Features - 47
Joe Marino, aka Mr. Fourth of July, near a statue dedicated to his many years of service. (Dustin Waller photo)
Joe Marino: Spreading Holiday Joy for Nearly 50 Years

Rockford’s Fourth of July fireworks event isn’t the only celebration that bears Joe Marino’s fingerprints. For more than 50 years, he’s volunteered his time to support local traditions, from the Festival of Lights to Festa Italiana.

Anderson Japanese Gardens: If you can dream it, you can find it at the gift shop at Anderson Japanese Gardens. Impress someone with Grandmother’s Buttons jewelry, luxury spa equipment, wasabi hand wash and an eggplant purple bamboo throw … to name a few surprises awaiting you at Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 997-1197, andersongardens.org.
NWQ Gift Guide: It’s in the Bag!

Tracking down unique gifts isn’t limited to a season. No matter the occasion, follow our annual gift guide for plenty of one-of-a-kind items you’ll find around the Stateline area.

This 45-foot long tunnel connects the Milton House basement to the cellar of the Goodrich log cabin behind it. (Jon McGinty photo)
Local Ties to the Underground Railroad

It was neither under the ground nor a real railroad, but its participants helped thousands of black slaves in America to escape from bondage. Writer and photographer Jon McGinty travels to local stops along the escape route.

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The Deep Hometown Roots of An American President

President Ronald Reagan never lived in Dixon, Ill., after he grew up, but he always spoke of his hometown with affection and said that it represented what is good in so many American communities.

(Mark Blassage photos)
The Nygren Five: A Photographer’s Vigil

What is it about the endangered whooping crane that so entrances the human heart? Local photographer Mark Blassage shares his experience of spending 24 days on “crane time” last fall.