City of Rockford, Weed & Seed Organization & RUM announce improvement projects

City of Rockford Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey, in conjunction with representatives from the Winnebago County/City of Rockford Weed & Seed Organization and Rockford Urban Ministries on July 17 announced residential improvements to be performed at seven homes in the designated weed and seed area in Winnebago County as well as a police academy.

Neighborhood improvements

Residential home improvements will be provided free of charge by volunteers working on behalf of Rockford Work Camps, a division of Rockford Urban Ministries. Homes were selected for this based on age and ability of the homeowner to perform the needed repairs; therefore, senior citizens were chosen as the first recipients of these special renovation projects.

“These actions are the results of a partnership between residents and Weed & Seed to rebuild and reclaim our neighborhoods. Today we continue to take steps to fulfill our commitment to this community to work together and continue to weed out crime and seed in resources one neighborhood at a time,” said Rockford City Attorney Jennifer Cacciapaglia, chairman of Weed & Seed Problem Property Committee.

A group of approximately 35 junior high and senior high school students from Kentucky arrived in Rockford late Sunday evening, July 16, are staying through Friday, July 21, to complete the projects. The students were placed on work teams of seven people—five students and two adult supervisors. The group was housed free of charge at Second Congregational Church, and also provided for their own meals and expenses.

“Working with the Weed & Seed program has been an answer to my prayers. This collaboration of Rockford Work Camps and the Weed & Seed program will continue for years to come, providing help to better the city of Rockford,” said Rockford Work Camps Director Jake Runestad.

Improvements made at the selected homes include exterior painting, exterior stair and porch repair, electrical work, trash and rubbish removal, power washing of exterior siding, installation of new bathroom fixtures. Supplies used to make the repairs were all donated to Rockford Work Camps.

The City of Rockford/Winnebago County Weed & Seed Organization plans to participate in future projects like this one in hopes of assisting other residents in need of home repairs.

Youth Police Academy

To engage the youth of Rockford in a positive setting, and to further its commitment to the Rockford/Winnebago County Weed & Seed project, the Rockford Police Department announces the start of the Rockford Police Academy.

Approximately 40 Rockford youth began a 40-hour course of instruction in topics such as conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity and police report writing, with an emphasis on the practical value of education. Students will also participate in a mock crime scene investigation and water rescues.

The Youth Police Academy was held from 1-8 p.m., July 17-21, at Lewis Lemon School. Instructors for this event was provided by the Rockford Police Department, Rockford Park District Police, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, the Rockford Fire Department, Winnebago County Probation and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The Youth Police Academy was made possible through a grant provided by the Rockford Park District. Other event sponsors include the Rockford Board of Education, Pizza Hut and Wal-Mart.

From the July 26-Aug. 1, 2006, issue

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