Winnebago County News Briefs


Health officials warn of flu increase

Member agencies of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC) say seasonal flu activity has increased sharply in recent weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that influenza-like-illness activity is widespread across most of the country, including Illinois. CDC’s latest surveillance data shows current activity is similar to what was seen during the peak of the 2014-2015 season; the most severe in recent years.

Seasonal influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness. Symptoms of the flu virus include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Flu is spread primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

“The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated,” said Dr. Terry Mason, NIPHC President and Chief Operating Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health. “We know the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick is by getting the flu shot. The vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of hospitalizations every year, and can lessen the severity of symptoms.”

More information about flu prevention is available from the CDC website at, or from your local health department.


United Way enhances free tax program

United Way of Rock River Valley is announcing recently-enhanced features to MyFreeTaxes that allow most filers to complete their taxes in under one hour. is a safe, easy and completely free way for individuals or families earning $66,000 or less to file their state and federal taxes.

For the past nine years, United Way has partnered with H&R Block to provide free tax filing services for federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since that time, the partnership has helped nearly a million people file their returns, bringing more than $1 billion in refunds back to local communities. Since 2013, United Way of Rock River Valley has seen the use of online returns in our community grow by 14 percent.

“Tax season is a source of stress for most individuals,” says Paul Nolley, community impact manager, United Way of Rock River Valley. “Many are worried they’ll make a mistake, won’t get their full refund or will pay too much. With MyFreeTaxes, filers can get support from IRS-certified specialists and cut down

the time it takes to complete their returns.”

Individuals may call 815-987-6200 or go online to to schedule an in-person appointment with a volunteer tax preparer through Goodwill’s GoodTAXES program.


RU Spring Forum now under way

Rockford University’s Spring 2018 Forum Series kicks off its first of nearly a dozen events later this month with a concert by RU’s own Orchesis Dance Company. This semester’s highlights include lessons on forgiveness from a Holocaust survivor, an appearance by Rockford’s new mayor, a visit from a New York City-based jazz pianist and a musical presented in collaboration with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

Forums are open to the public and, with the exception of Performing Arts events, are free of charge. Lectures and performances will take place on the Rockford University campus, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. Tickets are required and can be obtained by contacting the Box Office at 815-226-4100 or

Upcoming events include:

  • Nurse Practitioner Katie Duke on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m. at the Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center.
  • Not Your Typical Sex talk: Justine Shuey, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 3 p.m. at Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center.
  • The Surprising Effect of Stories on Sane (and Crazy) People: Jacquelyn Mitchard, ’73 on Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. at Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall.
  • Play: Richard III on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 22-24, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m., Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center.


RVC dental program looking for patients

Rock Valley College’s Dental Hygiene Program is looking for patients who have not received regular routine dental hygiene treatment (cleanings) for at least three years. 

Patients will also receive other dental hygiene preventative services such as oral examinations, oral cancer screenings, fluoride varnish, and x-rays for a low-cost.

In addition, patients who qualify to sit for a licensure exam for students may receive their initial treatment (dental exam, professional cleaning, x-rays, and fluoride varnish) at no cost.

The RVC Dental Hygiene Clinic is also seeking children ages 5-12 years in need of professional cleanings, dental exams, x-rays, and/or sealants.

Due to the educational nature of the program, several appointments will be necessary to complete care.  Please expect multiple appointments 3 hours in length.  Depending on the time of the year and the needs of the students, not all patients that call will be appointed.

Dental Hygiene treatment is performed by students who are supervised by dental hygiene faculty consisting of registered dental hygienists and licensed dentists.

The dental hygiene clinic is located on the 1st floor in a brand new state-of-the art Health Sciences Center on main campus, 3301 N. Mulford Rd., Rockford, IL, 61114.

For more information about the RVC Dental Hygiene Clinic or to schedule an appointment call (815) 921-3235.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–