Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blood center struggles for donations, tries to breaks myths about giving - WREX News

ROCKFORD (WREX) - It's a time of year that most people want to give back and there's a way you can do that locally that won't cost you a dime.

The Rock River Valley Blood Center, especially during these shortened holiday weeks, is in desperate need of supply. But before you list a reason why "you can't" find out if you are believing one of the myths out there about donating.

Read the full story at: http://www.wrex.com/story/24299073/2013/12/24/blood-center-breaks-down-myths-about-donating

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rockford Public Schools Closed Friday December 20th

I just received a call from the Rockford Public School District, all classes cancelled and the administration building closed due to worsening weather conditions.

6:45 AM, Friday, December 20, 2013

Visit http://www.rockfordweathernews.com for more school closing information and updated weather information.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

River City Sound Chorus Concert with Tripping Tarzan Oct 5th

Get your tickets today for 
River City Sound Chorus'
"Chocolate is Good"
Annual Concert and Dessert Extravaganza
Saturday, October 5, 2013

 River City Sound is our region's award winning Sweet Adeline chorus.

There are two performances, one afternoon and one evening performance. The evening performance includes a show by favorite local band Tripping Tarzan.

Tickets are still available for both performances.

Visit http://www.rivercitysound.org for details.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Perfect day to go to Valley Orchard in Cherry Valley!

It is a great day for apples, raspberries, mums and more at Valley Orchard in Cherry Valley.

Here is a note from their website (http://thevalleyorchard.com/)...

"UPDATE…..Sept. 22, 2013: 100% PURE apple cider, Honey Crisp, Wolf River, Ozark Gold, Senshu, Snow Sweet, Early Fuji, Cortland, and Jonathan apples are ready. Our beautiful, hardy mums are now available. Currently for U-pick, we have Jonamac, McIntosh, Cortland, Senshu, Fuji, Jonathan and Snow Sweet apples plus an ABUNDANCE of luscious raspberries. Also we have great apple cider donuts, scrumptious apple cinnamon bread, awesome apple pies made with our own apples, delicious taffy apples, smooth as butter fudge, tomatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, rutabagas, and peppers. Squash and gourds SOON (maybe today). Our u-pick pumpkins are terrific! The store offers a nice selection of giftware also. Come create new memories the old fashioned way… one delicious apple at a time. Hours of operation: Monday thru Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We look forward to your visit and hope to see you soon."

Visit http://thevalleyorchard.com/, better yet visit the orchard!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No need for restrictive voter ID laws

By David Soll

I am a voter registrar here in Winnebago County, and it worries me that many people are being given false information about voter registration and supposed armies of people trying to vote multiple times across America. I hope to clarify a few things as it pertains to voter registration, voting and a supposed conspiracy of massive voter fraud.

When you register to vote through a person like me, I will ask you to show me whatever ID necessary to prove you are who you say you are. I will fill out the form based on the information on your ID, and once the form is completed, I have you sign it. It is at that moment that your signature becomes your ID when you go vote. In other words, once you are registered to vote, you have already shown ID...

Read David Soll's complete commentary at his website: http://davidsoll2012.com/no-need-for-restrictive-voter-id-laws/.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Friends of the Kishwaukee River picnic, Thursday, September 19th

The Friends of the Kishwaukee River organization is having a potluck picnic, Thursday, September 19, 2013, 5:30 PM, at the first picnic shelter in Baumann Park, Cherry Valley, IL.

The shelter is adjacent to the playground – families are encouraged to attend.

Friends of the Kish will provide chicken, water and lemonade. Please bring a side dish.

Any friend of the Kishwaukee River is invited. We are encouraging “friends of the Kish” to talk to us about what they feel needs to be done to promote, protect and enjoy the river.

We hope you can join us.

Allen Penticoff
Friends of the Kishwaukee River


Tech-Friendly: Android smartphone antivirus protection

By Paul Gorski

Do you need an antivirus program for your Android OS-based smartphone? Maybe. Before you download an AV program for that phone of yours, follow these basic guidelines: 1) only download apps from the Google Play Store, 2) be wary even of apps at the Google Play Store, and 3) upgrade to the most current version of Android OS that your device will support, without breaking normal Android security. Follow these precautions, and you’ll be pretty safe.

