Winnebago County News Briefs


Park District cuts close $1 million deficit

The Rockford Park District last week cut programs and services and approved measures to increase revenue in a bid to close a $1 million deficit in its 2018 budget.

The district board voted to suspend operations of Trolley Car 36 and the Forest City Queen boat for 2018, close Sand Park Pool and end operations for Harkins Aquatic Center two weeks early.

Among other cuts was the reduction of the free Music in the Park summer concert series and elimination of free music lessons.  The district also trimmed four full-time positions.

“A decline in revenue both through fees and a declining tax base, aging infrastructure, along with population and demographic shifts that impact our fee revenue have made it extremely difficult to provide the same level of service as in past years,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine in a statement.

“We are running out of ways to scale back our service without having a significant impact on the youth we serve. The District is focused on making a stronger investment in youth, along with a recommitment to our core services and neighborhood parks, which are the backbone of our community.”

The district approved expansion of house at the Washington Park Community Center and increased support for the Rockford Park District Police.

Revenue enhancements would come from introduction of video gaming at select locations, price increases in programs and rentals and increased Foundation support.


Art Museum hosts Saturday artisan sale and show

The Rockford Art Museum hosts an Artisan Market from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday at its riverfront location, 711 N. Main St.

The $7 admission includes admission to the market and museum plus a 10 percent discount on museum memberships.

The show and sale features more than 20 artists and artisans and their art, block printing, ceramics, illustration, jewelry and accessories, photography, painting and more.

Admission proceeds help support museum exhibitions and education programs.


Sign up now for RPS special programs lottery

Families are encouraged to sign up now for special programs in Rockford Public Schools for the 2018-19 school year.

Because of the high demand, a lottery is held in March for official entry. Interested families must:

  • Sign up for the lottery on the RPS 205 Welcome Center pages ( by March 2; and 
  • Attend a mandatory open house to decide if the program is the best educational fit for their child. (Families must attend an open house session to be included in the lottery.)

Programs include:

  • Kindergarten lottery for the Two-Way Language Immersion at Barbour
  •  Kindergarten lottery for the STEAM Academy at Haskell
  • Pre-kindergarten lottery for Maria Montessori at Marsh

Complete an application at the RPS 205 Welcome Center, 501 7th St., 2nd floor of the Administration Building. For more information, visit or call 815- 967-8070.


Staffer focuses on domestic violence

Jennifer Cacciapaglia has been named the Manager of the Mayor’s Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention and will serve as a key collaborator in coordinating advocacy service organizations, law enforcement, and civic groups.

“She is the ideal person for this position. She has a breadth and depth of experience with these difficult topics that is unmatched in the area,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said in a statement.

Cacciapaglia has spent her entire career focusing on community work and engagement. In 2013, she co-founded the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (RAASE).

She also served as the education coordinator and a trained facilitator for The Amanda Reed Foundation, created to educate young people about the dangers of unhealthy behaviors in relationships which can escalate into lethal violence.

Cacciapaglia was previously an Assistant State’s Attorney with Winnebago County and City Attorney for Rockford, and she received her J.D. from Northern Illinois University School of Law in 1998. 



–Winnebago County News Briefs–