Positive Local News - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Inspiring 815: Keri Nelson Video included

A few homes on Carol Place in Rockford may be under construction now, but soon they will be home to some lucky families. That's all because of Rockford Area Habitat For Humanity. 

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Rockford Police officers hosting kickball challenge

Kids can come and enjoy food, free t-shirts and, of course, kickball.

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Campaign for a Rockford Flag extends voting

Three designs are on the table for a potential future flag for the city of Rockford. 

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Boone Co. woman named National Miss Amazing Miss Queen

The National Miss Amazing contest brings together girls and women with disabilities to showcase their amazing abilities. 

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Inspiring 815: Pat "The Cat" Coleman Video included

 Pat "The Cat" Coleman id a legend in the ring. "I became pro at the age of 19." He is also a part of the Illinois Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Rockford church gives away 1,000 backpacks

The start of the school year is right around the corner and a local church is looking to get 1,000 kids ready for class.  

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Rockford wood block print shop featured in Etsy commercial on NBC

A local store gets a big audience on national TV. Lemuette is a print and wood-stamping business based out of Rockford.

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Rockford Peaches will sign autographs to raise money for baseball center

Some famous faces in women's baseball will be in Rockford Wednesday.

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Inspiring 815: Carly Rice Video included

A traumatic and turbulent background lead Carly Rice to Rockford. "My story is that of child abuse, molestation,neglect, rape, prostitution, drug addiction, jails, institutions. All of those things." said Rice.

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SwedishAmerican Health System gives $10K in scholarships

SwedishAmerican Health System handed out $10,000 worth of scholarships Friday to the children of health system associates.

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Inspiring 815: Lennox Barnett Video included

Lennox Barnett has always dreamed of playing music in front of a crowd of people. "I thought I would be traveling and putting on concerts all over." But the crowds he plays in front of now, are a little different than he planned. 

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6-year-old junior officer hands out lemonade to Loves Park Police

Police cars lined Park Ridge Road in Loves Park Wednesday, not for an emergency, for a lemonade stand.

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Inspiring 815: Adrienne Walker Video included

The Jubilee Drop in Center is for people that are mentally ill, people that are homeless. We provide them a place to come during the day, get off the streets.

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YMCA basketball court will transform into work of art

The basketball court at the YMCA in Rockford will soon be a work of art.

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Inspiring 815: Daniel Persinger

"My dream job was to be firefighter." Daniel Persinger was on track to become a full time firefighter. "I was an explorer for North Park Fire and for New Milford Fire." said Persinger. Until 2012 when he was diagnosed with Muscular Distrophy.

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Inspiring 815: Bella Francis Video included

After Bella Francis was born, she spent 2 weeks in the NICU for breathing issues, and she kept getting sicker.

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Rockford City Market's Rock the Market night draws in thousands

Every Friday throughout the summer, Rockford makes way for city market. But this Friday, the market was bigger and longer than usual. 

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Rockford's Bite Nite Food Festival still accepting vendors

Take a bite out of Rockford! Vendor applications for food and merchant spots are still being accepted for the 2nd annual Bite Nite Food Festival. 

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Winnebago hosts 'best ever' 4th of July parade

The Village of Winnebago hosted its annual Fourth of July Parade on Wednesday morning. 

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Runners kick off Fourth of July with YSN Classic Run

Many people kicked off their holiday in Rockford with a run.

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Illinois State Police trooper set to retire after 32 years of service

Illinois State Polices' most senior trooper is set to retire after 32 years of service.

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New $300,000 splash pad park coming to Dixon

The park district in Dixon got a big surprise when a generous donor came forward, offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to help bring a new attraction to the area. 

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Club Blue needs applicants for $200,000 grant

Helping groups help children. That's the goal of Club Blue's fundraising and now it's looking for local groups to donate that money to. 

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Ryan Brewing Company in Roscoe will hold grand opening on Friday

From home brew to business—a local man is set to open his brewing company in Roscoe.

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Dairy Depot set to reopen on Friday

The Dairy Depot will reopen on Friday, June 29.

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Belvidere Police Officers recognized for heroic actions

Four officers from the Belvidere Police Department were recognized Monday night for their heroic actions. The officers received life saving awards the city council meeting. 

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Annual golf outing raises money for Center for Sight

The annual Gerald Broski Memorial Golf Outing sold out this year, which was good news for the Center for Sight. 

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Hundreds attend event with original Rockford Peaches team

Hundreds of people turned out Thursday for the "Meet a Peach" event with the original team members of the Rockford Peaches baseball team. 

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Auburn Surprises Angel Martinez with Special Graduation Ceremony

Angel Martinez missed Auburn's graduation ceremony while competing in Colorado at the Continental Boxing Championships. However, he was still able to receive his diploma in front of family, friends, faculty, and school administration, in a surprise ceremony hosted by the school.

