Winnebago County NEWS BRIEFS

Park District offers free public art walking tours

Enjoy viewing an eclectic, unique collection of public art while getting the benefits of refreshing outdoor exercise by taking a free public art walking tour.

The Rockford Park District’s award-winning two-mile walk and organized one-hour to one-hour 20- minute (approximately) tour along the Rock River Recreation Path departs every Thursday through August 14, 2014 11:00 a.m. (weather permitting) from the lobby of Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. Second St., Rockford, IL, and features 16 unique sculptures, some of which are works by local artists, and many of which were donated to the Park District.

Scheduled group tours are also available. The tour is intended to connect people with the art along the Rock River Recreation Path, and the Rockford Park District, in cooperation with Rockford Art Museum and the Arts in the Park Committee, is committed to providing high quality public art for the community to enjoy, contemplate, and explore.

This walking tour earned Rockford Park District a “Best of the Best” award in 2012 from the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) for Arts in the Parks. The award, presented in partnership with Arts Alliance Illinois, recognizes agencies (park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation, and special recreation agencies) that support the arts and partner with artists and arts organizations to enhance the quality of life in their communities.

To reserve a tour time, call Nicholas Conservatory at 815-987-8858 or call 815-987-1654.


Couple indicted for financial exploitation  

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato has announced a Rockford couple has been  indicted by a Winnebago County Grand Jury.   Gary Peterson and his wife Kathleen Peterson (DOB: face a 22-count indictment on charges of Financial Exploitation of an Elderly Person, Conspiracy, and Theft.

The charges stem from an investigation into financial documents for an almost 90 year old woman.  Police say Gary Peterson was introduced to the victim in the late 1990′s as a financial advisor.   Investigators say Gary and Kathleen Peterson took at least $50,000 from the victim between 2010 and 2014 but the investigation is on-going.  Gary Peterson worked as a financial advisor/investor in the Rockford area from 2003-12.


Public schools seek new human resources chief

Chief Human Resources Officer Angel Contreras is leaving his role in Rockford Public Schools to rejoin GE Aviation in a leadership role in Mississippi.

The School Board last week approved hiring Lori Burke of Burke Consulting Group as interim chief human resources officer to work through Oct. 31. District leaders hope to hire a new Chief HR Officer by Oct. 1, leaving a month of transition time. The contract includes a salary of $38,000 to be paid over four months.

Burke, an East High School graduate, is familiar with RPS. She helped with the leadership transition from interim Superintendent Robert Willis to Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. She has also worked with RPS administration in strategic planning, staff salary ranges and pay analysis, and staff placement and training.

Burke has worked in HR for 25 years in roles ranging from organization development consultant to chief administrative officer. She spent 10 years at Sundstrand, 11 years at AMCORE Financial and three years at Savant Capital Management.

Contreras worked in RPS nearly two years. He came to RPS in August 2012 from Rockford-based GE Aviation, where he was HR director. “I see a lot of opportunity for the future of our schools, and I worked with a lot of passionate people who can make the changes happen,” Contreras said. “So many people are supporting the culture change not just within RPS, but within the entire community.”


Fastpitch coaches group honors RVC staff

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) has announced that the Rock Valley College Softball coaching staff has been selected NFCA NJCAA Division III National Coaching Staff of the Year.

Head coach Darin Monroe and first-year assistant coaches Katie Dixon, Chad Kulpa, and Alyssa Novak led the Golden Eagles to a 42-9 school record this past season and the college’s first ever national championship in softball in just the program’s third NJCAA tournament appearance. In three years under Monroe, RVC has appeared in two NJCAA tournaments and has compiled a stellar 104-39 mark.

Monroe picked up his 100th career win in the Golden Eagles’ 8-7 victory over College of DuPage in the Region IV championship game and then defeated defending national champion Herkimer for the second time in three days as part of a 4-0 run at the NJCAA national tournament in Rochester, Minn., that also included beating No. 1 seed Brookdale in the semifinals.

Sophomore NFCA All-America pitcher Amanda Blankenship went 3-0 at the national tournament with a 0.30 earned-run average to collect both Most Valuable Player and Pitcher of the Tournament honors.


—Winnebago County News Briefs are compiled by submitted items and other news sources.