Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media


Weather Service says Jan. 1 temp set record

The week from Christmas to New Year’s Eve was the second coldest Dec 25-31 on record for Chicago and the coldest for Rockford, according to the National Weather Service.

Rockford recorded a -1 high temperature on Jan. 1 while Chicago had a high of 1 degree for the coldest New Year’s Day on record for that day.

The Rockford, high temperature broke the record of 4 degrees set in 1974. The low was -7, also breaking a record of -7, breaking the record of -3 also set in 1974.


Rockford K Mart among 64 to close nationwide

One of two remaining K Mart stores in Rockford is set to close in early spring, according to an announcement by parent company Sears Holdings late last week.

The K Mart at 1321 Sandy Hollow Road is scheduled to close in April and a liquidation sale could begin as early as this week. The store at 5909 East State St. on Rockford’s far east side will remain open.

K Mart will close 64 stores nationwide, including Illinois outlets in West Frankfort and Mount Verson. Thirty-nine Sears stories will also close, incluidng three in Illinois:  Orland Park, Bourbonais and Marian.

“We will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members,” Sears said in a statement.

The Sears store at Cherry Vale Mall also will remain open.


County, Rockford join in opoid litigation

Winnebago County and The City of Rockford last week joined forces in litigation against pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers to help stem the tide of the growing opioid addiction crisis.

City and County officials said they’d join legal efforts against companies they believe helped create and grow the current epidemic. The Winnebago County Board and Rockford City Council are expected to formally approve the action at their next meetings.

“Law enforcement is responding to overdose calls, hospitals are seeing the impact and we’re feeling it across all sectors of our community,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney. “We must take action before this epidemic increases.”

Local, state and federal data show a rapid increase in the number of people addicted to opioids in recent years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the number of heroin users jumped from 404,000 in 2002 to 948,000 in 2016, a 135 percent increase.

In Illinois, more people died in 2014 from drug overdoses than homicides or motor vehicle accidents. Locally, Winnebago County saw the number of drug overdose deaths nearly triple in 10 years, from 33 in 2006 to 96 in 2016.

 “Data shows that past use of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for starting and continuing to use heroin,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “Families are being devastated and it’s imperative that drug manufacturers change the way they do business.”


Shelter Reservations Begin Monday, February 5, 2018

The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County will begin taking reservations for use of its shelterhouses for the 2018 season starting on Feb. 5.

The fee to reserve is $50 for small shelterhouses, $75 for large shelterhouses without electricity, and $85 for large shelterhouses with electricity. Non-resident rates are $75, $100 and $115.

Reservations for the Forest Preserves’ 26 shelters will be taken on a first come-first served basis online at and at FPWC headquarters at 5500 Northrock Drive.

Users must pay in full to reserve and confirm a date. Applications may be requested by phone or e-mail but, the district cannot guarantee that the date will still be available when the application and payment is received.


AME breaks ground on $3.5 million expansion

A 30,000-square foot  addition to Advanced Machine & Engineering facility is expected to  bring up to 100 jobs to the local community and increase capacity for several AME product lines.

AME, a global manufacturer and distributor of precision machine tool components and metal cutting solutions, conducted a $3.5 million expansion last month.

“The expansion will not only increase our top line revenue and overall profitability, but more importantly, it will also allow us to grow our market share in our backup power generation business (Genset) that we started 10 years ago,” explains Dietmar Goellner, AME/Hennig Inc. President & CEO. “We must increase capacity quickly to meet customer demand.”

Goellner is excited for the benefits the expansion will bring to the local community, including additional business for their local suppliers, and more manufacturing jobs for the local community.

AME’s apprenticeship,, program is closing the skills gap in manufacturing with on-site paid training, providing the experience needed for a successful career.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–