You will find “technical” articles implying that you need an AV app for your Android smartphone. For example: “Russia’s Massive Android Malware Industry Revealed” (http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/mobile-security/314386-russia-s-massive-android-malware-industry-revealed) and “Android Malware Genome Project” (http://www.malgenomeproject.org/).

Then, you have security experts who lean toward not installing AV apps on Android devices, “RSA: Do You Need Mobile Anti-Virus?” (http://www.esecurityplanet.com/mobile-security/rsa-do-you-need-mobile-anti-virus.html).

You’ll also find articles that report that Android AV apps simply don’t work, including: “Most Android anti-virus products don’t work, tests find” (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/46644153/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/most-android-anti-virus-products-dont-work-tests-find/#.Uf_Xa-BK1Rh).

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Press Release
For Immediate release
September 15, 2013
Contact: Kathi at 877-475-7729

October is keep your pet healthy month!

Cherry Valley, IL: SPAY ILLINOIS Pet Well Clinic offers low cost pet vaccines, spay/neuter and wellness care all year long. But during the month of October we are offering are low cost service to the Cherry Valley Area. We will be at the Doggie Day Spa located at 300 East State Street Cherry Valley, Il. Appointments are necessary so call 877-475-7729 to schedule yours. We will be holding the clinic on Saturday Oct 12th from 9-3 and there are no residency or income restrictions. The clinic is open to everyone.

You can bring your dog in for their annual vaccines and for only $65 you will receive a rabies vaccine (county tag additional), 6 in 1 distemper combo, bordetella, heartworm test, and this even includes the exam and office visit. If you have a cat it’s only $45.00 and includes the office visit, exam, distemper combo, and rabies vaccine (county tag is additional).

SPAY ILLINOIS is also offering an awesome deal on Frontline plus purchase a 3 pack and receive a dose free, purchase 6 doses and receive 2 free doses. You can also have your pet micro-chipped through us for $25.00 and this includes the registration.

SPAY ILLINOIS is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending euthanasia in companion animals by providing low cost spay/neuter and wellness services to local communities. Call us at 877-475-7729 to schedule your appointment today!


Career press release: Tricoci University of Beauty Culture

Editor's Note: We're expanding our coverage, and now offering to print locally-focused press releases. Here is one such press release.

Written Exclusively for Winnebago County News
By: April Cauthen, Education Supervisor with
Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, Rockford Campus

While we are a little sad to see the summer end, we can’t help but love this time of year because the most exciting part of going back to school (in our minds) is showing off new hair, makeup and fashion trends.  We’ve pulled together some of our favorites to help you be a trendsetter this 2013-14 school year. 

Top Hair Looks
Messy is still “in” so don’t fret, your hair shouldn’t look perfect.  Whether your hair is long like Shainlene Woodley’s or shorter like Zendaya’s, this look works for anyone. 

·       A fishtail (i.e. loose braid) is one of the hottest messy looks this season.  It is nothing more than a two strand braid- right to left, left to right.  Once you secure it, pull loosely throughout the braid to mess it up a bit. 

·       Half-up styles are another quick and easy way to add a little fun to your look.  Use bobby pins, a cute barrette or a braid to pull back half of your hair and secure.  Remember, unintentional is in, keep it messy.

·       Fall and winter is the perfect time to rock full fringe bangs.  For an edgier look, choose a dramatic and shorter line like Willow Smith and for a softer and breezy look, keep a little more length and curl slightly under like Taylor Swift.  Fringe looks good with straight, wavy, short and long locks.

Top Makeup Looks
Makeup is all about color this season and there are so many ways to go with this.

·       For a more natural, everyday makeup look at school, try applying some light pink or peach to your cheeks, fresh mascara and a light gloss.

·       To jazz up your look on the weekends, or for special occasions, experiment with fake lashes, a thin line of black eyeliner to upper lid line and a coral colored lip.

·       More than anything, be sure to have fun with lip colors this fall.  Play around with what looks good on your skin and try something red, or bright that you’ve never done before. You will be surprised at how much this can transform your look and you will be sure to turn heads.

Top Fashion Trends
We can’t talk about hair and makeup trends and not mention fashion. 

·       Glasses are one of the latest fashion accessories for the kids, teens and tweens.  Whether you need the prescription or not, glasses are an awesome way to add a little flavor to your look.  Tons of celebs and models are wearing them- why shouldn’t we? 

