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.

It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the birth and life of the civil rights leader

Amirius Clinton is the president of the NAACP chapter at NIU. He says the day is not just a day off work or out of school, but an opportunity to remember King's character.

The local chapter experienced a rebirth on campus last semester. Clinton says the group spent that time helping students register to vote.

Jenna Dooley

It’s Tommy Whetsel Day in Ogle County. He may not be a familiar name, but he’s sure been a familiar face in the community.

His wake-up call today was a siren.

At 6:40 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 30th, Tom Whetsel was escorted to Byron's County Market in a fire truck. The flashy pick-up meant it wasn't just any other day on the job. It was in celebration of a career spanning three generations of co-workers.

Whetsel arrived on time, as has been his custom, and even took his daily 9:00 a.m. break in the back of the store.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation / greatlakesbasin.net

A Wisconsin lawmaker has written to the federal government expressing opposition to the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The idea behind the $8 billion plan is to bypass freight congestion in the Chicago-area. The path would run from northwest Indiana, across northern Illinois, and into southern Wisconsin. Supporters say it will give an economic boost to the region, but some landowners near the proposed route aren’t sold.

Susan Stephens

AMC's Hell on Wheels is a fictionalized version of the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the Wild West in the 1860s.

The show draws much of its drama from a greedy tycoon who encourages workers to weave and wind tracks every which way to maximize profit—with little regard for the land.

Upon seeing a blueprint, self-proclaimed "villain" Thomas Durant laments, "Why have you made my road so straight?"

That is not so easy to get away with these days. 

National Weather Service

Remember last year? Northern Illinois University meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste does.

“We had temperatures in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. We had thunderstorms with hail. That was in large part to the El Nino that was going on. Now we get the reverse and now we pay for it.”

The arctic blast is being felt across the Midwest.

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