Winnebago County News Briefs

The Rockford Park District board has approved a agreement with Six Flags Entertainment Corporation to operate Magic Waters Waterpark.


Six Flags to manage Magic Waters park

The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners has approved a lease agreement that allows Six Flags Entertainment Corporation to operate Magic Waters Waterpark starting in the spring of 2019.

This lease agreement is expected to be signed in the near future, and allows the largest regional theme park company in the world to bring its brand to the Rockford market.

Magic Waters Waterpark, a 43-acre waterpark, has been owned and operated by the Rockford Park District since 1988.  The park features a wide array of tube slides and body slides; an expansive children’s play area; a 1,200-foot. lazy river; and Tsunami Bay, Illinois’ largest wavepool.

“This is a fantastic property that complements our theme and waterpark in Gurnee and provides tremendous added value for our Season Passholders and Members,” said Six Flags Great America Park President Hank Salemi. “We look forward to bringing our unique and innovative brand of thrills to this important market.”

The lease agreement is expected to be finalized in the near future and commence in spring of 2019.

“The Rockford Park District has always had a strong culture of collaboration,” said Jay Sandine, Rockford Park District Executive Director. “Partnering with Six Flags means great things for our community and will enhance the experience for local families looking for affordable family fun. By having the Six Flags brand in this market we expect a major increase in tourism which will have significant economic impact for our community. Six Flags will continue to make capital investments in the waterpark, which frees up District resources to invest in our communities’ priorities such as parks, playgrounds, and youth.”


More tornadoes likely in Midwest, Southwest

A Northern Illinois University professor has helped to produce a study about the frequency of tornadoes in the country. The study finds that over the past four decades, tornado frequency has increased over a large swath of the Midwest and Southeast and decreased in portions of the central and southern Great Plains, a region traditionally associated with Tornado Alley.

The study, by meteorology professor Victor Gensini of Northern Illinois University and Harold Brooks of NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., found significant decreasing trends in frequencies of both tornado reports and tornado environments over portions of Texas, Oklahoma and northeast Colorado.

Tornado Alley remains the top zone for tornadoes in the United States, but other areas, including the so-called Dixie Alley that includes much of the lower Mississippi Valley region, are catching up.

The researchers identified significant increasing trends of tornado reports and tornado environments in portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The researchers tracked the number of tornado reports from 1979 to 2017, while also investigating regional trends in the daily frequency of tornado-environment formation over the same time period, using an index known as the Significant Tornado Parameter (STP).

Frequently used for predicting severe weather, the index captures the coexistence of atmospheric ingredients favorable for producing tornadoes.

Both the number of actual tornado reports and the historical STP analysis showed the eastward uptick in tornado frequency. The researchers cannot say for sure whether the eastward shift in tornado reports and environments might be caused by natural or human-induced climate change.


Richard Jenkins guest of honor at reception

The Egyptian Theatre will welcome home native son and Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins, whose films have been showing in a series at the theater, 135 N. Second St.

A special reception with Jenkins as its guest will be held Oct. 30, before the showing of the final film in the series, “The Shape of Water.” The movie won 2018 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Original Music Score and Production Design; and Jenkins received a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

Jenkins, who grew up in DeKalb, is a two-time Academy Award nominee with one Emmy award under his belt. His career spans nearly 40 years with many impressive roles in his more than 100 films.

Every Tuesday this fall, the Egyptian has shown a film that Jenkins personally selected as one of his favorites in which he acted. The series will end at 7 p.m., following the reception. The reception will begin at 5 p.m. Tickets are limited and cost $50. All funds raised will benefit the Egyptian Theatre. Each ticket includes entry into the reception, appetizers, a champagne toast and a cash bar.

Movie tickets are being sold separately. They cost $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Friends of the Egyptian Theatre members save $2. Tickets can be purchased by calling 815-758-1215, in person at the box office and online at



–Winnebago County News Briefs–