Our City, Our Story

All Stories

E01: The Torchlighter
Episode 01

The Torchlighter

1955. Vincent Chiarelli of Sicily arrived to Rockford, IL with a song in his heart and a needle in his pocket. He opened a small tailor shop and spun out a music publishing company with his own record label from its success.…

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E02: Jimmy Goodman
Episode 02

Jimmy Goodman

Jimmy Goodman lives up to his surname. Three days a week, he volunteers in running and coaching youth in the sport of boxing. When you walk in to the space, you immediately see the ring before you, but you may not get to step in it for months…

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E03: Pioneer of the Past
Episode 03

Pioneer of the Past

Can one man change the world? Yes—pre-eminent historian James Henry Breasted did just that, simply by changing the way we look at the world and its history. Elementary school students first learn…

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E04: Darrell Hines
Episode 04

Darrell Hines

Epictetus said, "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." We live in a world amply sprinkled with naysayers. Hearing the word NO more than YES has become…

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E05: Handcuffs To Handshakes
Episode 05

Handcuffs To Handshakes

Joseph Goral was arrested in 2006 for vandalizing property with spray paint. He was one of a few that were made examples of by an anti-graffiti task force. Mayor Larry Morrissey's press conference was one of victory…

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E06: Bonds By Fire
Episode 06

Bonds By Fire

The O'Keefe family is one of the only two 3rd generation Fire Fighting families to serve Rockford on the Fire Department. Though they share the same blood, and history, each of the members of the fire department are a part of a brotherhood…

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E07: Hometown History
Episode 07

Hometown History

There are two things you can do when someone labels you. You can either accept it, or prove it wrong. Darcy Hill is the Drama teacher at the Lutheran Academy. Every year she puts on a play with her 4th grade students. However, this was not like every other year…

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E08: Team Fur Bandit
Episode 08

Team Fur Bandit

"Did I just really see that?" It was the middle of December, and on a snow soaked Sunday afternoon a couple dozen fur covered bikes were sprinting down East State Street. Directly after this mass of bikes was a white truck…

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E09: Hazzard Free
Episode 09

Hazzard Free

Andy Hazzard had been a staple of downtown Rockford before she decided to acknowledge her true calling of farming. She was a waitress at Octane, she worked on jewelry at several art fairs, but when it came down to it, she had far too strong…

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E10: Fabric and Color Patterns
Episode 10

Fabric & Color Patterns

The flag is more than just fabric and color patterns. Its a reminder… a point of reference, it gives us a way collectively to think about how far we've come and yet how far we have to go. People gave their lives so that we could live in a better country…

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E11: Buddy Baseball
Episode 11

Buddy Baseball

Starting in June, families come to to the baseball diamonds at Guilford to something special in this community. Buddy Baseball. You see smiles. Cheers. “Hit the ball! Don't look at me!… Run!” The announcer gets on the mic: “Next up to bat, is Joshua” Everyone in…

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E12: MainfraiM
Episode 12


Peer into the windows of their studio on Rockford’s Central Avenue late one night, and chances are you’ll find Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner of MainfraiM Habitat for Art captivated by their work, performing some inspired alchemy. In the hands of these artists…

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E13: Our Curiosity
Episode 13

Our Curiosity

When Forest City Gear first aspired to be world-class gear manufacturers, they couldn’t have imagined that someday they would surpass that boundary. Perhaps universe-class best describes them now? With one rover mission under their belts, and now with over 75 of their gears currently on Mars in the highly anticipated Curiosity rover, those original aspirations have been surpassed.

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E14: Potato Shak
Episode 14

Potato Shak

George Avramopoulos is Pete's older brother. He is one of the reasons so many people frequent the Potato Shak, because of his mild manner and overall energy for life. He's the type of guy who wants to shake your hand. Ask how you are, and is happy to see you. What makes this story a unique one, is what happens when polite conversation, turns into reality.

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E15: Opportunity in the Making
Episode 15

Opportunity in the Making

It started with a tweet, and now Rockford, IL is partnering with ETSY to help get it back to the roots. Artisan. Hand made. Opportunity in the Making.

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E16: The Greatest
Episode 16

The Greatest
"Thank you"

Once a year on a late September weekend, you’ll find Sam Hiser—along with over 1,000 of his friends—eating, drinking, and dodging enemy fire on acres of land at Rockford’s Midway Village. Dressed to the hilt in World War II period uniforms, complete with impeccably authentic personal items, the men and women meet to create living history and reenact live-action battle scenarios.

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E14: Left arm. Right arm. Breathe. Repeat.
Episode 17

Left arm. Right arm. Breathe. Repeat.

Paul is the type of person that just uplifts all around him by pushing forward with an unstoppable drive. Yet, he is humble. He is not one to seek the spotlight, and thats why this piece was so revealing to those closest to him.

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E18: Do It Yourself.
Episode 18

Do It Yourself.

Eric Neubauer was a friend who I've looked up to for a long time. His story goes beyond helping a troubled neighborhood out by turning a lot into a skatepark; he has been a mentor and father figure to a lot of fatherless and lost young skateboarders throughout the years (including myself).

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E19: Coming Soon
Episode 19


E20: Coming Soon
Episode 20


E21: Coming Soon
Episode 21


E22: Coming Soon
Episode 22


E23: Coming Soon
Episode 23


E24: Coming Soon
Episode 24


E25: Coming Soon
Episode 25


E26: Coming Soon
Episode 26