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.

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Spencer Tracy Film Festival
6:30 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Guess Whose Movies Are Back In Freeport

1918 family photo shows (l to r) Carroll Tracy, Carrie Tracy & Spencer Tracy. Carroll was Spencer's younger brother; Carrie was his mother.
Stephenson County Historical Society

The 1933 film "Man's Castle" stars Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young. It's a lesser-known Tracy flick about a homeless woman who falls for his gruff character.

The movie will be shown during this weekend's third annual Spencer Tracy Film Festival at Freeport's Lindo Theatre.  

Why Freeport? Festival organizer Ed Finch says there's a link.

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Illinois
3:40 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Comptroller Launches Mobile App For Vendors Waiting On State Payments

Credit Office of the State of Illinois Comptroller

Vendors who are waiting on money from the state of Illinois have a new way to check on their payments.

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka took to social media to unveil her office’s new mobile app.

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Rita Crundwell
11:21 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Marshals Service Receives Repayment In Crundwell Loan

The loan repayment between Dixon's fire chief and Rita Crundwell has been satisfied, with interest compounded, to the satisfaction of the U.S. government. According to Lynzey Donahue, a spokesperson with the U.S. Marshals Service, the money from Timothy and Diane Shipman will be applied "in partial satisfaction to the restitution order issued by the U.S. District Court in United States v. Crundwell." 

The repayment, along with other money recently recovered, will be transferred to the city of Dixon.

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Technology
5:43 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Gamer Heaven Tucked Inside NIU Library

Middle school students from around northern Illinois are learning how to express themselves through video games. You can find them tucked away in Northern Illinois University's Founders Memorial Library.

This week, these kids are learning about creating virtual worlds. It's one of several programming camps held at NIU's Digital Convergence Lab each summer. They vary from basic to advanced.

One camper described the character in the world he created as "a giant squid with a Death Star monocle."

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NIU
12:00 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Noisy NIU Campus Ahead Of Fall Semester

The Stevens Building renovation

Summer construction is in full swing on the campus of Northern Illinois University. Workers lay bricks around residential buildings, and construction fences bar pedestrians from many walkways. More noticeable are several big ticket projects that are intended to make the campus more student-friendly. 

There's always some sprucing up before the new school year, so what is different this year? Money.

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DeKalb
1:00 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Full Speed Ahead For DeKalb Library Expansion

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Saturday's groundbreaking for a $24 million dollar library expansion can't come soon enough for Dee Coover. The library director walked into her office this week to sweltering temperatures. She called to get the problem fixed and heard a familiar refrain from workers.

"It's been remodeled several times so everything is in the way of what I am trying to work on. It's just that everything is old...antiquated," said service technician Chad Phund.

He's been called to the to 80-year-old building several times to "put band-aids on band-aids."

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DeKalb
10:47 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Rey Calls For "Changing Direction" In State Of The City Address

NIU President Doug Baker (left) DeKalb Mayor John Rey (center) City Manager Anne Marie Gaura (right)
Credit N'Jema McIntyre

DeKalb Mayor John Rey delivered his second "State of the City" address Tuesday. His focus was the future of the city and the role of Northern Illinois University. He says he continues to work with NIU President Doug Baker's leadership team to find ways to make DeKalb more attractive to prospective students and residents.

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Environment
9:42 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Sun + Heat = Alert For Sensitive Lungs

Credit airnow.gov

It's been an ideal summer so far for people who enjoy the outdoors, but warmer temperatures expected this week could lead to health concerns for some.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on Monday issued an Air Pollution Action Day for Kane, McHenry, Lake, Will, Cook, Grundy, Kendall, and DuPage counties.

Kim Biggs, spokesperson for the Illinois EPA, says this is the second Action Day issued this year related to ozone. She says today's weather conditions are part of the perfect recipe for health concerns among those with respiratory or pulmonary diseases:

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Illinois
6:07 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Sycamore Police Chief Plans To Retire

Donald Thomas
Credit city of Sycamore

Sycamore's police chief announced his intention to retire next year. The city council will consider Donald Thomas' request to retire in January after 13 years. 

If approved, a search for his replacement is expected this summer. 

From tonight's agenda:

"B. Ordinance No. 2014.10—An Ordinance Approving an Employment Agreement

Between the City of Sycamore and Donald Thomas. First and Second Reading.

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Prophetstown
11:40 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Prophetstown Historical Society Still Rebuilding One Year After Fire

Volunteers organize photos soon after fire destroyed portions of the downtown (taken August 2013)
Credit Chelsey Fulbright / WNIJ

Two young brothers have pleaded guilty to starting the fire which destroyed a large portion of downtown Prophetstown last summer. Rebuilding is still underway for several displaced occupants, including the Prophetstown Historical Society.

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