Jenna Dooley

Reporter, News Production Supervisor

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.  She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

More Rockford organizations are expressing their positions on a proposal to give city leaders more local control over finances.  

Quick recap: Home rule is available to Illinois communities interested in deciding, among other things, whether to levy local taxes and fees beyond those imposed by state government. Rockford voters got rid of home rule in 1983. This spring, voters will consider whether to bring it back.

Illinois lawmakers who represent Rockford have different opinions on whether it is in the best interest of residents for the city to return to home rule status. Voters will weigh in on the issue on the spring primary ballot. 

Home rule expands local control over taxing and borrowing beyond the laws passed in Springfield.

Rockford is one of just a few of the state’s larger municipalities that does not have that authority.  Voters stripped the city of home rule authority in 1983.

Austin Hansen, Ross Beach

DeKalb County officials tallied up the economic impact of the state football championships, and they are happy with the results.

DeKalb hosted the games over Thanksgiving weekend at Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium. The championship match-ups featured 16 teams from around the state, including Batavia, Pleasant Plains, and Rochester.

Estimates show there were nearly 500 booked hotel rooms in DeKalb and Sycamore, an increase from the last time the city hosted the event two years ago. There were another 140 hotel rooms booked in Rochelle.

Susan Stephens

The ground may be frozen in parts of Illinois, but it’s not too early to start thinking about this year's garden.

National Seed Swap Day is held the last Saturday of January.

These gatherings are a way for new and veteran green thumbs to expand their collections by sharing a variety of open-pollinated seeds. Pam Stock, with the Boone County Conservation District, is also an avid seed saver.

Rockford voters will get a chance this spring to decide whether or not to return the city to “home rule” status. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ's Jenna Dooley explores the potential implications on the city and its residents.

What is "home rule" anyway, and why does it matter in 2018?

Bobbie Holzwarth is a co-chair for the effort to bring back home rule to Rockford. She gives this example:

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