Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Rockford’s annual July 4th Fireworks begin around 9:30 p.m. and premium viewing is available at Davis Park.


Parade, fireworks highlight Fourth of July

Rockford’s annual fourth of July celebration will include a parade through downtown and a fireworks spectacular at Davis Park.

Presented by Fire and Ice, the 55th annual Patriotic Parade is scheduled to being at 7 p.m. and viewing is free.

The parade forms on 7th Street and 6th, 5th and 4th Avenues. The Parade then proceeds north on 7th Street to State Street, west on State Street to Wyman Street, south on Wyman Street (past the reviewing stand) to Chestnut Street, west on Chestnut Street to disband point of Chestnut and Winnebago Streets.

Fireworks begin around 9:30 p.m. and premium viewing is available at Davis Park.

Some 5,000 shells from all over the world will be ignited in a 30 minute show synchronized to music.

There will be a full 3-minute finale which will feature a shell exploding in the air every 1 ½ seconds.


McNamara to host Mayor’s Night Out

Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara will hold his first Mayor’s Night Out on Wednesday, June 27, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Lucha Cantina, 1641 N. Alpine.

Similar to the Mayor’s Coffee Talk series, this event  allows Rockford residents the opportunity to speak directly with  McNamara about municipal issues.

When participants arrive, they can sign up for a five-minute one-on-one conversation with the Mayor. The discussions are held on a first-come, first-served basis.


JusticeCorps helps people navigate legal system

The AmeriCorps JusticeCorps places volunteers in courthouses to help people without lawyers navigate the judicial system.

The Winnebago County Courthouse in Rockford is an Illinois JusticeCorps site.

Time commitments for volunteers range from 300 hours up to 1,700 hours; summer, semester, or full year opportunities are available. Volunteers may qualify for an Education Award for education expenses or for federal loan repayment. If you are 55 or older, the Education Award may also be transferable to your child, stepchild, foster child, grandchild or step-grandchild.

For more details, please visit: or contact Jenna Kearns of JusticeCorps at 872-444-6620 or


State aging department warns against elder abuse

June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois, and the state’s Department on Aging (IDoA) is encouraging “Building Strong Support for Elders.” That’s the theme of this year’s recognition, which emphasizes the importance of strengthening communities and preventing elder abuse.

Jean Bohnhoff, director of IDoA, calls elder abuse “a silent epidemic,” and one that has to end.

In 2017, Adult Protective Services at IDoA responded to more than 16,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of adults with disabilities and adults 60 years of age and older. Financial exploitation represents 54 percent of elder abuse cases, and victims generally experience more than one type of abuse, i.e., financial abuse is highly associated with emotional abuse at 43 percent.

To report suspected abuse, call the 24-hour elder abuse hotline at 866-800-1409.


Curator named for Governor’s mansion

The newly renovated Illinois Governor’s Mansion has a new curator. He is Justin A. Blandford, who will be responsible for creating and implementing the mansion’s new strategic vision, which includes a greater focus on history, education, creative arts and visitor experiences. As curator, he will be the Mansion’s liaison with the Springfield historical community and ensure the mansion’s place among the city’s historic sites.  

Blandford will lead the development of events and marketing programs to attract visitors to the mansion, which is the third oldest governor’s mansion in use today. In addition, he will manage day-to-day operations, oversee maintenance of the grounds and the facility, and manage the mansion’s workforce and volunteers. 

The mansion is now being promoted as The People’s House, encouraging the public to enjoy the building and learn state history from it.  

Blandford has been a historic site superintendent in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since 2004. Most recently he directed operations at six nationally significant state-owned historic sites: Lincoln Tomb, Veterans Memorials, Old State Capitol, Lincoln Law Office, Vachel Lindsay Home and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana House.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–