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Roosevelt High School celebrates graduation

Roosevelt High School seniors crossed a major milestone Tuesday as students walked across the stage during graduation ceremonies.

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Inspiring 815: Judge Patrick Yarbrough Video included

Judge Patrick Yarbrough has been a judge in the Rockford Juvenile Court System for the past eleven years. but his roots in the city started long before that. 

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New sports tournament set to come to Rockford

A national sports championship tournament will be rolling into Rockford.  

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Inspiring 815: Conner Young Video included

Imagine walking 22 miles in one day. Now, add an extra 25 pounds of weight. That's what 17-year-old Conner Young did on Saturday to help raise awareness for veteran suicide. 

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Rockford doctor delivers next generation babies Video included

Doctor Arturo Manas has been a doctor for 40 years. "I delivered my first baby when I was a 3rd year medical student, in 1978." 

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Inspiring 815: Barbara Olson Center of Hope Video included

Carm Herman has worked at the Barbara Olson Center of Hope for the past 23 years.  

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Nature at the Confluence hosts group paddle down Rock River

It's finally warm enough to enjoy the Rock River and to get more people out on the water, Nature at the Confluence is hosting a group paddle trip.  

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Inspiring 815: Dennis Nelson Video included

Honey is a 12 week old golden retriever and yellow lab mix, and she's training to be a guide dog. 

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Inspiring 815: John and Linda Underwood Video included

The Underwood's spend most of their days at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford. But every six months, they take their vacation out of the country and volunteer. 

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Inspiring 815: Stephanie Hicks Video included

Winnebago County Animal Services is an open intake shelter, which means it can't turn any animal away. But keeping up with number of animals coming in, can be difficult to maintain.

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Inspiring 815: Xavier Whitford Video included

Losing a child is one of the hardest things a parent can experience.  "You don't ever get over it." 

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'Scuba for Autism' Program in Loves Park Video included

Scuba for Autism is a program at Loves Park Scuba. It's helping kids on the Autism spectrum have fun, and improve their skills.

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Brave Beauties event pampers breast cancer survivors

Medical students treated breast cancer survivors to a day of pampering and relaxation in Rockford on Saturday. 

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Long-time WREX employee celebrates 55 years with the station

On Thursday, 13 WREX celebrated with long-time employee Gerry Meinders, who has been with WREX for 55 years. 

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Only on 13 News: Evan Scott, Inspiration on Ice

Four-year old Evan Scott has overcome many an obstacle, but you wouldn't know when he laces up his skates and plays with his ice hockey team.

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Teacher of the Week: Andrea Cox, Loves Park Elementary

  "I really hope they resonate with some of the kids or they find a way to place them in their life," said Cox.  

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Teacher of the Week: John Sayles- Boylan Catholic High School

"Mr. Sayles is just very energetic and makes chemistry fun to learn and easy for us," said Junior Benjamin Conness. 

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Pepper Creek prepares for busy Valentine's Day

Wednesday is the big day — and hopefully you didn't forget. It's Valentine's Day and local florists are already feeling the rush. 

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Teacher of the Week: David Krueger- A.C. Thompson School

This week's 13 WREX Teacher of the Week is David Krueger, a fifth grade teacher at AC Thompson Elementary School.

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4 Auburn students achieve perfect ACT scores

Pictured left to right: Ethan Strombeck, Logan Power, Will Snedegar, Lucas Turner. Pictured left to right: Ethan Strombeck, Logan Power, Will Snedegar, Lucas Turner.

Four Auburn High School students recently earned the perfect score of 36 on the ACT, a college entrance exam.

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Teacher of the Week: Dermot Dolan, Durand Junior High

In the small community of Durand, life revolves around farming. For Dermot Dolan, so does teaching. 

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Inspiring 815: Deann Anderson Video included

Deann Anderson has been the owner of Stonewall Cafe in Pecatonica for 20 years. A quaint restaurant, with a large side project. 

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Teacher of the Week: Deanna Ballard- Guilford High School

At Guilford High School, Deanna Ballard's class isn't your typical classroom environment. Instead, it is one filled with plants, bubbles and friendly fish. 

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RPS 205 students give warm welcome to Chinese exchange students

Auburn High School students gave a warm welcome to exchange students visiting from overseas.

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Machesney Park's Goodwill returns $10,000 in silver coins to customer

Thanks to a keen-eyed donation attendant at Goodwill Northern Illinois' Machesney Park location, precious family coins are returned to a customer who mistakenly donated them. 

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Military service member surprises sisters at Washington Elementary School

Two girls get a heartwarming surprise today from their older sister returns back to Rockford from serving in the military. 

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Rockford hosts snow sculptors for annual competition

Forget paint or clay — the area's top artists are about to make art out of snow right here in Rockford. 

