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.

Activists in the Black Lives Matter movement recently published a 10-point plan to reduce police violence. Rockford leaders are responding to the proposal.

It’s called "Campaign Zero." National activists want stronger guidelines limiting the use of force. They also want to ban police quotas for tickets and arrests, and end the sale of military weapons to police forces.

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey:

NIU

Rockford students will be able to earn an NIU engineering degree without leaving the city.

The partnership announced Monday allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical or mechanical engineering, as well as applied manufacturing from Northern Illinois University at the Rock Valley College campus.

Promod Vohra, Dean, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, says the arrangement opens up new opportunities for Rockford’s young people:

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Thousands of Northern Illinois University students return to DeKalb this week.

A fleet of golf carts and 1,300 volunteers will greet nearly 3,000 residence hall students on Friday. Peak traffic usually takes place over the lunch hour.

For those trying to navigate the city that day, NIU Police Commander Donald Rodman has some advice:

Brian Mackey

Illinois Democrats and Governor Bruce Rauner remain at a standstill over a new state budget.

Governor Rauner has been pushing for several overhauls including term limits, restrictions on civil lawsuits, and a hold on local property taxes. On Monday, he tweaked a property tax freeze proposal to include increased state funding for struggling schools.

A pair of Rockford Register Star reporters recently investigated local graduation rates and GED completion numbers. The news is mixed.

Reporter Corina Curry recently found the Rockford School District experienced an increase of nearly 10 percentage points in graduation rates among minority students. That’s over the past three years. Last year, Hispanic students in Rockford matched the graduation rate of white students. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A fishing tournament this weekend is intended to remove thousands of pounds of Asian Carp from Illinois waterways.

The invasive fish threaten state ecosystems. Ed DeVries is president of the Bowfishing Association of Illinois. He says the fish grow quickly, and are difficult to catch.

NOAA

According to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, Illinois ranks fourth in the nation in the number of tornado reports in 2015.

Is this surprising news?

State climatologist Jim Angel says Illinois is usually in the top ten, but this ranking is a bit high compared to previous years at this time.

Northern Illinois experienced and EF-4 in April. That’s out of 64 reports.

Jenna Dooley

Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto, grew up under the dark, open skies of the rural Midwest. Streator, Ill., where he once lived, has been full of celebration during NASA's flyby this week.

Over the years, lots of astronomers and other scientists have visited Streator, a town about 90 miles southwest of Chicago. Pluto has always been a big deal here. 

Rural Streator was once a young astronomer’s dream with dark and open skies.  Clyde Tombaugh died in 1997. A decade earlier, he described how he once scavenged old farm equipment to construct his first telescopes.

July is the Month of Pluto in Streator, IL.  Nasa's New Horizons Spacecraft is expected to pass Pluto at its

closest point next week. The spacecraft contains the ashes of Streator native, Clyde Tombaugh. He discovered Pluto in 1930. Ed Brozak is with the Streator tourism board.  He spoke with WNIJ's Jenna Dooley about events this weekend to coincide with the flyby.

Streator Connection (information from Streator Tourism)

Starting this week, Illinois veterans will be able to get an updated driver’s license and ID card with the word “VETERAN” on the front of the card.

Secretary of State Jesse White says the designation will help ensure military veterans living in the state get services and benefits including healthcare, education and employment assistance as well as other discounts.

To obtain a "Veteran" designation on a Driver's License or State ID card, applicants must:

Pages