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.

Doctors, lawyers, and teachers are required to take continuing education courses. Rockford-area Senator Dave Syverson wants to know why the same rules don’t apply for elected officials. Syverson’s proposal would require public officials to take an eight hour course on economics every two years.


Clean-up of an oil train derailment continues in Illinois' far northwestern corner.  A BNSF train passing through Galena derailed March 5.

Brad Benning, an on-scene coordinator for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, says that crews are still in the process of removing damaged tank cars from the accident scene.

Vacuum trucks are sucking up crude oil from inside the tanks. The tanks are being moved to a nearby staging area to either clean or scrap. 

City of Dixon

Dixon’s mayor says he received good news earlier this week regarding an idle cement plant.

St. Mary’s Cement halted operations in 2008, leaving dozens of people without work. That year, the U.S. EPA and the Department of Justice also announced a settlement with the company to resolve Clean Air Act violations at the facility.

Training a new generation of effective leaders often involves mentoring through a shared passion. It involves someone with a strong skill set who is willing to help someone else feel the spark. We continue our occasional series "Pass the Torch" in the middle of a guitar circle.

Deep within Northern Illinois University's music building sits a group of musicians. Some have studied jazz, others classical, but it doesn't matter, because their maestro is the epitome of fusion.

Calls for appointments are pouring in at DeKalb’s Elder Care Services. Mary Rongey came in for the second year in a row. She says she knew she needed the extra help because her husband used to keep track of the couple’s finances.

“This is where he came before he passed away, and then I just came back here. It’s all kind of new to me.”

Rongey says she’s been satisfied with the help she gets.

“I think you need someone who knows what they are doing, somebody that can answer your questions if you have any questions. They know what they are talking about.”

The Rockford Police Department is ready to expand its force. 


Applications are due Wednesday, March 4.


Patrol Officer John Gradick says the department would like to choose from a diverse pool of candidates.


“Languages are always a plus, and any type of background experience that you can provide that you think might be good law enforcement ... we are always willing to look at and encourage.”


Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the pension overhaul case next month. According to a news release, arguments will be held March 11th in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Springfield.

Illinois lawmakers approved cuts to state employee pensions in 2013.  The action followed years of stalemate over how to address underfunding. State workers called the plan unconstitutional.

Jenna Dooley

The Evergreen Village flood mitigation project is now in the demolition phase. According to DeKalb County Planning Director Paul Miller, there are several parts to this, including the removal of asbestos on more than a dozen homes.

Miller says demolition of mobile homes has been underway since October. Approximately 40 units have been removed.  The county is working toward having the site cleared and cleaned by the end of May 2015.

submitted by Rick Bellairs

This is the first year Groundhog Day will go on without Harold Ramis.

More than two decades ago, the famed movie director chose Woodstock, Illinois to shoot his 1993 comedy "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Ramis died Feb 24. 2014, at the age of 69.

Rick Bellairs is with the Woodstock Groundhog Days Committee. He was also an extra in the movie. Bellairs says, because of Ramis, the Woodstock town square is recognizable around the world.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Members of the Kishwaukee College Education Association (KCEA) voted Wednesday to ratify their tentative agreement with Kishwaukee College. The college's Board of Trustees followed suit less than two hours later, unanimously approving the contract.

Bargaining teams from both sides agreed to this tentative agreement during an all-day bargaining session called on Jan. 19th.