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Inspiring 815: Pat Ambrose Video included

Honoring those who have served.  "Of course. 25th infantry." said local veteran, Henry Robinson.  It's something many people strive to do, from Veteran's Day and honoring those who have fallen, to thanking someone for their service; there are many ways to honor a veteran. "As much as I do, it's not enough. I need to do a lot more." said Pat Ambrose, the Executive Director of the Veteran Drop-In Center. One Rockford woman is stepping up,... More>>

Teacher of the Week: Brian Martin- Rockton Grade School

It's the best time of day for any elementary school student, gym class! It's an opportunity to get out of the classroom and run as fast as you possibly can.  "The students have a lot of energy!" says the schools principal, Kindyl Etnyre.  The energy provider at Rockton Grade School? Teacher Brian Martin.  "He instills a desire to come to school every day and of course P.E. the environment is unbelievable," said Etnyre.  It's an environment b... More>>

Rockford welcomes its first baby of 2018

While many people across our area rang in the new year out with friends and family, one Rockford family was lucky enough to spend it in the hospital—welcoming in the area's first baby of 2018. 

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Inspiring 815: Reggie Tillmon Video included

Reggie Tillmon has worked his same job at Woodward in Loves Park for the last 33 years. And while he's on the clock for the company from 9-5 every day, once he's off the clock, his work helping those in need begins.  

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Inspiring 815: Kids Around The World Video included

"We build playgrounds around the world, so we bring joy to children in different countries, and here locally in the Rockford area." 

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Inspiring 815: Project Search Video included

Starting a job once you're out of school can take a while, and be a rigorous process.. So, Project Search is a program in our community aiming to help people with disabilities get their foot in the door, and start their professions. 

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Local girl gives up Christmas presents to help homeless

An 8-year-old Rockford girl says she didn't want any Christmas presents this year.  Instead, Shanon Savo wanted to hand out blankets and bags filled with toiletry items. 

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Teacher of the Week: Leslie Johnson- Immanuel Lutheran School

The countdown to Christmas breaks has officially begun at Imamnuel Lutheran School as students are anxious for a few weeks of freedom.  

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Inspiring 815: Latisha Marks Video included

Latisha Marks has always loved kids. but when she became a young mom, she says it dawned on her that there weren't a lot of resources for them in the area. 

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Inspiring 815: Chad Hargraves Video included

Cancer is a disease no one wants to ever experience, but those affected by it know it is extremely tough on your body physically, and emotionally. That's where Pink Heals volunteers come in, to support the community and those impacted by the disease. But one volunteer is taking his support to the next level. 

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Inspiring 815: Jim McIlroy Video included

When Jim McIlroy started his health journey, Rockford was number 4 on Forbes List of Most Obese Cities in the Country. Now, it's number 10.

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Teacher of the Week: Janelle Williford- Auburn High School Video included

Janelle Williford has been teaching Special Education at Auburn High School for the past 11 years.  Williford said, "I teach a classroom of self contained students that have special education services ranging from autism to cognitive impairment. Most of my students are 17 through 21 years old." 

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Midway Village Museum displays 19 historical plaques throughout Rockford

What if buildings could talk? Well, the Midway Village Museum says it wants you to hear what they have to say.  

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Teacher of the Week: Kathy Jerbi, Belvidere High School

It's lights, camera, and action at Belvidere High School in Mrs. Jerbi's journalism class.  Not your typical classroom but one filled with computers, cameras and collaboration.  

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Inspiring 815: 'Freeport Future' founder James Cooley Video included

James Cooley Jr. James Cooley Jr.

Working with kids can be a rewarding job for many educators, but sometimes their job ends once the bell rings. That's not the case for one basketball coach in Freeport. 

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Teacher of the Week: Abigail Ernest, Perry Elementary School

Perry Elementary School is a building that was built over 117 years ago in Belvidere. Inside the old school house, is a teacher innovating towards the future.  

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Local boy get's surprise Make-A-Wish send off from class

Kaden Williams is an ordinary 10 year old boy with an incredible amount of fight in him. 

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Teacher of the Week: Julia Johnson, Johnson Elementary School Video included

Julia Johnson can't get enough of the second grade. "It's the best grade," said Julia Johnson.

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Teacher of the Week: Amber Dargel- Stone Creek School Video included

At Stone Creek School in Roscoe a change in the lives of Amber Dargels special needs students is clear.  "They are excelling amazingly since the beginning of the year," said Dargel.  It's Dargels first year teaching at Stone Creek but her passion for special needs students was planted much earlier.  "It's always just kind of been in me," said Dargel. "Working with my cousin who has special need, I've always had a passion for this population.&... More>>

Teacher of the Week: Breanne Fransen- St. Peter School

It's a typical day at St. Peter's School in Rockford. A typical day, meaning no two days are the same with a class full of 4th graders. 

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Teacher of the week: Joanna Heffner- Playtown Pre-School

Joanna Heffner is a pre-school teacher at Playtown Pre-School Center in Rockford. The longtime teacher uses her energy to keep up with her energized 3 and 4 year old's. 

