Jenna Dooley

WNIJ All Things Considered Host

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield.  For 2012, she was named "Newsfinder of the Year" by the Illinois Associated Press. She is also recipient of the 2014 Donald R. Grubb NIU Journalism Alumni Award. She is not afraid to brag at parties that she has met Carl Kasell, Ira Glass, and Garrison Keillor (and has pictures to prove it!) She is the former Recording Secretary for the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.

NIU athletics

In response to public outcry over the failure of students to qualify under a free-tuition prize related to football attendance, the Northern Illinois University Athletics program is offering an olive branch.

Students who attended all six home games were notified this week of a reward for their efforts.

WNIJ obtained a letter provided to one of the recipients:

"Filing taxes - 1040 form" by Flickr User PT Money / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois attorney general is warning residents to avoid tax refund anticipation loans.

    

Such loans involve a tax preparer lending you the amount of the tax refund that you expect, minus interest and fees. 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says it may be tempting to get a return back quickly, but taxpayers should steer clear.

"Really, what those products are – are simply very expensive, very short term loans taken out against your tax refund,” Madigan said.

Jenna Dooley

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says the income tax rate in Illinois would need to double from its current rate to combat growing debt. She says Illinois is on pace to spend an additional $6.2 billion dollars more than it brings in.

Last year, the income tax rate dropped in Illinois – from 5 percent to 3.75 percent. Speaking in Rockford, Munger says the tax rate would need to be in the range of 7 to 8 percent.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

There is increased attention on water quality across the nation as a result of elevated levels of lead in Flint, Michigan.

For the past several years, the unincorporated community of Wedron, in LaSalle County, has been dealing with its own water woes.

EPA: Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

Jenna Dooley

Work continues to turn a northern Illinois mobile home park into a forest preserve.

What do you see now if you drive along Illinois 64 as you leave Sycamore?

A park.

It used to have 125 mobile homes.

But the area is prone to flooding. Last fall, more than 300 residents from Sycamore’s Evergreen Village mobile home park were relocated.

woodstockgroundhog.org

Yep...it's that time again. The city’s annual Groundhog Days.

The northern Illinois community square served as the focal point of the 90s movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. In the movie, Murray's character re-lives the same day over and over again.

Ever since then, residents and tourists congregate in the town square every year to re-live places made famous by the movie.

Organizer Rick Bellairs says most of the activities are free, including a Groundhog Day Dinner and Dance.

DeKalb County residents got the chance to learn more about the recent deal between two northern Illinois health systems.

Late last year, KishHealth System joined Northwestern Medicine. It wasn’t a cash deal. For Northwestern, it could mean more patient referrals. For Kish, greater access to services among six hospitals and 90 facilities. State health regulators approved the deal last fall.

KishHealth discontinued in-patient mental health services several years ago. That will not change under the new system. DeKalb resident Donna Bennett says that’s a problem.

Jenna Dooley

The DeKalb Public Library re-opened to the public Monday morning beginning with a grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting. 

View Slideshow

The theme of the day is "Community." 

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Library Director Dee Coover says the expansion focuses on more than books.

Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois is again offering free income tax preparation and filing. It's the seventh year for the program. It starts Jan. 15th and will continue through April 18th. The sites offer free tax assistance for families with income less than $50,000 and individuals with income less than $25,000.

Jenna Dooley

237 positions are currently filled at the Thomson facility. According to a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons, 13 additional positions have been selected and are expected to report within the next few months, bringing the total staff to 250.

There are currently 104 minimum security inmates housed at the institution.

Thomson Village President Vicky Trager:

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