Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

What do I do after the show ends at 9:00? I read. I'm especially interested in literature from the WNIJ listening area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by authors from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. Interviews and excerpts are available as podcasts in our archives.

If you're a writer from this area, or have a personal connection to this place, send your book to me at 801 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115. You can also email a .doc or .pdf to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While most of the books I feature come from established presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your manuscript is well edited.

Thanks,

@danklefstad

#WNIJReadWithME

Ways To Connect

The 2013 pension overhaul signed by then-Gov. Pat Quinn is being decided by the seven justices of the Illinois Supreme Court. The law extends retirement ages for current state workers, reduces retirees' automatic and compounded yearly increases in the cost-of-living allowance (COLA), and limits the amount of salary used to figure pension benefits.

The law is expected to save $137 billion over three decades. It has yet to be implemented, pending the outcome of the suit filed by unions and retirees.

Author? Author?

Mar 2, 2015

WNIJ is calling all authors in the Northern Public Radio listening area to submit their published work for consideration in the summer edition of the #WNIJReadWithMe Book Series which airs in June. Submissions will be accepted through April 3.

When you write a novel, how much of your life experience do you give to your characters? And how much of that experience do you fictionalize?

This question came up during two panel discussions with WNIJ Book Series authors last week. One panelist, Katie Andraski, described how she transferred her experience as a publicist to her protagonist in The River Caught Sunlight.

Performance artist. Visual artist. World's Best Dishwasher.

These are just a few of the things Jesus Correa lists on his website. He also ran for Mayor of Rockford, getting nearly 400 votes in 2009.

More recently, Correa released a book of poetry after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The collection, Iced Cream, is published by Zombie Logic, a firm that bills itself as "The most dangerous small press in America."

The latest book in our 2015 Winter Book Series is a novel set during a time when evangelical authors and publishers pushed for wider recognition of books with a Christian perspective.

If you saw Ron Modell leading Northern Illinois University's Jazz Ensemble, you'll recognize the title of his memoir, Loved Bein' Here With You.

If you haven't, here's the story behind the title:

Early in his career at NIU, Modell invited trombonist Phil Wilson to perform with the ensemble. In between rehearsal sessions, Wilson heard Modell singing Peggy Lee's tune, "I Love Being Here With You," and bet $10 that Modell wouldn't have the nerve to sing it on stage:

Fisher House Foundation

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn traveled to Maryland this weekend to visit the Army’s Walter Reed Medical Center. After delivering Christmas cards to wounded service members, Quinn made a pitch to frequent fliers to donate their miles to the family members of patients at facilities like Walter Reed:

You don't have to give all your miles. You can give a portion of those miles to a common fund. You can learn about this at OperationHomefront.org.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois political leaders are remembering Judy Baar Topinka.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn says he's "heartbroken" about the death of Republican state Comptroller. Topinka's office says she died early Wednesday after suffering a stroke. Quinn called her "a trailblazer in every sense of the word" and a "force of nature."

Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner, a fellow Republican, remembered Topinka for her "magnetic, one-of-a-kind personality." He said she cared "about what was best for the people" of Illinois.

The death of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka raises questions about how to fill her post. According to the state Constitution, it's up to the Governor to appoint a successor until the next election. But election officials are unsure about the process.

That's because the term ends January 12  and an election has already been held.  State Board of Elections Director Rupert Borgsmiller says they are not sure how to handle it: "Nobody knows at this point by looking at the Constitution and the election code itself."

WNIJ seeks a producer and reporter for Morning Edition. This position needs a strong writer who is creative and able to contribute to a fast-paced, content-rich presentation of the news for northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

This position involves writing and editing newscast copy, downloading and editing newscast audio, and gathering and aggregating news for broadcast and digital media.

The producer works closely with the Morning Edition host, and may also act as a substitute host.

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