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Teacher of the Week: Cory Park- Rockford Christian School

Cory Park is a 3rd grade teacher at Rockford Christian Elementary School.

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Organization building momentum to help fight teen homelessness in Stateline

Helping fight teen homelessness in Boone and Winnebago Counties, that's the goal of local organization Just Breathe 815.  On Wednesday, Home Depot and cheerleaders from Rockford Lutheran School pitched in to help the cause.  Home Depot donated multiple washers and dryers to Just Breathe 815.  Founder of Just Breathe 815, Kevin Ware, said, "We're just so grateful and thankful for all the support the community gives us to help the homeless teens in ... More>>

Centennial Park getting new life

A beautification project aims to give a happy hello to people visiting the Forest City.  Rockford Area Realtors Young Professionals Network is pouring $20,000 dollars in to cleaning up Centennial Park.  That's located directly across from the UW Sports Factory.  The project includes new cement pads, landscaping, new trees, shrubs and mulch. Organizers say it's a way to welcome out-of-town guests in town, for different sports tournaments.  "... More>>

Teacher of the Week: Mike Winebrenner- North Boone HS

This week is homecoming week at North Boone High School. A fun week for students as they gear up for the big football game on Friday and the dance this weekend.  

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Helping hands make a house, a home

For Jamie Kilgore, becoming a homeowner was one of her dreams. "Its amazing, its surreal, its happening, its today, it wasn't just a dream, its reality" said Kilgore. An emotional day for the Kilgore family, as they received the keys to their new home. Jamie is a mom of four and says this house is the type of place she wants to raise her kids. "This is like a new beginning, a fresh start, a new beginning to be great people and serve the community&... More>>

Alzheimer's awareness in the Stateline

A devastating disease that is impacting families across the state, and here at home in Rockford. 

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Teacher of the Week: Mike Grady- Boylan High School

Boylan Catholic High School has been around for the past 57 years. 27 of those years has featured Mike Grady in the classroom. 

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Ebates in Beloit hiring more than 100 people

Are you looking for a new job?  If so - Ebates in Beloit tells 13 WREX it has started its seasonal hiring process, in which it is are looking to fill 120 jobs in the state line area. 

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Aldi having all day long hiring spree

If you're looking for a job in the Rockford area - Aldi may just be your answer. All Rockford area Aldi's are participating in a day long hiring spree. The hiring spree is today and lasts from 9am to 7pm. Starting pay ranges from $11.75 an hour to $13.50 an hour.   

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Rockford 10-year sister city partnership continues with Sweden

A 10 year partnership between the city of Rockford and a city overseas is still going strong. On Monday, the city renewed its industrial partnership with Lidkoping, Sweden. It's something the city does every year to solidify its relationship with the sister city.  

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Rockford group offers over 1600 dresses to high school girls

School is back in session which means homecoming is right around the corner.  One Rockford group is helping high school girls find a dress to say yes to.  

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Roosevelt High School uses solar eclipse as learning experience

As a new year kicks off for Rockford Public Schools students were welcomed back a little differently this year, with a solar eclipse.  

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Sherry Pitney celebrates 35 years of rescuing lives in Rockford

Rescue, recover and restore has been the mission of the Rockford Rescue Mission since it started 53 years ago. A lot of people have gone in and out of those doors but one woman has been it's constant, Executive Director Sherry Pitney.  

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Local business owner diagnosed with cancer finds strength with community support

Alicia Neubauer and her husband Eric are owners of Ground Floor Skateboards located in the heart of downtown Rockford on E. State Street. 

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Organization providing relief to homeless teens in the area

In the state of Illinois, Rockford is second only to Chicago in the number of homeless students in the city. One local organization believes that number is far too high and decided to do something.  Just Breathe 815 started in May and in just a few months has already made an impact.

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Just Breathe 815 donation sites

Just Breathe 815 has partnered with several businesses to be clothing drop-off sites.

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Summer on the Rock: Maxson Riverboat in Oregon

Located on the shores of the Rock River in Oregon sits the Maxson Riverboat, 'The Pride of Oregon'. 

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Housing Authority hosts basketball camp with police

The Rockford Police Department is dribbling to success with kids from the Orton Keys housing complex. 

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Joe Marino, 54 years of 4th of July celebrations

For the past 54 years, when you think of the 4th of July in Rockford you think of one man, Joe Marino. 

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Schnucks hosts Shop Out Hunger campaign

Saturday may be a big grocery shopping day for some, but one grocery chain is asking you to add a few items to your list.  

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Local 7-year-old says thank you to construction workers along North Main

7-year-old Joel Stratemeyer 7-year-old Joel Stratemeyer

Most kids might consider local police officers or firefighters as their hometown heroes, but one 7-year-old has another group of people in mind.   

