The Rock River Times

Rockford Passes 2018 Budget With 5-Percent Utility Tax

Mar 27, 2018

Rockford aldermen on Monday approved the 2018 budget, five days ahead of their March 31 deadline.

The plan, conditionally approved last week as Plan B, includes the expected 5-percent utility tax Rockford residents will start seeing on their gas and electric bills.

Haney Tackles Several Issues In ‘State Of The County’ Address

Mar 23, 2018

Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney addressed several issues Wednesday during his second State of the County address at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center.

Haney, who won the seat in 2016, began his talk by lauding local job efforts, noting that 1,000 positions were filled at the Chicago Rockford International Airport in the last 12 months and that the region is still a hotbed of industry.

Police have arrested 20-year-old Jamain L. McFadden in connection with Sunday’s shots-fired incident at CherryVale Mall. McFadden has been charged with three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm as a felon. Bail has not been set. His first court date is pending.

Background: A fight inside the CherryVale Mall Sunday morning led to shots fired in the parking lot.

Rockford Leaders Present Two Budget Options Ahead Of Home Rule Vote

Mar 15, 2018
Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Which taxes and fees will likely increase for Rockford residents will depend on whether voters restore home rule on March 20.

On Monday, city staff proposed two spending plans: one for if home rule passes and another if the referendum fails. If home rule passes, staff recommends aldermen approve Plan A, which would generate revenue for the city’s budget largely from visitors and the local entertainment industry.

Sheriff Asks For Public’s Help In CherryVale Murder Probe

Mar 13, 2018
flickr user Tex Texin ""Crime Scene Do Not Cross" tape" (CC BY 2.0)

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help locating a vehicle investigators say was involved in a fatal shooting that happened in the CherryVale Mall parking lot last month.

The vehicle is a gold or tan GMC Yukon. It is the SUV from which shots were fired Feb. 23, in what Sheriff Gary Caruana described as a “drive-behind.”

Harlan Jefferson Reflects On Time With Ruckmans

Mar 7, 2018
Olson Funeral & Cremation Services

When brothers Christopher and Jack Ruckman were found shot to death in their home last weekend, a cloud of confusion hung eerily over their quiet Cherry Valley neighborhood before making its way throughout the Rockford region.

The darkness quickly reached musician Harlan Jefferson, who knew both boys and took Christopher, a guitar prodigy, under his wing. When Jefferson heard the news, he was preparing to play a show with him at Rockford Christian High School.

Winnebago County Board Chair Defends Administrator Settlement Agreement

Mar 1, 2018

Winnebago County Chairman Frank Haney has hit back at a series of reports on a settlement agreement with a former county administrator.

Amanda Hamaker left her post at the beginning of November in what the chairman called a “mutual agreement” at the time. In an Oct. 30 report from the Register Star, Haney said that details of a separation were being worked out, but no details were provided at the time.

Rockford is changing and will no longer tolerate violent crime.

That’s the hard-lined message local-law enforcement officials are sending as Rockford is still Illinois’ most dangerous city. And Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea and Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato are not mincing those words. If you commit violent crime in Rockford, expect to be punished.

Winnebago County Board Members Seek Answers Over Severance Packages

Feb 26, 2018
The Rock River Times

Republican and Democratic county board members on Monday called for answers over a separation agreement between the county and a former administrator, following a pair of reports by The Rock River Times.

Transform Rockford Endorses Home Rule

Feb 22, 2018
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Transform Rockford on Wednesday announced it supports the return of home rule to Rockford.

Spokesmen say the organization stands behind the March 20 referendum because it will allow the city to regain control of a destiny that is currently being controlled by leaders in Springfield.

“We want to seize control of our own destiny, and we want to seize control of whats already happening,” Executive Director Mike Schablaske told reporters at a new conference. “That’s why we’re supportive of this and that’s why we encourage others to be supportive of home rule.”

Rockford Aldermen Reject RMTD Funding Cut

Feb 21, 2018
The Rock River Times

Rockford aldermen on Monday voted down a financial task force recommendation to slash what the city pays the Rockford Mass Transit District by 20 percent.

The vote was 9-5 against cutting $300,000 from the $1.5 million Rockford pays the RMTD. The citizen-led task force recommended the reduction as part of its effort to help city leaders close a projected $10.5 million spending hole.

Renovations Are In The Final Stages At Rockford's Cliffbreakers

Feb 15, 2018

The banquet and meeting facilities at the Cliffbreakers Riverside Hotel and Conference Center are open for business again.

The 30,000 square feet of events space was renovated as part of a $2.5 million overhaul of the complex along the Rock River in the north end of Rockford. The facility’s management group said it was already accepting reservations for 2018.