·       Leather and faux leather is everywhere these days whether featured as a tuxedo stripe down your pants, or as an added pop to jackets and shirts.  Rock it.

April Cauthen is an Educational Supervisor at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture’s Rockford campus.  Examples of April’s back-to-school beauty tips can be found on the school’s Instagram and Facebook pages.  The beauty school is also gearing up for its own back-to-school kick-off.  For students interested in enrolling, the school offers full time courses beginning September 24th or part time courses beginning September 16th.  Call 630-373-1893 for more information on enrollment at the Rockford campus location or visit www.TricociUniversity.com.

Maggio still challenging landfill expansion vote

By Paul Gorski
Special Report

Martin “Marty” Maggio is waiting for another day in court regarding his challenge of the Winnebago County Board’s decision in July 2012 to approve the expansion of the Winnebago Landfill (WLC). Maggio’s is one of four unrelated lawsuits pending against the landfill.

Maggio challenged the board’s expansion vote in August 2012, claiming, “that WLC failed to properly serve notice of the subject proceeding in accordance with the requirements of §39.2(b) of the Act, 415 ILCS 5/39.2(b).” In layman’s terms, as a nearby landowner, he claims he was not properly notified of the public hearings as required by law, invalidating the hearing process. Proper notification is required to give residents time to prepare for the hearings.

The challenge was first heard by the Illinois Pollution Control Board, which ruled in March 2013 to let the expansion vote stand. Maggio has appealed this decision and expects to be back in court in October.

Maggio also claimed in his original lawsuit that the board was influenced by information offered outside the formal review process and that “the County Board prejudged the Application” for the expansion contrary to hearing process law. Maggio withdrew this part of the suit in January 2013, despite possible evidence to support the claim.

Read the entire article at The Rock River Times website: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/09/11/maggio-still-challenging-landfill-expansion-vote/

River City Sound "Chocolate is Good" October 5

River City Sound Chorus
"Chocolate is Good"
Annual Dessert Extravaganza
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Visit http://www.rivercitysound.org for details.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rockford Recycle Center to open Sept. 14

LOVES PARK, Ill. — “Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful is excited to announce that it is opening a new Recycle Center in Rockford, to serve more area residents and businesses,” Executive Director Lori Gummow told The Rock River Times. “We want to make it easier for more of the greater Rockford community to help protect the environment, including our water resources, by keeping recyclables and reusables out of the waste stream.

“Starting Saturday, Sept. 14, there will be a volunteer-run Recycle Center, open from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday, at 4665 Hydraulic Road, Rockford,” she added.

Read the entire Rock River Times staff report at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/09/04/rockford-recycle-center-to-open-sept-14/.

Meet John Doe: Get involved — run for local office

By Paul Gorski

Some people contribute to the community with donations, others through volunteerism, and yet others by running for public office. The filing period for the 2014 election cycle began Sept. 3, and the race is on to get petition signatures. Circulate your nominating petitions now!

What are nominating petitions, you ask? An election cycle primer is in order.

Oversimplifying it a bit, there are three major election cycles locally: presidential, gubernatorial and municipal. Certain years, we elect the president of the United States and certain other local and county officials. Voter turnout is greatest during presidential elections.

And in still other years, usually in the spring of certain odd-numbered years, we elect municipal (city), township, school board and other local officials. Voter turnout for these elections is the weakest, sometimes amounting to 20 percent or less of eligible voters.

We’re in a gubernatorial election cycle now. In November 2014, we will be voting for governor and other major state officers. We will also be voting for U.S. senator and U.S. congressional representatives, in addition to state representatives and certain state senators and court judges. Local races include Winnebago County Sheriff, Clerk, and Treasurer; some county board members; and a few other local officials. Voter turnout is good, but not great, for these races...

Tech-Friendly: ‘Verizon Wireless named best in Rockford’ — beware the PR machine

By Paul Gorski

I was recently forwarded an e-mail: “Verizon Wireless named best in Rockford, and opens new cell sites,” which contained a link to a local smartphone study. You might even find a copy of the “news” online here at The Rock River Times. Beware the PR (public relations) machine!

