaske, executive director; Lindsay Halley, office manager; Patrick O’Keefe, communications manager; and Jacob Wilson, program director, has a goal to make the region a top 25 community by 2025. They were photographed at the Transform Rockford office Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. [ARTURO FERNANDEZ/TRANSFORM 815 & RRSTAR.COM STAFF]

It was the start of Transform Rockford. And Mike Schablaske, who agreed to lead the organization, knew he was joining something innovative.

“Thinking about the community as a team … using things like vision, shared values, healthy leadership and teamwork … and trying to build that team, giving it all the tools it needs and the expectation that it will succeed. I don’t think that’s been done,” Schablaske said.

For the past few years, Schablaske — the coach — and his staff at Transform Rockford have been helping to build that team — 14 groups of community members — and pulling in as many people as possible to the team’s cheering section. The staff facilitates meetings, researches best practices and is there to lend an arm of support when needed as the groups work toward capitalizing on that unity.

Read more

  • 0

Education: Arbor Day celebrated at Riverdahl Elementary in Rockford


Students helped spread mulch around three trees that were planted Monday outside the school in observance of Arbor Day.

Read more

  • 0

Leadership & Youth: Rockford Native Named Spokesperson for U.S. State Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A former Fox News anchor and Rockford native gets a new job with the federal government.

Heather Nauert has been named the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. Officials say her media experience and interest in international affairs suits her well to convey the Trump Administration’s priorities on foreign policy.

A Keith Country Day School graduate, Nauert most recently worked for Fox News on its show ‘Fox and Friends.’

News Source:

  • 0

Heathy LifeStyles: Former professional basketball player inspires urban farmers in Rockford

Updated Monday April 24, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Located on what was the last tract of property zoned for agriculture in Milwaukee, a former professional athlete started a farm that has spurred dozens of others to grow in cities’ urban cores.

Moore is among those that found inspiration, and has been tending to an urban farm in a public housing complex in southeast Rockford for almost five years. Today, he got the chance to meet the mentor he never knew.

Read more

  • 0

Unity, Pride, Culture: Why Rockford has good climate of interfaith cooperation

The Interfaith Council has continued this work for the past 27 years. They have held the Mayors Interfaith Thanksgiving Program every year. After 911 they held interfaith devotionals for several years to honor those who died in that tragic event. They hosted Open Houses of Worship tours every year. They also came to the defense of some religious groups that were experiencing harassment.

They currently are having interfaith devotions each month in various houses of worship. I truly believe that it is because of these efforts that Rockford has avoided some of the religious intolerance and bigotry problems that other communities have experienced.

This 50-plus year foundation of religious cooperation has led to a strong coalition of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other faith communities that are ready to withstand the negative vibes that have shaken other less tolerant communities.

We can be proud of this positive asset of Rockford. I hope many people will continue to support the activities of Unity in Diversity, the Women’s Interfaith Group, the Rockford Interfaith Council and the efforts of many other organizations that continue to work to learn about each other and to find common ground.

I believe this is what will “transform Rockford” and continue to make it a wonderful community in which to live and grow.

Read more

  • 0

Safety: Violent crime, improved morale highlighted Rockford top cop’s first year

Updated Saturday April 15, 2017 at 11:24 pm

ROCKFORD — The most killings since 1996. The most people shot in Rockford in at least six years.

As Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea took the oath of office on April 18, 2016, the city was in the midst of the most violent year it had experienced in decades. Twenty-seven people were killed and 160 were shot, numbers that O’Shea said are “unacceptable.”

While one year on the job has not been enough to move the needle on violent crime, O’Shea has made several changes to the department. Gone are the public feuds between administration and rank-and-file police officers represented by the Police Benevolent & Protective Association Unit 6. Repairing what had been a fractured relationship with the police union and improving morale were among O’Shea’s top priorities.

“Sniping, griping, blaming, pointing fingers — that’s a losing team and losing teams don’t succeed,” O’Shea said. “Winning teams focus on the opponent … or in this case, the mission.”

Read more

  • 0

Economy & Jobs: Local businesses keep Rockford circulating

By Jim Hagerty 

When Gorman & Company begins turning dirt on the downtown Embassy Suites hotel this summer, 372 local trades people are slated for immediate work, just in time for the summer building season.

The magnitude of the project will ensure that many of those jobs will be secure for approximately two years. That means there will be more people downtown out of the gate, helping local businesses grab an important sector of the market usually serviced by corporate merchants in other areas of town.

