By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – A longtime Rockford funeral director, on Monday, was sworn in as the new alderman of the city’s Second Ward.
Tony Gasparini, owner of Tony Gasparini Funerals, will sit in for Jonathan Logemann, who conditionally resigned last month ahead of his deployment to Afghanistan as part of the Illinois Army National Guard’s 178th Infantry Regiment. He’ll be gone for at least a year.
Logemann, who plans to retake his seat when he returns, initially recommended Mayor Tom McNamara appoint Gary W. Anderson urban planner Ashley Sarver, but she withdrew.
Gasparini, 51, was sworn in by Legal Director Nick Meyer after a unanimous City Council vote. He ran for Winnebago County coroner in 2016 but was defeated in the Democratic primary.
The Boylan High School graduate attended Western Illinois University and Worsham College of Mortuary Science.
“I’ve lived 25 years in the Second Ward,” Gasparini told reporters after the meeting. “I raised all three of my boys in the Second Ward.”
Gasparini’s wife, Nicole, is a teacher in District 205.
In other city business, aldermen gave the Rockford Mass Transit District the green light to sell advertisements on its bus shelters. The vote allows the city to make an exception for RMTD, as advertising, posters or handbills in a right of way are prohibited by local ordinance.
The new RMTD ads will be placed in 4-foot by 5-foot frames installed on the left wall in each of the district’s 18 aluminum shelters. The right wall will be clear to allow bus drivers to see inside.
Leaders say shelter advertising will generate around $100,000 per year. The new ads, along with ads that appear on buses are projected to bring in about $450,000.
Downtown bakery and cafe granted liquor license
Aldermen approved a liquor license for Crust & Crumbles bakery, inside Indoor City Market, 116 N. Madison St. The license allows the artisan bakery that started as a vendor at the outdoor market to serve beer and wine by the glass and by the package.
Crust & Crumbles specializes in naturally fermented baked goods and offers cooking classes and pop-up bakery events. It is open Tuesday-Saturday.