The embedded link sent me to a Root Metrics (http://rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/united-states/rockford/rockford-il-september-2013/) smartphone study. The study gives a marginal lead to Verizon Wireless over AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in Rockford. However, the study completely neglects a major Rockford carrier, US Cellular.

A description of the survey methods is posted at: http://rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/united-states/rockford/rockford-il-september-2013/#methodology. There, I found a major flaw in the test methodology: different phones were used for the different carriers. Samsung Android-based phones were used to test the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile networks, whereas an HTC Droid DNA was used to test the Verizon network...

Read the entire article on The Rock River Times website: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/09/11/tech-friendly-%E2%80%98verizon-wireless-named-best-in-rockford%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-beware-the-pr-machine/

Local residents, IEPA challenge Winnebago Landfill

By Paul Gorski
Special Report

As reported in “Local residents take action, file suit against Winnebago Landfill” (Aug. 21-27 issue), more than 160 residents living near the Winnebago Landfill recently filed a lawsuit claiming the landfill created an odor “nuisance” through the “recurrent release of air pollution and landfill gases …” that has caused “plaintiffs significant inconvenience, annoyance and discomfort as well as the loss of use and enjoyment of their properties.”

When asked about this suit, John Lichty, CEO of Rock River Environmental Services, parent company for the landfill, stated, “It is our policy to not comment on matters that are the subject of pending litigation.”

The Winnebago Landfill began as “Pagel’s Landfill” in 1972 and has grown considerably since then, with further expansion approved by the Winnebago County Board in 2012. In recent years, millions of “tipping fee” dollars from the landfill have been pumped into the local economy, under the direction of the county board, paying for many local programs that would have likely gone unfunded.

The economic impact of the landfill is not in dispute. Local residents and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) claim the landfill has violated pollution regulation laws...

Read the entire article at The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/09/04/local-residents-iepa-challenge-winnebago-landfill/

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Meet John Doe: Labor unions play a vital role in our local economy today

By Paul Gorski

Organized labor has been critical to the Rockford-area economy for decades. Families, local businesses and the local economy have all benefited from living-wage jobs in a variety of areas: education, government, building trades and manufacturing, just to name a few.

Before the union-naysayers start rebelling: if we didn’t have living-wage jobs, we wouldn’t have the variety of stores and businesses we have. Retail follows the money — it follows disposable income.

Furthermore, local unions contribute to a variety of local charitable organizations, supporting the community and furthering the missions of nonprofit groups.

So, when Chrysler adds a new car to its line-up or UTC Aerospace Systems gets a new government contract, we benefit locally from that good fortune. Good wages, put back into the local economy, have ripple effects that have direct and indirect benefits for all of us.
The jobs that come with manufacturing and engineering industries are key to revitalizing our current economy. That’s my focus here.

UAW Local 592 represents nearly 1,000 active and retired members. Many of 592’s retirees worked for the former Sundstrand Corp., but through a series of mergers, Sundstrand became Hamilton Sundstrand and in 2012 became United Technology Corporation Aerospace Systems (UTAS). UTAS is, as was Sundstrand, a major aerospace technology supplier...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Tech-Friendly: AT&T is the country’s largest employer of full-time union labor

By Paul Gorski

I recently read this article, “IBEW Ratifies Agreement Covering AT&aT Wireline Employees,” at http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=24176&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=36413. AT&T is an extremely large communications company, which, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides landline (wireline) and wireless phone and Internet services, in addition to voice and cloud services, and a wee bit more.

I knew that AT&T employed union labor, but I didn’t realize how many union jobs AT&T had created. According to the article, AT&T has 83,000 wireline employees represented by Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). That number doesn’t include the wireless employees represented by unions.

Marty Richter, spokesman for AT&T, informs me: “AT&T is the country’s largest employer of full-time union labor, and the only major U.S. wireless company with a union-represented workforce. About 55 percent of our more than 245,000 employees are union-represented.” By my calculations, that means nearly 135,000 union jobs...

Read the entire article at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/08/28/tech-friendly-att-is-the-country%E2%80%99s-largest-employer-of-full-time-union-labor/ .

Monday, September 02, 2013

Meet John Doe: Unions are an extension of your rights of free speech, freedom to assemble

By Paul Gorski

There’s much coverage in the press these days about gun rights, abortion rights and freedom of religion, but also much union bashing. Seems some people feel unions are to blame for our local and state budget crises. That is simply not true.

