CeaseFire Rockford Funding Is Resurrected in Springfield

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After lawmakers approved next year's state budget Tuesday night, area legislators and CeaseFire leaders discovered Wednesday morning that Rockford's funding ceased to exist.

That's when the governor got involved.

Video of a CeaseFire neighborhood walk at Orton Keyes shows a unified voice against non-violence. The approved $54 million budget includes funding for other CeaseFire programs in Illinois, but poor oversight left Rockford out of the mix.

Upon learning this, Gov. Rod Blagojevich locked up $250,000 for CeaseFire Rockford. That's twice the amount CeaseFire received from Springfield this past year.

Coordinator Ralph Hawthorne says the money will continue the group's non-violent mission, especially after the city's recent spike in violent crime.

"We don't carry the silver bullet at CeaseFire, we don't claim that, but it's a big benefit for the community to have a program such as this that will proactively go out and try to work with high risk individuals," Hawthorne said.

CeaseFire Rockford recently celebrated its one year anniversary in Rockford. This Saturday the organization will have a special cookout at Fairground Park. The event will commemorate the city's victims of violence.