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."


The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.  DeVos’s nomination was controversial, and it took a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence to confirm her in the post.  But despite that, one education expert says her appointment may not have all that much effect – at least at first.

Laurie Elish-Piper, Dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University, says DeVos may have strong views, but she’s circumscribed in her actions by current law -- especially the Every Student Succeeds Act passed in 2015.

This week’s WNIJ Friday Forum features two Congressmen who are entering their fourth terms representing parts of northern Illinois.

City of Rockford

The City of Rockford says the water it provides residents is clean. The City’s Water Division was responding to published reports that it says may have left the false impression city water in one area is contaminated.

City of Ottawa

Ottawa will be asking its citizens whether they want home rule status for the city.  The City Council voted at its Jan. 17 meeting to put the question on the April 4 ballot.

Home Rule status would grant the city more flexibility to raise taxes. But according to the Ottawa Times, Mayor Robert Eschenbach says the city's desire for home rule isn't about that. He says it's about freeing the city from state restrictions that hinder the local government's ability to serve its citizens, such as providing cheaper internet access to residents.  

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The LaSalle County city of Mendota is working to keep a local manufacturer looking to expand.  It could mean a tenant for a long-vacant building and 100 new jobs.

Mendota Mayor Dave Boelk says commercial woodworking company Starved Rock Wood Products has been doing very well the last few years, expanding from 18 to 65 employees.  Now it wants to move into the old R.R. Donnelley building, left vacant when that company closed the facility in 2012, taking nearly 200 high-wage jobs with it.