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Teacher of the Week: Courtney Samuelson, Ledgewood Elementary

Teacher Courtney Samuelson Teacher Courtney Samuelson

Courtney Samuelson is a special education teacher at Ledgewood Elementary School in Roscoe. For the past 11 years, she has been brightening those halls.  

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A local authors inspiration is close to home

In a house fit for the scene of a feel good novel on the west side of Rockford, lives a woman who writes them.

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Teacher of the Week: Molly Priest- Eisenhower Middle School

Before you walk into Molly Priest's 6th grade classroom at Eisenhower Middle School, you will see a wall full of words: smart, sweet, fun, and amazing are just a few of them. 

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ESPN Visits Little Cubs Field in Freeport

ESPN camera crews visited Freeport this weekend to film a Sunday Night Baseball feature to air on June 4 when the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Chicago Cubs.

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Leaving a lasting legacy at Levings Park

When you set your standards high, success tends to follow. It's how Rockford resident, Elbert Jordan lives his life. 

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Teacher of the Week: Terry Giardini- East High

Walking down the hallway of East High School, every step is a memory for teacher Terry Giardini. 

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WHERE THE LOCALS EAT: Greenfire in Rockford

Where the Locals Eat - Greenfire Restaurant in Rockford. 

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WREX Rock Stars: Caleb Goldsmith Video included

Caleb Goldsmith Caleb Goldsmith

Caleb is the fill-in drummer at the Christian Growth Center Church in Rockford. "They think it's cute, so they let him play," his mother Tonysha says.

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Teacher of the Week: Elana Schelling-Tufte

At Olson Park Elementary School, Elena Schelling-Tufte's second grade class is like most. Eight year olds with plenty of energy. 

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Teacher of the Week: Brad Carlson - Guilford High

Brad Carlson - Guilford High Brad Carlson - Guilford High

Brad Carlson takes the extra time and makes the extra effort for his students at Guilford High School.  

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Teacher of the Week: Nancy Vodick-Mapes

At Maria Montessori School in Rockford, walking down the halls is a familiar place for Nancy Vodick- Mapes. It's a place she has known since she was just a kid.  

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Teacher of the Week: Amy Schmidt - Rockford Christian Elementary

Teacher Amy Schmidt Teacher Amy Schmidt

Every WREX takes the time to thank local teachers with our Teacher of the Week award. This week's winner is Amy Schmidt, second grade teacher at Rockford Christian Elementary School. 

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Golden Apple Winner: Sarah Schaefer

Sarah Schaefer is a forever student.  The Golden Apple Award winner said, "That's the part of the love for teaching that I have: always trying to find a new way of doing something." 

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Teacher of the Week: Mark Cassiere

If you measured the quality of a teacher by the amount of chalk on them, Mark Cassiere would be near the top.  

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Golden Apple Award Winner: Tom Freesmeier

When you're a student in Thomas Freesmeiers social studies class at Harlem Middle School, you're not just a student but a member of the audience.  

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Teacher of the Week - Bob Schweiger, St. Edward School

Bob Schweiger Bob Schweiger

For the past 18 years, Bob Schweiger has been a middle school teacher at St. Edward School in Rockford.  

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Golden Apple Award Winner: Jared Young

Jared Young from Belvidere North High School doesn't miss an opportunity to teach a lesson.  The Golden Apple Award winner said, "Anytime I can make a lesson real for the students it comes alive for the kids. They are gonna buy in more." 

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RACVB honored with two top destination marketing awards

Rockford has two new awards to brag about. The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau wont best tourism marketing and best branding initiative at the Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism.

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Teacher of the Week: Emily Hachmeister

Emily Hachmeister is a family and consumer science teacher at Durand High School. She believes that not everything you learn in school is from a book.  

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Teacher of the Week: Stephanie Johnson

Kindergarten is an active age. A class full of six year old's constantly curious and on the move.  Luckily for Stephanie Johnson's Kindergartener's at Keith Country Day School they have a teacher who can keep up. 

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Teacher of the Week: Jasmine Elkhabiry

Take a look inside Jasmine Elkhabiry's 2nd grade class and you will see her students imaginations churning. Eager hands pop up to answer her every question. It's a sight the teacher loves seeing.

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2017 Golden Apple winners announced Thursday

Five teachers from across Winnebago and Boone counties were honored with a Golden Apple Award Thursday. 

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2 men who saved kayaker from Rock River are honored

Hometown heroes: That's what two men are being called after saving a kayaker from going in to the Fordam Dam last week. 

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Local students show off culinary expertise in team competition

High school students from across the area competed in a local culinary competition Tuesday morning at Vintage @ 501 in downtown Rockford. 

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JROTC celebrates 100 years in Rockford schools

100 years. That's how long the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program has been in the Rockford Public Schools. Since then, the program has seen a lot of changes but in that time it has remained a program dedicated to serving the youth of Rockford.

