Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media
A 51-year-old Niles, Ill. man and a 37-year-old from Des Plaines were arrested last week following an indictment by a grand jury in connection with a fire that burned down the Asher Tool Plant on 11th St.  in January. George Bacus and Jeremiah Clement were charged with conspiring to grow marijuana plants in the vacant building. Two other men also charged remain at large.

A 51-year-old Niles, Ill. man and a 37-year-old from Des Plaines were arrested last week following an indictment by a grand jury in connection with a fire that burned down the Asher Tool Plant on 11th St. in January. George Bacus and Jeremiah Clement were charged with conspiring to grow marijuana plants in the vacant building. Two other men also charged remain at large.

Winnebago Forest Preserve helps in storm cleanup

The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County has donated materials, equipment and staff labor to assist with cleanup and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the April 9 storm damage in the region.

Four days after the storm, two truckloads of surplus fencing material were transported to Summerfield Zoo in Belvidere, where storm damage had wiped out buildings and enclosures. The donation of fencing materials allowed surviving animals to be safely held until permanent structures are rebuilt.

On April 17, FPWC’s arborists and a technician were dispatched to the town of Fairdale to assist with the cleanup of debris. FPWC’s three staffers, a bucket truck, skid steer and dump truck were at the scene all day and were dispatched again to Fairdale three days later.

“I know that the cleanup effort needed specialized heavy equipment and people that know how to run it,” said Forest Preserves of Winnebago County executive director Mike Holan. “We were able to spare ours for a couple days, so I decided we should lend a hand. We want to be good neighbors.”

 

 District invites hikers for monthly park walks

The Rockford Park District invites beginning and experienced hikers to join the Atwood Adult Hiking Club one Tuesday a month for one-hour hikes that begin promptly at 9 a.m., and take place in a different location each time.

Enjoy exercise, meeting friends, and exploring nature on hikes led by the Park District’s Environmental Recreation & Education staff, who will provide information about the various aspects of nature sights and habitat along the way. Participants under age 18 should be accompanied by an adult; no registration is required for this free drop-in program.

The next hikes are scheduled for May 12 at Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. 2nd St., Rockford (meet at golf clubhouse), and June 2 at the Midway Village Museum paved loop path, 6799 Guilford Rd., Rockford (meet in museum parking lot).

Monthly hiking dates and locations can be found in the Upcoming Events calendars at www.rockfordparkdistrict.org. Hike locations are subject to change; call 815-874-7576 to confirm, or if weather is questionable.

The hiking club is one of many free and fun activities offered by the Rockford Park District. More information on Atwood Center programs, events, facility rentals, and group activities and retreats is available at www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/atwood. For information on disability support and accessibility for people with disabilities, call Customer Service at 815-987-8800.

 

Veteran RPS administrator returns to lead East High

Rockford Public Schools today announced the appointment of a former RPS 205 teacher and administrator to lead East High School for the 2015-16 school year. Dr. Peter J. Verona has spent the past four years as Principal at Byron High School. He will take over East in July, pending board approval.

Verona has nearly 20 years of education experience as a teacher, student support specialist and administrator. He has worked as an Assistant Principal in RPS 205 at Jefferson and Guilford high schools.

“After a rigorous interview process, it’s clear that Dr. Verona is the best candidate to lead East High School,” said Dr. Theodore Hickman, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary. “He meets the key attributes East staff wants in a principal. He is a dedicated leader with experience supporting students, helping teachers master their craft and establishing strong community relationships.”
Verona is a Rockford native and grew up less than a mile from East High School. He is developing a plan to start the school year and build relationships with parents, staff and students.

He wrote in a letter to East High School parents that he is committed to East High School’s success: “East High School has just celebrated 75 years of student achievement and success in education. The community and alumni came together to share in this celebration, and I am honored to become part of this family of students, parents, graduates, and educators. We will begin next year with a building that is being transformed into a 21st century learning facility, and I look forward to serving our students as they take East into the next 75 years of success and achievement.”