The Rock River Times will have a new look when readers pick up the paper next week. More pictures, new graphics, new sections, and new columns offer the news, information and opinions readers have come to depend on, only in a new sleek, easy-to-use format.
The changes come as The Rock River Times attempts to make itself as easy and as enjoyable to read as possible. The content will remain largely the same. Frank Schier, Joe Baker, Phil Pash, Susan Johnson, Jon Bystrom, Jeff Havens, Barbara Wells, Stanley Campbell, Molly Fleming, Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl, Hans Detweiler, Mike Leifheit, Dr. Robert A. Hedeen, Rod Myers, Richard Heller, Edith McCauley, Georgia Pampel, Christine Swanberg, M.L. Simon, Karen Morris, Kim Castaneda, Jim Morrison, myself and astrologers Denise Guzzardo and Rebecca, along with the many other voices that have contributed to the paper over the years, will continue to offer readers the same news, information, opinions and reviews readers have come to know and trust. The Rock River Times, as always, will also continue to build on this foundation and seek ways to ensure all voices in the community have a fair and accurate chance to be heard.
Significant changes to the look of the paper include the front page of each section, which will feature photo indexes; the addition of Vibe Entertainment (currently Metro Entertainment) as a pullout section from the A section; Vibe Entertainments monthly Real Rockford pullout, featuring locally-owned businesses and Rockford-area historical events; Vibe Entertainments Monthly Music Special, focusing on the local music scene; and the Eureka! Classifieds section, which will continue to offer residential readers free classified ads of up to 15 wordsthe only service of its kind in the Rockford area.
The front page of each section of the paperA, B, Real Rockford and Vibe Entertainmentwill have a new look, featuring a photo index down the left side to help make the paper easier to navigate. Each section also has its own nameplate (where the name of the section appears at the top of the page).
The front page of the paper (section A front) will have a new nameplate, which is where the newspapers name appears. The nameplate, which used to be featured in a different colored box each week, will now have a more open look with no box, and will feature the same colors each week (blue and black letters with a blue river) to make it easier to identify as The Rock River Times. Headlines and other graphics on the front page will be featured in a different color each week so readers can distinguish the latest issue from previous issues. The front page will also feature a newly-designed Whats Inside index on the bottom left corner of the page.
Vibe Entertainment, currently the Metro Entertainment section, will now be its own pullout section in the center of section A. Vibe will continue to feature the same previews and reviews of local events and businesses, and the same music, arts and theater, and community calendars it has always provided. Additionally, the TV guide and crossword puzzle will also be included in the section.
Vibe Entertainment will offer a Monthly Music Special issue the first week of each month, and a Real Rockford pullout section in the third issue of each month.
The Monthly Music Special issue will be devoted to area music events including features of local bands and area clubs, big-name artists playing in Rockford, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and other musical events. The Monthly Musicians Directory, featuring a listing of area bands and musicians, will also be included in the monthly music issue.
The monthly Real Rockford pullout section will feature profiles of locally-owned businesses, events and historical places and events that have helped shape and are continuing to help shape the Rockford area. The section will feature interviews with business owners and historical figures, and photos and graphics of area businesses and historical places and events. Readers will have the chance to vote on their favorite Real Rockford businesses and events annually in a special Real Rockford contest.
One of the more unique changes is the naming of the Eureka! Classifieds section.
The idea for the name of the section started as lighthearted humor. Eureka rhymes with the first name of Classified Sales Manager Marieke McClendon, whose first name many have difficulty pronouncing. Yet, after much debate, and the gracious permission of Marieke, The Rock River Times decided changing the name of the section to Eureka! Classifieds would be a good way of defining the character of the classifieds section as something truly unique. The Rock River Times, unlike any other publication in the area, offers free classified ads of up to 15 words to residential readers and free classified ads of any length to those in need of an organ transplant.
In early January, the free classifieds paid off in a significant way for a young Rockford girl and her family. The parents of 5-year-old Angela Rushford, who was suffering from polycystic renal failure and was in serious need of a kidney transplant, placed a free classified ad in The Rock River Times in search of a kidney donor. The ad read: 4 YR. OLD GIRL in desperate need of kidney transplant. Seeking donor w/O Pos. blood. Will compensate for loss of income. Tony and Patty Rushford, Angelas parents, said they received about 50 responses to their ad over a nine-week period.
The third person who contacted the Rushfords, David Harper, an out-of-work 38-year-old welder from nearby Mt. Morris, ended up being a close enough match to Angelas type O-positive blood, and Harper and Angela Rushford underwent a kidney transplant Jan. 3 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Hospital. A little more than a month later, Angela was performing with the Rockford Lightning cheerleaders and was preparing to enroll in kindergarten the next fall.
To honor Angela and to celebrate the free classifieds, The Rock River Times determined the name Eureka! Classifieds was an appropriate designation for a classifieds section that has helped residents and businesses accomplish so much.
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The new format is the result of months of planning and work. Production Manager Paul Marek and Production Designer Jeff Helberg deserve much of the credit for the new format, although there was significant input from all members of the staff and members of the community.
The Rock River Times hopes you, the reader, find the new look inviting and easy to navigate. After all, were here for you. Were committed to serving as The Voice of the Community, and seek to provide readers, businesses and writers with a platform to help keep the Rockford area going strong. Wed love to hear your feedback on our new look, and always welcome feedback on our paper in general. Call us at 964-9767, fax us at 964-9825, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write or drop by our office at 128 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61101. Also, keep your eyes on our Web site, www.rockrivertimes.com, which, like its print counterpart, has a make-over in its future.