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Fun with fossils: PaleoFest gets adults and children excited about science

You don't have to travel too far here in the Stateline to learn about dinosaurs.  This weekend is PaleoFest at the Burpee Museum. 

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Teacher of the Week: Melisa Meligan Riverview Elementary School

Walk into Melisa Meligan's 4th grade class at Riverview Elementary School and you will see her attire for 'mismatch day'.  The first year teacher sports a mini pink tie, green tank top, burnt orange leggings supported by a white and a black high heel on each foot.  

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Teacher of the Week: Heidi Heilman

At Riverdahl Elementary School in Rockford, teacher Heidi Heilman spends the morning teaching her 3rd graders. The lesson on this day, cause and effect. 

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Rockford car dealers donate $10,000 to Rock House Kids

A Rockford organization that helps local kids is getting a lot of help themselves; Rock House Kids received a $10,000 donation on Thursday from the Rockford New Car Dealers Association.

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Youth program builds homes and confidence

Some young people in the Stateline are making sure families have homes, all while learning skills for a career.  

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Teacher of the Week: Diana Kelly at Stephen Mack Middle School

The halls of Stephen Mack Middle School in Rockton are busy, filled with students with a lot of energy.  

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Rockford man spends life collecting historic memorabilia

Terry Carl was only eight-years-old when he got his first piece of memorabilia, but what started out as a Boys Scout project has turned into a lifelong fascination.

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Hundreds attend 815 Choose Civility kickoff event in Rockford

Area residents sign on to take the civility pledge Area residents sign on to take the civility pledge

Hundreds took a pledge Tuesday night to choose civility. The event was one that was in the making since August, when a grassroots group of citizens came together to form a group focused solely on civility and treating one another with respect. 

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Happy Feet: Rockford's Palace Shoe Repair celebrates more than 90 years in business

It was 1926 and three years before the  start of the Great Depression. It was also the year the Giamalva family decided to open Palace Shoe Service in downtown Rockford. 

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Teacher of the Week: Lewis Lemon's Michelle Manigault

Michelle Manigault Michelle Manigault

In Michelle Manigault's 3rd grade class, she spends the morning teaching math. While she teaches her students at Lewis Lemon Elementary school the basics of counting, they know they have a teacher to count on. 

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Rockford's Lucerne's Fondue and Spirits serves food with a side of tradition

What makes a good restaurant? There's the atmosphere. The service. And there's the food. Mark Tietz opened Lucerne's Fondue and Spirits 25 years ago in downtown Rockford. 

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Local food pantry & soup kitchen renovates its space to make it more welcoming for guests

The Catholic Charities St. Elizabeth's Center on South Main Street knows it's now always easy to ask for help.  

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Food & Fellowship: 15th & Chris feeds community with friendliness and gourmet burgers

James Purifoy, a lifelong Rockford resident, is making it his mission to feed the community with friendliness and gourmet burgers at 15th & Chris. 

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Local family raises over $75,000 after losing a child to cancer

After a Pecatonica woman lost her son to cancer, she decided to turn her tragedy into a blessing for other parents, and hopefully a future for other kids. 

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Whitman Post student spreads 'great gossip' at her school

Gossip can spread like wildfire, especially in school.

But at Whitman Post Elementary in Rockton, one 5th grader is using her words to spread positivity using great gossip. 

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Remembering Mark Mayhew on Day of Positivity

Today, we remember our late assignment editor Mark Mayhew, who was always doing his part to focus on the positive here in the Stateline.  

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Former homeless man returns to volunteer at Carpenter's Place

Troy Allen volunteers at The Carpenter's Place almost every day, but you might not know that Troy used to be a client here. 

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Running program helps girls with their self-esteem

Young girls can face all sorts of negative messages while growing up about how to act, how to look, or how to feel about themselves.  But a growing program that has expanded to Rockford is helping girls and young women run away from the negative influences and towards the positive experiences in life. 

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SwedishAmerican now delivering "puppygrams" to patients

Some four-legged friends are making a difference at SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford. 

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Beating Diabetes on the Basketball Court

When you watch Belvidere's MacKenzie Beattie or Byron's Abby Richardson play basketball, you don't see the same silent fight for optimum health. 13 News, Weather, and Sports' Day of Positivity with a story of two athletes winning on and off the court.

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Rockford candlemaker bringing positivity to the community

Monday was a busy day at the office for David Bieke.  Bieke is in the business of candle making, and on this day he was finishing up a batch of blueberry muffin. Candles, that is.  

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Educator at Roosevelt Alternative High wins Golden Apple Award

Jennifer Macek Jennifer Macek

The Golden Apple Foundation recognized an outstanding area educator Tuesday night. 

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Area nonprofit leader shares how Mark Mayhew helped the community

Today, February 1, WREX is hosting a Day of Positivity. The idea for that day came in part as a way to remember our late assignment editor Mark Mayhew, who passed away just a few weeks ago, and who was always doing his part to focus on the positive in the Stateline. 

