Now that the cold chill is over, the downtown area is picking up again.
Im not the first one to say it, but it needs to be said again: Shame on the local TV stations for scaring people in the name of ratings.
The Weather Channel had the weather correct for us two weekends ago. The locals started Friday morning saying the sky was falling.
Weather happens. We live in the Midwest, and it is what it is, but dont sensationalize it because it really cripples business around the region. People were scared to come out for a weekend that was problematic, at best. Its been so long since we had a winter that we have forgotten.
Hurray for Harlem Schools and their cash excesses. Now we can spend, spend, spend, hire 43 new people and put ourselves right back into a crisis. Life is wonderful! They, and most local governments, were bailed out by property values rising around 25 percent. It was free money, and made them all look like heroes. Remember how bad off all the school districts were financially four years ago? Do you ever wonder why those stories went away? Increase in assessed property valuations. Ahh…the great hidden tax.
All governments should take lessons learned and save this money to buy down long-term debt and to save some for a rainy day, because it will come. Of course, then they will come after us for more.
Is there a better staff in town than the gang at Marias? They are hard to beat as a group. Its always like home around there, and walking in gives you a good feeling. I have recently run into a couple of younger people who have never heard of it. Thats hard to imagine. They even take credit cards now. The first change there in 80 years! All kidding aside, thats why we keep going back to see Joe, Johnny and (name your favorite Marias waitressof course, mine is the lovely Allison).
I have been working with the city on some parking issues, and find them very supportive and cooperative. In the last week or so, we drifted into Krypto and Irish Rose. Both featured live music on the nights we were out, and both did a nice job. I keep hearing the Lorden/Provenzano group is buying this property and that property. Maybe we have the downtown catalyst we need. I cant wait to hear their plans for their acquisitions. A new suitor is coming downtown; we look forward to his reputation and management style.
I have been reading and hearing the talk about how we can stop all of the negative talk about Rockford. We all know we are our worst enemy, and we have made mistakes in the past. All this can be corrected by stopping people in their tracks when they spew the same rhetoric that has been said for 30 years. They say there are no manufacturing jobs in Rockford. Wrong! There are good-paying jobs in Rockford waiting for qualified people to apply. The problem is, we cant seem to show up to work, we cant pass drug tests, and we are not willing to start from the beginning and earn our way to good money. Of course, I am not condemning all of us, but lets be real about the problems in the workforce, quit blaming government, China and business for your lot in life. Its time to look in the mirror.
OK, here are some self-serving items. Swilligans the Pub is having live music every Thursday orchestrated by Miles Nielson. We look forward to an exciting month with St Pattys Day and the NCAA Tourney starting March 15. Swilligans will broadcast the games when you need to sneak out of the office for your long lunches March 15-16. We will be serving Corned Beef and Cabbage March 17 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with unbelievable beer specials. Watch all the games on our flat-screen plasma TVs. The NASCAR race is always on at The Pub. By the way, we are looking for piano players who want to pick up a few extra dollars.
Reggie Roberson is owner of Swilligans The Pub, 200 N. Church St.
From the March 7-13, 2007, issue