- Man pleads guilty but mentally ill in 2013 murder
- Telephone, computer network outages at 22 Rockford schools
- Byron native selected as Sailor of the Year for Navy Band Southwest
- Illinois Tollway awards $337 million in contracts, sets budget
- 44 earn bachelor’s degrees at Saint Anthony College of Nursing
- Goodwill opens Donation Express site on Perryville
- Rock Valley College to manage TechWorks program
- University of Illinois at Chicago names chancellor
- Salvation Army to distribute food, toys to nearly 2,000 families
- American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act signed into law
Wisconsin union protests spark Rockford tourism campaign
By Jim Hagerty
The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau bolstered its role in the community last week, poking fun at the political drama in Madison, Wis., with a video that also promotes the city as a prime tourism spot.
Amid union-busting protests in Madison, the video “Hideaway in Rockford” takes a humorous inside look at what the Forest City had to offer statehouse Democrats in their search for a safe haven away from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).
When senators began disappearing from the Madison area almost two weeks ago, early reports said the Democrats were headed to undisclosed locations in Illinois. However, it wasn’t long before several hotels and resorts in Rockford began filling up with neighboring lawmakers. It also paved the way for Convention and Visitors Bureau chief John Groh to create the “Hideaway in Rockford” campaign.
The clip features makeshift interviews with local businesspeople, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) and Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen, who flippantly, yet proudly, states he’s been “hiding out” in Rockford for more than four decades.
“We want folks to come to Rockford for their own legislation vacation,” Groh said. “Rockford is full of opportunities for folks to do some collective bargaining at our locally-owned stores and shops.”
While most know Rockford is the home of favorite sons Cheap Trick, the video makes those outside of town aware of the city’s historical sites including the Coronado Theatre and Burpee Museum. The video also lets travelers know the Rockford MetroCentre houses the Rockford IceHogs (the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate) and that several noted restaurants and bars fill the city.
The “Hideaway in Rockford” video can be found at the Convention and Visitors Bureau website, gorockford.com. The piece has been featured on a number of national news programs and is becoming a hit on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
From the March 2-8, 2011, issue