Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media


Park district, Arboretum team up to preserve trees

Rockford Park District has partnered with the Lisle-based Morton Arboretum on a new initiative called “Forest City Tree Keepers.”

Volunteers with the newly-established Forest City Tree Keepers will work to preserve, maintain, and track more than 24,000 trees throughout the District. They will also help promote and improve the health of the District’s trees by helping to inventory every tree, as well as water, mulch, prune, and plant trees.

A kick-off event was held last Saturday to help volunteers learn more about their environmental responsibilities and plant trees 10 trees.

“Forest City Tree Keepers is something anyone can take part in, as we will provide education and guidance,” said said Nathan Hill, Rockford Park District Horticulture Supervisor. “Studies show that beautification in urban areas reduces crime and increases community pride. Citizens who contribute to the care of parkland, particularly trees, will likely take greater ownership of parks and other neighborhood assets,”

Forest City Tree Keepers will meet each third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the following dates: May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, and Oct 21. Monthly meetings will be at various sites throughout the Rockford Park District, where volunteers will receive educational trainings about various topics.

Anyone interested in learning more about Forest City Tree Keepers can contact Taylor Hennelly, Rockford Park District Arborist, at (815) 987-1596. Volunteer information is also found online at


RU to host third ‘Day of Giving’

Rockford University will hold its third annual Day of Giving on Wednesday, April 26 with goal of harnessing the power of social media during a 24-hour blitz to raise funds for student scholarships.

This year, proceeds will directly support Rockford University’s participation in the Rubin Education Challenge with a dollar to dollar match, doubling the impact for every dollar given.

In December 2015, Rockford University and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) announced the University’s participation in the Rubin Education Challenge, a challenge grant offered by CFNIL to build scholarship endowments benefiting local students with financial need who attend local post-secondary institutions.

Together, Rockford University and CFNIL will build a $3 million endowment, with CFNIL matching every dollar contributed by the University and its donors. The program is named after Dr. Louis and Violet Rubin whose $24.5 million gift to CFNIL made the matching endowments possible.

Each year, Rockford University awards more than $10 million in institutional aid, scholarship and grants, including $2 million awarded directly to students from the region.

To participate or follow Rockford University’s progress during the 2017 Day of Giving, connect with the University’s primary social media channels and use hashtags #RUNeedsU and #WeAreReady2017!


U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters to Perform at East

Tickets are now available for the United States Navy Band Sea Chanters performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, in the East High School auditorium.

The U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters is the official chorus of the United States Navy. The group has appeared throughout the United States and performs frequently at the White House, the Vice President’s house, and for dignitaries at Washington embassies. 

The Sea Chanters are presented as a public service to the community, free of charge. Tickets are required; contact Emily Tropp for ticket information: 815-966-8960. More about the United States Navy Band:


Thomas finalists for two Hugo awards

Lynne Thomas, head of Rare Books and Distinctive Collections for NIU Libraries, is a finalist once again for two World Science Fiction Society Hugo Awards, the most prominent recognition for excellence in science fiction and fantasy work. These most recent nominations make Thomas an 11-time finalist across several categories, with four previous wins.

The Hugo awards are voted on by a group of individuals who have chosen to participate in voting, making receiving a nomination much more significant because it means the award is a direct recognition from the science fiction and fantasy community. The winners will be announced on Friday, August 11, at the Hugo Awards Ceremony in Helsinki, Finland.

Thomas is a finalist in the categories of “Best Semiprozine” and “Best Editor, Short Form.” She won in the “Best Semiprozine” category last year. This is the first time she’s been a finalist in the “Best Editor, Short Form” category.

The work she is nominated for is published in Uncanny Magazine, which is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine featuring fiction and poetry, prose and nonfiction. Thomas is co-editor and publisher of the magazine, which has contributors ranging from the award-winning leading voices of the field to emerging talents.

She also moderated the Hugo-Award winning SF Squeecast and contributes to the Verity! Podcast. Thomas said most of her projects are collaborative in nature, which has helped her to be so prolific.

–Winnebago County News Briefs–