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."

IDES

The unemployment rate in the Rockford area jumped last month compared to the same time the year before.  The Illinois Department of Employment Security says December unemployment in Winnebago and Boone counties stood at 7.2 %, up from 6.9 % in December 2014.  Across Illinois, only the Decatur area had a higher jobless rate.  Rockford also suffered a net loss of 300 jobs from the previous year.

IDCEO

   Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner this week announced a new initiative to help support minority and women-owned businesses in the state.  To start, the program will focus on Rockford, Peoria and Chicago.  Jimmy Odom  is one of the people leading the “Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship” program.

Odom is a Senior Advisor at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.  He says the new program aims to increase the diversity of the business community.

Freeport Boil Order Lifted

Jan 19, 2016
Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com

Goodwill

    

Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois has approved plans for a new model in adult education.  The Excel Center will provide help in academic, job and life skills for people who didn’t graduate high school.

Target Corporation

 Target says it plans to add about 450 jobs at its DeKalb distribution center over the next several months. That will more than double employment at the site.

Aurora Police Department

Aurora could soon have its first female police chief.  Mayor Tom Weisner picked police commander Kristin Ziman on Thursday (Jan. 7) from a group of four candidates, all from within the Aurora Police Department.  Ziman, a 24-year veteran of the force, would replace retired police Chief Greg Thomas. The department has around 300 sworn officers serving a city of about 200,000.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb County is taking steps toward joining a regional alliance that could boost it politically and economically.  

Mark Pietrowski is DeKalb County Board Chairman.  He also sits on the County’s economic development committee.  The committee voted unanimously Tuesday night (Jan. 5) to pass a resolution of intent to join the proposed Northwest Illinois Regional Planning Commission on to the full Board.

Pietrowski says the alliance could provide a number of benefits to its members.

IDOC

The Illinois Department of Corrections says it increased the number of correctional officers by nearly 500 last year.  The agency says that’s helped drive down overtime costs. 

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson says after accounting for attrition through resignation, retirements and dismissals, the agency has increased staffing in 2015 by a net 468 correctional officers.  Wilson says, through Nov. 30, the department had hired 1,114 new trainees. 

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

For the last several years, an arts group has decorated windows for various occasions in Sterling, Rock Falls and Dixon.  This holiday season, it was Dixon’s turn. 

CFNIL

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois on Thursday announced matching endowments to Rockford University and Highland Community College.  The money will be used to create scholarship endowments totaling $5 million for students at the two schools. 

Highland Community College is receiving $1 million from the Foundation, toward a total scholarship endowment of $2 million.  Rockford University is receiving $1.5 million, toward a fund totaling $3 million.

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