Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Rockford mayor-elect Tom McNamara takes savors his win during a victory celebration at the Prairie Street Brewhouse last week.


McNamara’s victory margin was convincing

Tom McNamara’s victory in Rockford’s mayoral contest was wide and convincing.

The 34-year-old Democrat earned 15,244 votes — 68.29 percent — in the four-candidate race and carried every Rockford precinct en route to the win on April 4.

Independent Rudy Valdez was second with 3,675 votes (16.5 percent), Republican Brian Leggero was third with 3,043 votes (13.6 percent) and independent Ronnie Manns trailed with 362 votes (1.62 percent).

“I’m grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support and look forward to what’s ahead,” McNamara posted on his Facebook page.

McNamara will take over on May 1, succeeding  Larry Morrissey, a three-term mayor who opted not to seek re-election.

McNamara, a Third Ward Rockford alderman, will have a Democratic majority on the city council as the party will hold eight of 14 seats.

McNamara’s father, John, served as a two-term Rockford mayor in the 1980s.


RVC’s Center for Learning in Retirement won’t move

Rock Valley College’s Center for Learning in Retirement (CLR) will not be relocating at this time and will continue to operate at its current location at 3350 Bell School Road. RVC Board of Trustees members had previously discussed options to relocate the CLR classes to the College’s main campus and sell the property on Bell School Road.

At a recent regular board meeting, trustees agreed not to move forward with relocating the CLR program at this time, however, the program will continue to be evaluated to make sure it is fiscally sustainable.

For over 20 years, Rock Valley College has supported the CLR, a membership program for older adult learners. With over 1,300 members age 50-plus, CLR is one of the largest and most successful lifelong learning institutes in the nation. It has grown from offering just five classes in 1993 to offering over 300 in 2017.

The CLR’s mission is to provide quality lifelong learning for members 50 years and older through diverse educational, cultural, and social opportunities. CLR makes a difference in people’s lives by expanding their minds with knowledge, providing diverse opportunities for personal growth, promoting connections with other people who share similar interests, and allowing for lots of fun along the way. In addition to classes, trips, and social events, CLR offers Special Interest Groups, which meet on a regular basis for continued learning and enjoyment.

Learn more at


Sample the world at RU food festival

America is a nation of immigrants with a diversity of backgrounds, but one thing is universal across cultures—everybody eats.

“There’s something so basic about sharing your food,” said Maria Diemer, director of Global Affairs at Rockford University. “And every culture can relate to that beautiful memory of sharing a meal together.”

You can sample your way around the world at Rockford University’s annual International Food Festival from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22. The Office of Global Affairs and Multicultural Club are hosting a taste of what’s in store with a free precursor to the festival, “Around the World in 50 Minutes,” at noon Wednesday, April 12. Both events will be in Regents Hall, located on the second floor of the Burpee Student Center.

IFF has gotten bigger along with Rockford University’s international student population, which itself has grown about five times over in as many years. Today, roughly a tenth of the campus hails from outside the United States, with 114 internationals students representing 26 countries.

Tickets for the festival are $10 in advance or $12 at the event, with children’s tickets $5 in advance or $6 at the event. Doors open at 4:30 to whisk you around the world without leaving RU’s campus at 5050 E. State St., Rockford. For more information, contact 815-394-5112 or

–Winnebago County News Briefs–