Rockford

Barmore Civil Trial Goes To Jury This Week

Mar 21, 2016
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The civil trial against the city of Rockford in the 2009 police shooting of an unarmed black man is expected to go to the jury this week.

Mark Anthony Barmore was shot to death in the basement of a Rockford church by two white police officers in 2009. It was one of the city’s most racially-charged events in recent history.

Rockford PD Launches Body Cam Pilot Program

Mar 7, 2016
Flickr: West Midlands Police / Photo cropped from original

The Rockford Police Department is launching a body camera program today.

Thirteen volunteer officers will wear body cameras for a 60-day trial period. 

Douglas Pann is the city’s Assistant Deputy Police Chief. He says this kind of program hasn’t been done before with the department.

“It’s really a test-and-evaluate. Once they complete that, then we would look at other vendors also. But at this point, this will be the first one," Pann said.

Mercy Rockford Health System

MercyRockford Health Systems and Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey have reached an agreement on permit fees and specific development projects to allow a proposed $485 million medical campus to move forward.

The city announced Thursday that MercyRockford President and CEO Javon Bea and Morrissey agreed on terms for the City of Rockford to annex the 263-acre site at I-90 and Riverside Boulevard.

"School buses" by Flickr User JohnPickenPhoto / (CC BY 2.0)

The Rockford School District could save more than $1 million on fuel to run its buses this year.

Officials say the cost of diesel fuel has dropped to its lowest point in 11 years.

The district budgeted $2.1 million for fuel this year but has only spent $503,000. The final tab is likely to fall below $1 million.

The Rockford Register-Star reports district officials are eyeing the purchase of used buses to upgrade its fleet.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Students at Rockford’s Guilford High School showed off their latest high-tech projects to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner today.

Rauner stopped by the school to talk about education funding and to check out their innovative engineering-track programs. He pledged to increase K through 12 funding and reduce state mandates on schools.

The Republican governor also clued the students in on the partisan battles that were blocking progress on a state budget.

"ARBRE ÉVOLUTION" By Flickr User MONTAGE CHARPENTE / (CC BY 2.0)

An arboretum in northern Illinois hopes to draw new interest by building treehouses where visitors can climb into the branches for better views.

The Register Star reports the treehouse initiative at Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Rockford coincides with efforts to offer more family-friendly activities.

Three treehouses would be built at the arboretum, which is owned by Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.

Leaders will discuss at a meeting next month the possibility of hosting a treehouse design competition for architects.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Three teens were arrested in Rockford this weekend, suspected of stealing cars and using them during recent crime sprees.

Rockford Assistant Deputy Police Chief Doug Pann says juvenile crime was the major factor in a big increase in violent crime in the city last year.

“We’ve got some groups we know are engaging in the robberies and auto thefts. It’s all tied together," he said. "We’ve been working on this for several months now, identifying them and getting them off the street. And we will continue to do that until it stops.”

City of Rockford / rockfordil.gov

There are big plans for an important part of Rockford’s downtown. Thursday night, the public gathered at Memorial Hall to hear about the future of Davis Park.

A 23-year-old Rockford man was killed and two others injured in a crash that shut down a busy intersection for most of the day Wednesday. He’s been identified as Juan Lozano Junior.

The three were spotted driving a stolen car overnight near Rockford and were briefly pursued by Illinois State Police troopers, who gave up the chase. The stolen car was found a short time later after crashing into a tree near Anderson Japanese Gardens at the intersection of Spring Creek and Highcrest Roads.  

The largest city in Illinois is nowhere near the top in a 2016 ranking of the best Illinois cities for families, and the third-largest city didn’t fare much better.

Chicago ranks 154th of the 162 cities on the WalletHub family-friendly list, and Rockford placed 149th. Aurora – the second-largest Illinois city – came in at number 99.

WalletHub says it rated Illinois cities on four weighted categories of and then totaled the scores to achieve the ranking.

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