Dan Klefstad

Manager of Content Strategy & Morning Edition Host

As Content Manager, I oversee everything broadcast on NPR WNIJ and Classical WNIU. I'm also responsible for everything that appears on this website and social media pages. If you have a comment or question about what you hear or see on any of our platforms, email me at dklefstad@niu.edu or call 815-753-0081. I look forward to hearing your ideas about how we can better serve the community. I also look forward to waking you up each morning with the latest news and other information during Morning Edition.




2013 Summer Book Series
7:28 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Poetic Justice For Billy the Kid?

The only authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid sold for $2.3 million at a 2011 auction.

A picture may be worth a thousand words. But how many of us write down the words inspired by an iconic photograph, such as this one of Billy the Kid?

NIU poet John Bradley is familiar with this photo, the only authenticated image of the Wild West outlaw.

"I've studied that many times," Bradley said. "I think it's just one of the things a writer needs to feed the imagination."

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2013 Summer Book Series
6:23 am
Wed June 5, 2013

'Are We There Yet?' Memoir Recalls Family Vacations

The cover features Mamminga's mother, Eleanor, nicknamed Woody for her red hair.

450 miles. That's the distance Marnie Mamminga's family traveled every summer from suburban Chicago to their cabin in northwest Wisconsin.

Mamminga recalls the cabin, and the long journey it took to get there, in her latest book Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts.

In the 1950s, America's Interstate highways weren't completed, so Illinois families headed "Up North" drove rural roads for much of the trip.

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6:25 am
Tue June 4, 2013

"We Had A Legislative Session?" And Other Observations

Columnist Chuck Sweeny (Rockford Register Star photo)

The end of May brought several political developments (and non-developments) at the Illinois capital and in northern Illinois.

Rockford Register Star columnist, Chuck Sweeny, is a longtime observer of state and regional politics. He found the General Assembly's spring session amusing ("We had a legislative session?"), but also frustrating.

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2013 Summer Book Series
5:00 am
Wed May 8, 2013

WNIJ Announces 2013 Summer Book Series

Four books. Four author interviews. One great summer of reading  -- and it begins just four weeks from today.

This year's Summer Book Series starts Wednesday, June 5, with Marnie Mamminga's memoir of summer vacations in northwest Wisconsin.

Mamminga lives in suburban Chicago. Her book, Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts, recounts her family's annual trips to Wake Robin, a log cabin built by her grandfather in 1929.

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Pedaling Lincoln Highway
6:52 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Lincoln Highway's First Paved Mile

The bike takes a break under Creston's Lincoln Highway mural.
Dan Libman

In Part 3, author Dan Libman concludes his journey on Lincoln Highway. In March, Libman bicycled across sections of the highway to mark its centenary. Today, he visits Creston and Malta. The latter community is where the first mile of cement was laid, formally establishing America's first cross country highway. Click the Audio Link above to hear the radio version. Here's the final part of Libman's essay:

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Pedaling Lincoln Highway
5:27 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Journey Pauses At Vintage Gas Station

This easter egg mural commemorates the two days writer Emily Post stayed in Rochelle while her vehicle was stranded in mud on Lincoln Highway.
Dan Libman

In Part 2 of our series "Pedaling Lincoln Highway," author Dan Libman stops at the corner of Lincoln and Lincoln in downtown Rochelle. There, he visits a vintage Standard Oil station - the first on Lincoln Highway in Illinois. Click the above "Audio" link to hear Libman's interview with Ross Freier, director of Rochelle Tourism, inside the filling station. Libman's essay continues below:

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Pedaling Lincoln Highway Part One
8:13 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Traveling Lincoln Highway "A Sporting Proposition"

My bicycle leaning against the fence just behind the Lincoln Highway Museum in Franklin Grove. Passers-by take pictures here marking how far they've gone and how far they still have to go.
Dan Libman

WNIJ invited author Dan Libman to write about the centenary of Lincoln Highway, America's first coast-to-coast highway. Libman borrowed a WNIJ recorder and traveled the highway in March - on his bicycle. In Part One of our 3-part series, Libman stops at the Lincoln Highway Association's headquarters in Franklin Grove, IL. He also followed the highway through Dixon and Sterling.

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Community Close-Up
6:27 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Close-up: DeKalb And Its Homeless Citizens

Credit Dan Klefstad / pixlr

WNIJ's Community Close-up of DeKalb examines how a community supports its most vulnerable members.

About 44,000 people live in DeKalb.  Another 5,000 students live on campus at Northern Illinois University. The city is also host to a growing number of people who sleep in their cars, on their friends’ couches, or in the county’s only homeless shelter: Hope Haven.

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Hackmatack Wildlife Refuge
5:29 am
Thu February 28, 2013

McHenry County Parcel Starts National Refuge

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Illinois' purchase of 72 acres in McHenry County marks the beginning of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced the $511,000 purchase in late February. Director Marc Miller says the money comes from dedicated funds through the Capitol Construction Bill:

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5:34 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Another Way To Think About Same-Sex Marriage

NIU professor Jason Hanna (NIU Today)

This week, the Illinois Senate President hopes to pass a same-sex marriage bill. Democrat John Cullerton wants the upper chamber to approve the bill by Valentine's Day, and send it to the House. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he'd sign SB 10, but the bill faces an uncertain future in the lower chamber.

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