It’s not that the chain-store allure isn’t a powerful one. It has been a Rockford trend since the corridor east of Rockford University became even more ensconced in chic suburbia. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Urban chic is beginning to look pretty good in Rockford’s downtown.

The question is, can either be attained with sustainable local businesses fighting against absentee-owned giants that ship most of their revenue out of town? The answer is simple in Rockford. Developers score big with national tenants who return the favor.

Consumers are marketed and branded to death until they succumb to perceived deals of the century. But even the biggest of boxes are shedding more brick and mortar for Amazon-ish models that allow them to appeal to a younger, more streamlined generation of online shoppers.

Read more

  • 0

Education: Getting Started with 3D Printing @ Rock Valley College!

Tags : 

Media Contact: Dave Costello, 815-921-4516

Event Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Event Contact: Chuck Konkol, (815) 921-3164

A local company, Dulaney Drafting and Design, will return to Rock Valley College to describe how to get started with 3D Printing. Russ Delaney, of Dulaney, Drafting and Design, has spent most of his life in the printing industry and owns and operates a 3D prototype company.

This event is free and open to the public and will take place Wednesday, April 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Student Center Atrium on RVC’s main campus (3301 North Mulford Rd.). Seating is limited so an RSVP is required. You can RSVP at

3D Printing is touching all aspects of life. Healthcare uses 3D printers to create prosthetics, 3D printers are being used to build bridges and houses, home owners are using 3D printers to replace broken items around the house, and chefs are now using 3D printers in high end restaurants.

This event is sponsored by Rock Valley College Computers & Information Systems (CIS) monthly meet-up “HackNights.” CIS teaches courses in iOS Development, photography, web design, and networking. Chuck Konkol, RVC CIS faculty, utilizes 3D printing in his iOS Mobile App Courses (CIS-280) and iOS BootCamp (CIS-290).

To learn more visit or call (815) 921-3164.

News Source:

  • 0

Economy & Jobs: CIS Advisory Committee Meeting

ROCKFORD – Rockford City Council leaders approved a measure to revamp the Amerock building in downtown Rockford into a hotel and conference center.

Many residents in attendance were happy about it.

But, one alderman we spoke with said this might just be the worst deal in the history of the city.

“Well, it was a long road and I am extremely happy that it passed.”

Gorman & Company CEO Gary Gorman is relieved.

This after city council approved the latest Amerock hotel and conference center proposal.

“Obviously a close vote, but it got done,” said Gorman. “And this project will get done.”

The proposal barely passed with a 7-6 vote.

Aldermen conflicted just moments before deciding.

Fourth Ward Alderman Kevin Frost called it the most poorly negotiated deal in the history of the city.

“I don’t think the city of Rockford got a good deal today,” said Frost. “We’ve already paid over $5 million dollars in cash money. We just agreed to spend $12.5 as a fixed cost. My concern was, let’s say the cost of the hotel goes from $65 million to $45 million, or 65 to 50. Let’s say there’s a $5,$10,$15 dollar cost saving. We don’t get a dime back. Our costs are fixed at $12.5 million. That’s not a well-negotiated deal.”

The proposal calls on the city to pay about $20 million dollars.

With that huge price tag, and because Gorman is slated to get what he calls a major chunk of the hotel’s profits, Frost believes the city got fleeced.

“I have no ill feeling toward the developer, I have no ill will for his company. His company’s job is to make money. And I applaud him for that,” said Alderman Frost. “However, I really think today, the city of Rockford took the short set by leaving so much money on the table.”

Alderman Frost says he doesn’t understand why they pushed the project through so quickly.

He wishes they had given more time to consider the proposal since they received revisions to the contract this Saturday.

“We as elected officials have a responsibility to our taxpayers to the voters, and to the city as a whole to do our due diligence. And when we receive items on a Saturday, about the largest item we’re going to vote on, it’s tough.”

But still, the standing room only city hall told a different story, with residents applauding when the announcement to approve the project was made.

“It passed, that’s what’s important,” said Gorman. “My job now is to deliver for the citizens of Rockford, and I will not disappoint them.”

The project is expected to create about 120 jobs once the hotel opens.

Supporters also believe the Amerock project will continue to grow the downtown area, and give the city a major economic boost.

News Source:

Reality Check

Reality Check is a new section written and managed by Alex Gary, communications manager for Thinker Ventures. Alex specializes in digging up truthful, relevant and raw statistics. - visit page