Rockford

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Rockford is the first community to effectively end homelessness among its veteran population as part of a national effort called Zero: 2016. Dozens of communities are participating in the campaign.

Beth Sandor, director of the Zero: 2016 Movement, said, “Rockford had to demonstrate that it was able to house more veterans every month than were homeless in the community.”

To date, Rockford has housed 73 veterans.

Rockford Public Schools / RPS205.com

Plans to build two new elementary schools in Rockford are back on track.

The Rockford School Board voted last night to proceed with its ten-year facilities plan -- particularly the construction of the two schools that will replace five outdated buildings on the city’s southeast side, at a cost of $42 million.

The board had delayed a vote so members could determine if the district really could afford the schools on top of major renovations and everyday expenses.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It may not look like a “winter wonderland” in northern Illinois right now, but it will SOUND like one this weekend in downtown Rockford. That’s because J.R. Sullivan’s 20th production of his “Hometown Holiday” variety show hits the stage at the Nordlof Center. 

One of the themes this time around is an unhappy Santa: he's tired of night-flying in his sleigh, he's sick of gluten-free cookies, and he's just not feeling the magic any more. Not so for Hometown Holiday founder J.R. Sullivan, who is still feeling the spirit more than two decades after he put together the first show. 

Rockford Police Department

Rockford aldermen are looking for community input to help guide the search for a new police chief.

The first of three community input meetings will be held at 5:30 this evening in the Millennium Center in downtown Rockford.

Rockford Aldermen want to gather information to help the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners in its search to replace Chief Chet Epperson, who retired Nov. 13.

The input sessions will be led by trained Transform Rockford facilitators.

Flickr user Loren Kerns / "100/36: November PDX leaves" (CC V. 2.0)

It’s another sign of winter: the end of leaf pickup along with the regular garbage pickup – at least in one northern Illinois city.

Monday through Thursday will be the last days of 2015 that residents can put bundled branches or bagged leaves out with the regular garbage in Rockford.

Rockford officials note that yard waste will be taken only if it’s in compostable paper bags or in garbage cans clearly marked with a large X – and weighing less than 50 pounds.

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