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Central Illinois woman spends decades writing to the President

PEKIN, Ill. - In a quiet subdivision in Pekin, one woman has received a very special letter from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And while it's a memento by any means, it's just one of dozens that she's collected over her many years of writing the Commander-In-Chief. "The first letter that I wrote,' explains Sheila Wilkinson, "I wrote two letters to President Kennedy." Wilkinson has written to seven different Presidents and heard back from six of them directly -  inclu... More>>

Rival Iowa high schools join together to support boy with brain tumor

Jaymeson Payton Jaymeson Payton
Updated:

Coming together to be Jay Strong. 

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The WREX Day of Positivity is today

Today, February 1, 13 News is hosting a Day of Positivity. 

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Teacher of the Week: Jenny Amenda

Jenny Amenda spends the morning reading to her 4th graders. As they sit in a circle in her classroom at Saint James School in Rockford, they are hooked on her every word. With the turn of every page, you can see their eyes light up and their imaginations churning. 

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Teacher of the Week: Beth Stephans

Take a look at the door leading into Beth Stephans 5th grade class and you will see her attitude towards teaching. Words building her students up to be thinkers, explorers and leaders.  Take a look insider her classroom and you will see those words in action.  

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Meads Market: Old school handshake and a smile

If you drive by too fast, you'll miss it. Take a step inside though, and you will be greeted with a warm handshake and a smile from owner, Jeff Meads. Like his shop, Jeff is an old school guy. 

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Volunteers keep Freeport warm with creative clothing distribution

All around Freeport, hats, mittens and scarves hang from trees and benches on Saturday, but they weren't left there on accident. 

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Teacher of the Week: Kassi Thew

At Welsh Elementary School in Rockford, Kassi Thew is listing off words that describe different emotions.

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Teacher of the Week: Debbie Close

On snowy days, sometimes the best medicine is simply a good book. Luckily for the 8th graders at Meridian Junior High School their teacher, Debbie Close, has plenty of them.  

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Police deliver gifts to kids spending Christmas in the hospital

It's no fun being in the hospital for Christmas, especially if you're a kid. 

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Delivering Holiday Cheer: Rockford letter carrier finds joy in the season

It's the busiest week of the year for postal workers, but for one local man, it's a labor of love.  

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Teacher of the Week: Angela Hulsey - Beyer Elementary

Inside Angela Hulsey's kindergarten class at Beyer Elementary School, you will find her teaching the fundamentals like how to count. 

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2016-17 Golden Apple Award finalists announced

13 News is excited to announce this year's finalists for the Golden Apple Awards.  Nearly 400 teachers were nominated, and now committees have narrowed the finalists down to 20. 

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Teacher of the Week: Ken Husser - Belvidere North High School

In Ken Husser's classroom at Belvidere North High School the things on the walls show a few things about him. 

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Teacher of the Week: Katrina Garnhart

At East High School, Katrina Garnhart is an English teacher who is less worried about the words on the pages and more interested in the lives of her students. 

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Teacher of the Week: KC Goad

Inside of a loud, crazy and chaotic gym at Flinn Middle School, students run to work off their energy for the day. Luckily for these sweaty students, they have a teacher with enough energy to keep up with them. 

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Teacher of the Week: Brad Christoff

Inside Hononegah High School, you will find Brad Christoff's classroom. The first thing you will notice when walking through the doors is that it's not the most quiet classroom at the school. 

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Teacher of the Week: Cari Benkovich of Whitman Post Elementary

A good teacher inspires students and ignites a passion in them to love learning. So when Cari Benkovich's third grade student Katherine Hardwich said, "I tell my mom everyday that I love school!" Benkovich was overwhelmed with emotion. 

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Cubs Fan Remembers Her Father After World Series Victory

Sharon Enna lost her father, an avid cubs fan, last September.  But when the cubs made it to the world series this year she says it was like he was on the field with them every game. Today Sharon plans on placing a W flag on her father's grave, so he can celebrate the championship along with everyone else. 

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357 teachers nominated for Golden Apple Awards

Three-hundred and fifty seven teachers are nominated for the 2016-17 Golden Apple Awards.

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Teacher of the Week: Julie Rohl

When students walk into Julie Rohls science class at Rockford Christian School, they know to roll up their sleeves and get to work. It's something that her 6th graders do on a daily basis. 

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Teacher of the Week: James Sabathne

To some, a high school history is not the most exciting of subjects. There are a lot of dates, names and event which can drive a student to boredom. 

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Teacher of the Week: Todd Hall of Meridian Junior High

At Meridian Junior High School, Todd Hall teaches his 6th graders English.

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Teacher of the Week: Debby Krueger

Debby Krueger doesn't need an equation to figure out her 5th graders at Bloom Elementary School. 

