Winnebago County News Briefs

A Rockford Park District tour of public art continues this week with 1½-hour tour along the Rock River Recreation Path departs on select Thursdays from Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens.


RU plans $1.2 milion in campus improvements

Rockford University said it is investing $1.2 million in improvements to its campus, with the majority of work taking place during the summer months and prior to the University’s first day of classes on in late August.

Approved by the Board of Trustees in May, the scope of work will impact virtually every area of campus. Approximately $600,000 of the $1.2 million has been dedicated to residence hall improvements.

Since 2008, the University has invested $25 million and made substantial improvements to its physical plant, including the 2015 renovations to the Burpee Student Center and Seaver Physical Education Center that totaled more than $5 million, and the recently completed $1 million modernization of the Starr Science Center. This summer’s project plan will focus on those elements that have the greatest impact to the overall student experience.

“Balancing projects that include needs for new furniture, carpet, windows, exterior lighting and sidewalks with items like backup generators, chiller pumps, coils, and electrical system upgrades allow us to enjoy the excitement of sharing the visible transformations with our students and guests,” said Senior Director of Operations Ed Tomaszkiewicz. “At the same time, (it gives) us increased peace of mind that we are investing in what’s necessary to support the needs of a busy and growing campus.”

More than 60 projects are currently underway with the majority of work occurring prior to undergraduate students returning in early August. The construction does not impact the University existing variety of summer camps or classes that take place throughout the summer.

Additional renovation work in residence halls, student lounges, classrooms and campus grounds will continue into the fall.  Undergraduate students will return to campus beginning in early August.


Park District offers free public art walking tours

Enjoy viewing an eclectic, unique collection of public art while getting the benefits of refreshing outdoor exercise by taking a free outdoor public art guided walking tour.

The Rockford Park District’s award-winning two-mile scenic walk and organized 1½-hour (approximately) tour along the Rock River Recreation Path departs on select Thursdays June through September,(weather permitting) at 11 a.m. from the lobby of Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, 1354 N. Second St. and features 16 unique sculptures, some of which are works by local artists, and many of which were donated to the Park District.

Remaining scheduled tour dates for 2018 are July 12, August 16, and Sept. 13.

Participants should dress for the weather, and wear walking shoes.

Additional works of art can be viewed inside the Conservatory, where daily admission fees apply. The public can also take self-guided tours by picking up a free Public Art Walking Tour brochure inside the Conservatory.


Museum names new executive director

A person with 10 years of museum experience is the new executive director of the Midwest Museum of Natural History in Sycamore.

Jessica Landau has experience in fundraising, educational programming and curatorial work. She comes from the Wildwood Nature Center in Park Ridge, Ill., where she was lead instructor. She also curated several exhibits as the associate curator at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyo.

Landau received her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow, where she examined taxidermy in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Her knowledge specialties include natural history and the way animals are depicted in images and objects.

While executive director at the museum, Landau will continue her doctoral studies in art history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 


Trends for excessive heat, rainfall continue

According to preliminary data, Illinois experienced its 11th warmest and 14th wettest June on record, and the heat, humidity and high precipitation continued at the beginning of July.

The statewide average temperature for June was 75.0 degrees, 3.1 degrees above normal. The statewide average precipitation was 6.36 inches, 2.15 inches above normal, according to the Illinois State Climatologist.

Statewide, June 2015 was the wettest on record with a statewide average rainfall of 9.44 inches.

The greatest monthly total for this past June in Illinois was 14.58 inches at Rockford.

In addition, the Rockford Airport reported 14.23 inches, their wettest June and wettest month on record. Based on radar and rain gage data, precipitation was especially heavy across northern, east-central, and southeastern Illinois with widespread amounts in the 10 to 14-inch range.

This decade has seen some of the wettest Junes on record with six out of the last 10 years now listed among the highest participation levels since recordkeeping began in 1895.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–