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Local News

Peaceful Rockford protest ends with destruction of property, arrests

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Peaceful, yet boisterous protests became destructive Saturday as more than a thousand demonstrators converged on Rockford Police District 1 headquarters. The events began just before 4 p.m., at Haskell Park, where a crowd of a few dozen quickly became several hundred within the hour. Some held signs honoring George Floyd that bore phrases like "I can't breathe" and "Say his name," while the Black Lives Matter slogan was even better represented. Several…

Machesney Park deaths ruled murder-suicide

By Jim Hagerty Reporter MACHESNEY PARK - The three people found dead inside a Machesney Park apartment in the 1100 block of Minns Drive Wednesday afternoon were victims of a murder-suicide, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office reported Thursday. The sheriff's office said 37-year-old Michael Earls fatally shot 28-year-old Sandra Fernandez-Cardenas and her 11-year-old son before killing himself. Deputies discovered the bodies just after 4 p.m., when they responded to 911 call that…

Rockford man faces more charges in child abuse case

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - A Rockford man has been indicted on additional charges in a 2019 child-abuse case. Trenton Higgins, 19, is now charged with two counts of aggravated battery to a child under the age 13 causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. He also faces a single count of aggravated battery to a child under the age of 13. Higgins was initially indicted in January but authorities say information gleaned during an ongoing investigation…

Men charged with weapons offenses

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford Police Department, on Thursday, announced weapons charges against two men. At around 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, officers responded to an anonymous call regarding a man with a gun in his waistband walking near Bruner and Quincy streets. Police located the individual, identified as Demetrius Brown, recovered the weapon, and took Brown into custody without incident. Brown, 37, of Chicago, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of…

3 people found dead inside Machesney Park apartment

By Jim Hagerty Reporter MACHESENY PARK - Three people were found dead inside an apartment building  in the 1100 block of Minns Drive Wednesday. Winnebago County deputies arrived at the scene just after 4 p.m., and discovered the bodies. How the people died has not been reported, however, Chief Deputy Rick Ciganek told reporters at the scene that a preliminary investigation indicated that there is not a threat to the community. "We believe what happened was contained in the apartment,"…

Rockford Police make arrests in weekend incidents

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Officers with the Rockford Police Department made arrests in weekend incidents as part of its Violent Crime Reduction Initiative. The first incident unfolded at around 1 a.m., Saturday, May 23, when officers attempted a traffic stop near Broadway and 18th Street. "The car fled at a high rate of speed, but was located a short time later as it had it had been involved in a one car accident on Charles Street," Rockford Police Public Information Officer…

Rockford’s ‘Violent Crime Reduction Initiative’ leads to more arrests

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford Police Department's Violent Crime Reduction Initiative recently reported more positive results. At approximately 7:35 p.m., Friday, May 22, officers conducted a traffic stop near School and Auburn streets and seized approximately 20 grams of illegal marijuana. The driver, identified as Drequan Fryer, was cited and released. Fryer, 21, of Rockford, is charged with possession with intent to deliver cannabis. At around 9:35 p.m., officers recognized a…

Rockford Park District closes pools, cancels summer concerts for 2020

Staff Report ROCKFORD - Because of coronavirus limitations, the Rockford Park District has decided to close Alpine Pool, Harkins Aquatic Center, and Sand Park Pool will be closed for the season, and the the 2020 “Sounds of Summer” concert series will be canceled. District officials say since the start of pandemic, the Rockford Park District has followed and supported guidelines and requirements established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health…

Rockford Fourth of July fireworks canceled for 2020

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The July 4 fireworks will be canceled this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the City of Rockford announced Saturday. "My family and I love all the activities on the Fourth of July and it’s one of the best days for our community to come together," Mayor Tom McNamara said in a release. "We worked closely with our police, fire, and Public Works to evaluate the best options for this event." But, the mayor said, with health and safety of the community in mind,…

Elderly, congregate communities still hardest hit by COVID-19

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Although numbers are improving, the COVID-19 outbreak continues to take its toll on area congregate settings. Statistics released by the Winnebago County Health Department Tuesday show that about 66% of COVID-related deaths have been linked to outbreaks in places like nursing homes, group homes, shelters, assisted-living centers, and jails. As of Tuesday, 20 local congregate facilities are considered areas of concern. That means there have been at…

COVID-19: Local, state numbers remain steady

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Winnebago County Health Department reported 57 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases Sunday, bringing the county's total number of infections to 1,501. As of this report, there are 1,501 cases of the respiratory disease in the county, including many people who have already recovered. There have now been 14,943 tests administered in Winnebago County, 5,756 of which are still pending. As of Sunday, 41 people have died from complications of COVID-19. Statewide,…

Rockford Public Library makes WiFi available in branch parking lots

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford Public Library is making internet accessible to the public by keeping its wireless network live and accessible from parking lots during regular library hours while the facilities are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are welcome to park at any of the library locations and access the Internet from their cars in order to work, communicate, or enjoy online entertainment. Social distancing is advised; people are asked not to gather in groups or be…

Mayor appoints 12th Ward alderman to replace John Beck

Staff Report ROCKFORD - Rockford Mayor McNamara on Wednesday, announced that he has appointed Jennifer “Ginger” Hanley to serve as 12th Ward alderman to replace John Beck, the longtime Republican who died last month. Hanley, a physical education teacher at All Saints Catholic Academy and a fitness instructor for the YMCA, has served as the Republican committeeman for the 12th Ward since May 2019. “I’m truly honored to be nominated to serve my community,” says Hanley. “I will strive to…

Rockford man wanted in Benton Street homicide

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - An arrest warrant has beeb issued in a homicide that occurred in Rockford earlier this week. Darryl Lyles, 34, of Rockford, is charged with first-degree murder, allegations that stem from a fatal shooting that occurred at 1135 Benton St., Monday. "At approximately 7:25 p.m., Rockford Police officers responded to a shots-fired call in the 1100 block of Benton Street," Rockford Police Public Information Officer said in a release. "Upon arrival, officers…

Winnebago County COVID-19 Donations Center seeking donations

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Winnebago County COVID-19 Donations Center is in need of donations. Items can be dropped off at the former Circuit City building, 5460 E. State St.,  during the center's new hours, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday. Current needs are handmade face coverings, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, hand soap, cleaning spray, feminine hygiene products toothbrushes and toothpaste, trash bags, new socks, new underwear and body wash When dropping…