First and foremost, unions are an extension of your rights to free speech and freedom to assemble. You may not like unions, you may love them, or you may be indifferent to them. However, if you allow others to restrict your rights to organize, you’re giving up your fundamental rights little by little, whether you belong to a union or not. I say you must defend these rights, whether you agree 100 percent with union policies or not.

While union benefit payments are part of some government budget problems, they are not the cause. Who negotiates those pension and benefit packages? Your elected politicians and their staffs. Who spent the benefit contributions instead of depositing them into benefit fund accounts? Your elected leaders. If you want to improve the system, elect leaders who are better contract negotiators and fund managers — don’t blame the unions...

Read the entire commentary at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2012/08/01/meet-john-doe-unions-are-an-extension-of-your-rights-of-free-speech-freedom-to-assemble/

(This article was originally published in the Rock River Times in August 2012.) 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Local residents take action, file suit against Winnebago Landfill | The Rock River Times

By Paul Gorski
Special Report

More than 160 residents living near the Winnebago Landfill filed a lawsuit against Winnebago Landfill, LLC, and Winnebago Reclamation Services, Inc. (WRS), Aug. 5. The filed paperwork refers to both companies jointly as the "WRS Landfill." The suit seeks financial awards for personal discomfort and loss of use and enjoyment of their properties. Todd S. Hageman of the Simon Law Firm, P.C., of St. Louis, is representing the residents.

The primary goal of this lawsuit is not to close the landfill, but to award damages to the residents filing suit, and to encourage the landfill to solve the landfill odor problem.

One of the plaintiffs, Kristin Ricker, stated: "At the end of it all, we want to be able to put our screens on and open our windows for the very first time since we moved here almost three years ago now; to enjoy a fresh, clean and cool breeze like everyone else does."...

Read the Rock River Times article at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/08/21/local-residents-take-action-file-suit-against-winnebago-landfill/

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tech-Friendly: Google to court: Gmail users should not expect privacy | The Rock River Times

by Paul Gorski

Consumer Watchdog recently reported that Google filed court documents that imply that Gmail e-mail may not be private. Read the Consumerwatchdog.org column athttp://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/google-tells-court-you-cannot-expect-privacy-when-sending-messages-gmail-people-who-care.
Google's court filing states: "Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient's [email provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, 'a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.'"...
Read the Rock River Times article at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/08/21/tech-friendly-google-to-court-gmail-users-should-not-expect-privacy/

Meet John Doe: Invite friends and family to Rockford for Labor Day | The Rock River Times

by Paul Gorski

I'm on the road to Chicago most business days, and very often, I take a bus to the Chicago Amtrak station. I wrote about this service and my good experiences with it last year — "Guest Column: Don't wait for the train — take the bus to Amtrak, O'Hare and Midway" (June 27-July 3, 2012, issue). Read the article online at http://rockrivertimes.com/2012/06/27/guest-column-don%E2%80%99t-wait-for-the-train-%E2%80%94-take-the-bus-to-amtrak-o%E2%80%99hare-and-midway/.

Friends told me recently they were hesitant to hit the highways this Labor Day weekend, or have family come to visit, because of the road construction on I-90. I told them they had little to worry about...

Read the full Rock River Times article at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/08/21/meet-john-doe-invite-friends-and-family-to-rockford-for-labor-day/

Thursday, July 18, 2013

River City Sound Moonlight Bowling Fundraiser - July 19th

River City Sound Moonlight Bowling Fundraiser
Don Carter Lanes in Rockford, IL 
River City Sound, 2013 Regional Champions, will be raising money for their trip to International Competition in 2014.  We are also helping Sweet Adelines International raise money for all of their educational programs. 
July 19th will be a night of bowling and barbershop fun for the whole family!  There will be Singing, Silent Auctions, 50/50, Raffles, Prizes and more! 
6:00 pm Check-in and 6:30 Bowling
Tickets for those who wish to bowl will be $20 for shoes, pizza, and three games.  They can be bought directly from a chorus member. 
Don't like to bowl or can't attend? Feel free to donate to this fundraising event by clicking the link on this page or by contacting your favorite chorus member!  You can also sponsor a chorus member to bowl in the Bass Clef vs. Treble Clef competition (please pay chorus member directly).

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