My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed this week at Walmart on Rockford's northeast side and in this neighborhood on the southeast side, where faith leaders organized a vigil for multiple victims, including the four who died. We are a resilient community where faith runs strong, yet that is not an easy thing to remember in the midst of such tragedy.



Rockford adds new anti-domestic violence initiative with $1 million in Stadelman-secured state funding

State Senator Steve Stadelman joined municipal and hospital officials this week to launch Rockford's latest effort to address domestic violence by equipping UW Health SwedishAmerican Emergency Department with specially trained staff to offer support and assistance to patients whose injuries stem from suspected domestic abuse.

"Health care systems have a unique opportunity and responsibility to identify, treat and refer victims. So hopefully," Stadelman said, "this partnership being announced this morning will provide victims with the support, resources and confidence they need to increase their safety and overall health. It's another step to try to reduce a very real problem in our community."

More than half of survivors seeking help from the Rockford Family Peace Center report they were strangled, a form of abuse that increases a survivor's risk of homicide by 700 percent.

Stadelman secured $1 million in state funding to form a new Lethality Prevention Division within the Mayor's Office of Domestic and Community Violence Prevention. The new strangulation response team is part of a multi-pronged strategy and some of the state funds, Stadelman noted, will go to Rockford Police for new technology to fight crime and improve public safety.

“From direct support for police to confront crime on the street to innovative approaches like this," he said, "I'll continue to work to deliver resources to make our community safer and improve the lives of families in distress.”

“From direct support for police to confront crime on the street to innovative approaches like
this, I'll continue to work to deliver resources to make our community safer and improve the

Stadelman champions legislation to enhance college savings, retirement plans

Standing beside State Treasurer Michael Frerichs at a news conference this week in Chicago, State Senator Steve Stadelman advocated for legislation he's sponsoring that would provide Illinois families greater flexibility in paying for college and planning for retirement.

Senate Bill 3133 would allow parents with 529 college savings plans to invest unused or leftover college funds into a retirement account. The proposal not only maximizes the benefits of the college savings plan but also fosters long-term financial security for future generations, according to Stadelman.

“Many families are worried about having unused or leftover funds in 529 accounts and not knowing what their options are,” Stadelman said. “By alleviating concerns about unintended taxation and maximizing the money’s value, we can provide greater security and stability for parents who are planning for their family’s future.”

Besides Frerichs, State Representative Diane Blair-Sherlock, Illinois AARP President Al Hollenbeck and Illinois State Board of Higher Education consultant Dorlande Charles spoke in support of Stadelman's legislation at the news conference.

“People are going to be saving their own money into these accounts,” Frerichs said. “But if we don’t make it easier for people to save, if we don’t give them more incentives to save, they’re unable to retire.”

SB 3133 has received approval of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee and awaits a hearing before the full Senate.

Click below to watch video from news conference:

In case you missed me on Facebook ...

Congratulations to Becky Cook Kendall (Becky Kendall) on her retirement from the Rockford Regional Health Council after 16 years as its director and a long, accomplished prior career that included a leadership role at the United Way of Rock River Valley. Becky's equally well known for her many volunteer activities, especially as a driving force behind the Rockford Association for Minority Management scholarship banquet. At a reception in her honor yesterday, Becky received an Illinois Senate resolution recognizing her many contributions to making Rockford a better place to live and work. But I doubt Becky is done giving her time, talent and expertise to good causes in our community!

David Ruffin
Congratulations. Now it's time to kick back and relax.