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Teacher of the Week: Tara Jepsen

Tara Jepsen teaches numbers and like all elementary school teachers, she has a lot on her plate.  

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Rockford Art Deli: Capturing the spirit of Rockford on t-shirts

Jarrod Hennis has the entrepreneurial spirit, he see's an opportunity and he runs with it. Since he opened Rockford Art Deli four years ago, he has seen his customers run in and his business take off.  

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Teacher of the Week: Becky Hogan

You never quite know what will come out of a four year old's mouth, but luckily for this group of Jr. Kindergartener's they have someone who will listen. 

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Teacher of the Week: Lance Tuula of Whitman School

Learning is fun, or at least it should be but in Mr. Lance Tuulas 5th grade class at Whitman School in Rockton, fun is a guarantee.

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Teacher of the Week: Joe Meersman, Boylan HS

Walking though the halls at Boylan Catholic High School you can see the connection that Mr. Meersman has with his students. "He's always saying hi to people in the hallways. He makes my day whenever I see him in the halls. Hes awesome." 

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Free basketball tournament held in Davis Park

Hundreds of people spent their Labor Day competing on the basketball court.  

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POSITIVE LOCAL NEWS: What's been great about your summer in Rockford?

As Labor Day weekend nears, many of us at 13 WREX are reflecting on what a wonderful summer its been for the community.  

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Hundreds of people turn out for Rockford's "Anything that Floats" race

Hundreds of people lined the bank of the Rock River in Rockford Sunday morning to watch the Anything that Floats Race. Participants, who built their own boats, started at Auburn Street bridge and traveled a little under 1.5 miles to Prairie Street Brewhouse. 

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POSITIVE LOCAL NEWS: RPS 205 teachers break out in song to help start school year

Rockford Public School teachers had some fun early this week before students officially arrived for the first day of school. 

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SwedishAmerican turns to adult coloring books for patients

Coloring books are making a comeback but not for just kids, for adults too.

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Join us Friday for a special Rio-themed Rockford City Market

Join us Friday night for a special Rio Olympics-themed booth at Rockford City Market! The 13 WREX team is at City Market every Friday for our 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts, but over the next four weeks we will be there for the entirety of the market with a special Olympics theme. 

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Discovery Center hosts Pizza Palooza for this week's Family Friday

Kids got a tasty treat during the Discovery Center's Family Friday event today. 

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Virtual tours show off what's great about Rockford

For the first time, the Illinois Department of Tourism and the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau are bringing the best of Rockford through a series of virtual tours. 

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Loves Park Police receive gift and support from two young residents

Courtesy Loves Park Police Courtesy Loves Park Police

Two little girls stopped by the Loves Park Police Department Tuesday afternoon with a little thank you gift; The girls brought a tray of cupcakes to the men and women in uniform.

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Ashton woman opens soup kitchen to serve people of Rochelle

Sharing is caring. For most people that's just a saying. But for one Ashton woman it's a way of living. This is the story of one woman's mission of spreading kindness one plate at a time.

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Local vets find healing through music

Its a condition that our nations veterans are all too aware of, PTSD. All month long, organizations across the country and right here in Rockford are helping raise awareness.

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Culture Shock celebrates 10 years in business

A Rockford store is celebrating a milestone: It's been in business for a decade.  Culture Shock opened 10 years ago this year. 

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56 Years Behind the Plate

The Boys and Girls Club's baseball season is in full swing for the summer with a familiar face working as an umpire for our area players.

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Local teacher will share cancer journey at this weekend's Bow Tie March

A Harlem High school teacher says his lucky day was the day he got diagnosed with cancer.  Seems like an odd thing to say, right?  But it's not to John Easton.  Because not only were his chances of surviving really good, his life was about to change for better or worse.

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Two Rockford boys recognized for heroic action

Some little heroes in Rockford are getting big recognition from police and firefighters. Last week an officer spotted Antonio and Malik helping an older man with a lawnmower. 

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Freeport School District accepted into free lunch program

Officials from Freeport School District say students will have the opportunity to have free breakfast and lunch thanks to a federal program. 

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Teacher of the Week: Erin Abruzzo of Harlem High School

A teacher at Harlem High School is balancing equations to equal success. She is the WREX Teacher of the Week.

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Teacher of the Week: Steven Powers of East High School

The first year of high school is often a memorable one and a Rockford teacher wants to make sure his students can look back fondly on freshman year. 

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Summerfield Zoo Announces Opening Weekend

Summerfield Zoo has announced their opening weekend for 2016.   

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Hononegah junior launches teen publishing company

A Hononegah juniors has started a first-ever teen publishing company. His motivation? He wasn't given a second look when he wrote his first book.  

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Saint Anthony College of Nursing to host open house

The Saint Anthony College of Nursing, or SACN, is hosting 'Spring into SACN!', an open house for the program.

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