This Week A Salute To Connie Sorn, Stroke Detection, A Call For Interns and More

Stephenson County, Illinois — We’ll soon be kicking off our 2018 trip season, and we have one of our busiest years yet coming up with a variety of single day and multi-day excursions. Our March 27 Deere/Kinze trip kicks off the year with great riding tours of the Deere Harvester Works in East Moline and Kinze Manufacturing in Williamsburg Iowa, with a stop along the way at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline. This is always a popular trip and we only have 47 seats available, so call today at (815) 232-3186 to reserve your seat. Complete details are available at

Details are being finalized for our July 23-25 trip to the Hoosier State for a day at the spectacular Fair Oaks Farms, followed by two days immersed in the Amish/Mennonite culture of Shipshewana Indiana. The Fair Oaks visit will include tours of their Dairy Adventure, Pig Adventure and the new Crop Adventure and all the various elements of this popular ‘agri-tainment’ destination. Dinner that evening will be at Das Dutch Essenhaus restaurant in Middlebury, with two nights’ accommodations at the wonderful Farmstead Inn in Shipshewana. Day two includes the terrific Amish Countryside Tour, followed by the presentation of “Stolen” at the Blue Gate Theatre and the bountiful family-style dinner at the Blue Gate Restaurant. Day three offers free time to enjoy the massive flea market and auction, visit the many shops in town, or maybe take a buggy ride in the country. Watch for details posted soon on this fun-filled outing!

Other trips on the schedule include Circa ’21 Dinner Theatre for “Rise Up, O Men” (April 8); Fireside Dinner Theatre for performances of “Church Basement Ladies: A Second Helping (June 3 – full), “Grease” (September 6), and “Elf – The Musical” (November 8); Wisconsin State Fair (August 7); and two Cubs/Brewers baseball outings to Miller Park in Milwaukee (April 6 night game and June 13 day game). We’re also signing up travelers for our “North Woods Adventure” with Tri-State Travel August 15-19 and “Colorado’s Historic Trains” with Lindstrom Travel September 14-22. Check out the details at our website or stop by or call the FB office.

Da zoo run, run, run…

My wife Andrea and I kicked off our celebratory year on January 14 as we joined some 1500 runners in the 38th annual “Samson Stomp & Romp” 5K run at the Milwaukee Zoo, a benefit event named for the famous gorilla that resided at the zoo from 1950-1981. It was a brisk 5 degrees with a sub-zero wind chill, but it was a fun time supporting a cause that is dear to us as our son David and his family loved visiting the zoo regularly when they lived in Milwaukee. We enjoyed a great lunch at A.J Bombers and a visit to the Milwaukee Public Market with dinner at the St. Paul Fish Company located there. We love visiting Milwaukee and its many attractions, and we’ll be back there in March for the annual Lucky Leprechaun 7K run. We’re having a ball planning out our year of fun as we prepare to celebrate our 60th birthdays and our 40th wedding anniversary, with a goal of running at least one race every month this year.

Stroke Detection Plus

We’re pleased to be welcoming the Stroke Detection Plus team back on February 21 performing their vital ultrasound screenings to determine your risk of arterial blockages and osteoporosis. We’ve been working with SDP for many years with outstanding results, and they have helped numerous people avoid potentially deadly health concerns by these quick, non-invasive tests. FB members save $35 on the full set of tests; call (877) 732-8258 to schedule your appointment.

Salute to Connie

I was stunned by the recent news of the sudden dismissal of my friend Connie Sorn as the Executive Director of the Freeport/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau after 28 years in the position. While we aren’t privileged to know the justification of the unexpected move initiated by the CVB board president and an attorney, we do know that Connie showed her true character and integrity by taking the high road in the ensuing flood of social media responses to the action. I’ve enjoyed working with Connie for years on events such as the Cheese and Cheers Tour and other key local events, and she has been the consummate professional in every way as she’s been the face of Stephenson County tourism and promotion. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Connie’s next chapter in her book of life, as I know that she has a lot to offer and will continue to make a positive impact in our corner of the world!

Time marches on

It amazes me that I started my 15th year here as SCFB manager on January 19th, as each day still seems as new and exciting as my first one. I feel truly blessed to be involved in such a diverse and engaging career path with each day bringing new adventures and opportunities to work with an abundance of great people. I thank the SCFB board of directors for the chance to serve in this capacity, and I thank the people of Stephenson County and northwest Illinois for your support.

Last call for intern applicants

SCFB is accepting applications for our 2018 Summer Program Assistant position, which is open to any college students with at least one year of school completed as of May 2018. The paid position will run from late May through mid-August, and applications are due by January 31. Position details and the application form can be found at

Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau


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