Rockford

photo provided by Hickey to LWV-Rockford

A force in Rockford politics and education has died. Former State Senator Vivian Hickey was 100 years old. 

The die-hard Democrat was appointed to fill the term of Rockford’s first female State Senator when Betty Ann Keegan died. Hickey was elected to what became known as The Woman’s Seat: a string of women from Rockford were elected to the 34th District State Senate seat. 

Landmarks Illinois

Landmarks Illinois says 11 building in the state are in danger of being lost forever because there's no money to make capital improvements. Most of the sites are publicly owned, and local governments are facing the choice of their resources to rehabilitate these buildings or tearing them down.

city of Rockford

  Winnebago Board County Chairman Scott Christiansen abandoned plans for a vocational school in downtown Rockford. 

He says the program, known as Winnebago County Works!, would duplicate programs already carried out by Rock Valley College and Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois.  Community leaders raised concerns about overstepping the county’s role as well as proposed startup costs.  The Chairman withdrew a request of $600,000 in county operating support.   

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A Winnebago County consultant who wrote a letter offering tax breaks to MercyRockford Health System for the board chairman also was hired by MercyRockford to lobby the Rockford City Council to annex land for the hospital campus.

The Rockford Register Star reports some aldermen view that as a conflict of interest, but consultant Jennifer Hall told the newspaper it wasn’t.

YouTube user Ford Scholars / "Jefferson Fitness Trail" Screen Shot

Two northern Illinois high schools have students competing for a $10,000 prize in a national STEM competition. The money would go to help implement the winning group’s project proposals that could benefit their schools and the community.

There are ten finalists in the Ford STEM Community Challenge. They include students from Jefferson and East High Schools in Rockford.

Rockford is hosting the 14th annual Puma Cup tournament starting today. 

The event consists of two tournaments: the College Showcase and Champions Club, which will feature a combined total of 792 teams from across the Midwest and Canada, with competitors ranging in age from 7 to 18.

It comes on the tail end of Reclaiming First, a local development campaign that modernized the Rockford Park District “Sportscore” facilities.  This means athletes will benefit from improved facilities as well as the opportunity to play on several new synthetic turf fields. 

Rockford Schools Receive $400,000 Grant

Mar 31, 2016

Rockford Public Schools received a $400,000 grant from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation. 

The funds are part of a greater effort by the organization to improve student educational opportunities, particularly as they relate to college and the job market.  In choosing Rockford, the foundation zeroed in on the district's Academy program, which, in addition to standard instruction, provides career-based learning through company visits, job shadowing programs, and more elaborate capstone projects. 

Numbers from Winnebago County Coroner's Office / Data visualization done in collaboration with the ddiLab in the Department of Computer Science at Northern Illinois University

The rate of heroin-related overdose deaths in Winnebago County is among the highest in Illinois.

Deaths involving drugs in the county nearly tripled in the last decade. Longtime County Coroner Sue Fiduccia says that means it's time to think outside the box when it comes to breaking down the stigma surrounding addiction and treatment.

eEgin police department

Rockford's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners announced their pick Thursday for the city's next police chief: Dan O'Shea of the Elgin Police Department.

O'Shea is Elgin's Police Operations Bureau Commander. He beat out Rockford Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann for the position. A third finalist dropped out earlier this week after he was offered a contract extension at his current position in Racine, Wisconsin.

Rockford Shigella Outbreak Reports 4 New Cases

Mar 24, 2016

The shigellosis outbreak in the Rockford area has risen to 152 cases. 

  The Winnebago County Health Department reported four new cases in the outbreak this month, and that the bacterium has spread beyond individual schools and daycare centers to the entire community.  Todd Kisner with the Department’s Center for Health Protection says the best way to prevent the disease, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting, is to enforce routine handwashing, particularly among children. 

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