Guy Stephens

WNIJ Here and Now Host

Guy Stephens is the local host for NPR's Here and Now on WNIJ.  He also produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements.  In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level.  Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU.  In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Belvidere is one of the top ten small cities in Illinois to start a business, according to a new study.

WalletHub places Belvidere 6th among Illinois small cities in its study.  The town was 241st out of 12 hundred cities ranked across the country.

Belvidere Mayor Mike Chamberlain says the ranking recognizes the lengthy effort by the city and its partners to bring businesses to the area  


Faculty members at Northern Illinois University are moving to form a union.  NIU faculty on Thursday filed an intent to unionize with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. 

NIU Associate Professor of History Rosemary Feurer says in a news release announcing the filing that a union will give faculty a greater voice to improve NIU, for the benefit of students and the community.

The United Faculty Alliance of Northern Illinois University would represent more than 600 tenured and tenure-track faculty members across NIU.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

April is National Poetry Month.  Rockford poet Christine Swanberg has achieved national recognition in a career spanning several decades.  So what did it take for her to become a poet?

First off, Swanberg says, she didn’t always know she would become a poet, or even that she could become one.

Proudly DeKalb, Inc.

 The City of DeKalb did not advance to the finals of the "America’s Best Communities" competition.  That means they won't have a chance at the 3 million dollar first prize.  But the chair of the team behind the effort says they will continue with their community revitalization efforts.

Frank Roberts says not making the finals was a disappointment. But he’s still proud of what the Proudly DeKalb team did, and of the town they represent.

City of Beloit

David Zibolski will be sworn in as the City of Beloit’s Chief of Police Monday night at City Hall. 

Zibolski has served as the City of Beloit’s Interim Police Chief since June 2015.  He was appointed after City Manager Lori Luther put then-Police Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin on leave.  That came after an external review accused the two of leadership problems and mismanagement of the department.  Jacobs and Dunkin eventually reached a settlement with the city that allowed them to retire in January.

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center


A group of local arts organizations and individuals will commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death this weekend in Rockford with a program called “Shakespearience.”

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is presenting the program Saturday night at Rockford’s Court Street United Methodist Church.  The Center’s Rulee Stallman led the effort to celebrate the Bard of Avon.  She says she realized the anniversary was also a perfect opportunity to celebrate the range of local artists.

City of Freeport, IL

Freeport’s mayor and council are at odds over the city’s legal department. Mayor Jim Gitz on Monday vetoed a council measure to end the department and outsource its services.

Mayor Gitz says the Council did not give a good explanation of why the measure was a good idea, or even why it was needed.   According to the Freeport Journal-Standard, Gitz also says the ordinance was being used to interfere with the work of the mayor.  


  The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday a northern Illinois resident who died had the same strain of a bacteria responsible for a deadly outbreak in Wisconsin.

The IDPH’s Melaney Arnold says the department has been working with the federal Centers for Disease Control, along with health officials in Wisconsin and Michigan, on the outbreak associated with Elizabethkingia anophelis.

Freeport Art Museum

 A local family foundation has given the Freeport Art Museum a $15,000 matching grant.  The Museum says the grant will save programs that help it fulfill its mission.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

  Last fall, Accuride Corporation’s Gunite plant in Rockford won an industry award for excellence in manufacturing and business.  It reflects an extraordinary transformation for a facility that just a few years ago was, in the company’s own words, “left for dead” by the previous owners.