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Rockford Park District summer camps open June 22

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford Park District's summer cay camps will open this month. Beginning June 22, Nature Quest summer camp will be open for youth ages 5-12. Based at Alpine Hills Adventure Park, the camp provides an introductory experience with a different theme and nature and environment related activity each week, along with traditional camp activities including archery, crafts, hiking, games, and tie-dyeing. Live animal demonstrations and special guests are also…

Rockford IceHogs announce 2019-20 team awards

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford IceHogs announced Wednesday the recipients of the organization’s annual tam awards for the 2019-20 season. Most Valuable Player & Rookie of the Year: Brandon Hagel After sample of professional action at the end of the 2018-19 season (eight games, one assist) with the IceHogs, rookie Brandon Hagel became a scoring force in the Forest City during the 2019-20 campaign, earning him the team’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards. This…

Local protesters call for better policing, not dismantling

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Removing officers from the Rockford streets would certainly bring change. But, contrary to an array of cries to disband police departments across the country, a group of local activists wants something else. Nearly 30 protesters who rallied at Davis Park Monday say it's time for Rockford to reallocate funds the police department spends on armaments and big salaries towards proactive community programs. "There is so much money and equipment that's being…

Rockford man guilty of murder in 2019 beating death

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - A Rockford man is guilty of murder in the beating death of another man on the city's west side last year. Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross reported Friday that Douglas Williams, 57, was convicted of seven-counts of first-degree murder after a jury trial in front of Judge Debra Schafter. The conviction stems from the death of 64-year-old Samuel Randolph, who was found dead in his 621 Alliance Avenue home. "The jury found that the…

Rockford man sentenced to 15 years for possession with intent to deliver cocaine

Staff Report ROCKFORD - A Rockford man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday. Willam Spears, 62, pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to deliver cocaine. At around 10:15 a.m, April 21, officers from the Winnebago County Narcotics Unit arrived at 1708 26th St., to execute a search warrant. Spears was arrested a the scene. Possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance is a Class X felony with a sentencing range of six to 30 years in the Illinois…

Man, woman wanted in Rockford home invasion

Staff Report ROCKFORD -  Investigators are searching for a two people they say committed the offense of home invasion in the near-east side of the city earlier this week. Police responded the scene, a home in the 1600 block of of South Fifth Street, Wednesday, June 3 to investigate the incident, which occurred the previous "When they arrived, officers learned that the victim was asleep on her couch when two unknown suspects, a male and female, entered the residence through a cut screen…

Rockford Police asking for public’s help identifying burglary suspect

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Rockford Police Department is asking for help from the public to locate a suspect they say broke into a west-side auto parts store Tuesday night. At around approximately 9:07 p.m., officers responded to an alarm at Advanced Auto Parts, 3019 Auburn St., and discovered someone smashed the glass front door. Police say the man gained entry, stole various items, and left the store. The suspect was identified as a black male wearing a white shirt, black hat, blue…

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.…

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…