Estelle Black was born and raised in Rockford. Several years ago, she shared her life experience for an oral history project chronicling 66 African Americans who have lived in the Forest City for 25 years or more.
In recent years, Illinois has seen a gradual increase in refugees from Myanmar, also known as Burma. As these immigrants try to establish a new life, volunteers in one city are trying to raise public awareness about their growing presence.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has commented on concerns about the city's police force through a news release. Dozens of people marched in protest this week over recent officer-involved shootings. Morrissey says the city supports the free expression of community concerns.
Several northern Illinois cities use some form of geographic policing, which focuses on placing officers into defined districts. From North Aurora to Roselle, different variations of the model are being carried out. In Rockford, city leaders want to follow suit by making big changes to the police department’s structure. But not everyone is on board.
Good news came in twos today for Rockford's Laurent House, the only home Frank Lloyd Wright designed specifically for wheelchair accessibility. The house has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. And the Laurent House Foundation, the not-for-profit group that purchased the home earlier this year, has announced the date it will open as a museum -- June 8th, 2013, Wright's 146th birthday.
The Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center has purchased First Presbyterian Church in Rockford. The building went on sale in January. The funds to buy and renovate the church were given to Mendelssohn by donors. The center will use the building for new performance and rehearsal space.
More than 125 travel journalists from around North America will visit Rockford next year as part of Travel Media Showcase 2013. The tradeshow is expected to fill approximately 1,000 hotel room nights and bring in more than $100,000 for the local economy.