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.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Illinois cell phone ban for drivers is nearly a year old, and it is proving quite profitable for the state's coffers.

From January 2014 through November 2014, the Illinois Secretary of State's office says there were more than 30,000 first offenses. At $75 a pop, that means drivers forked over more than $2.3 million so far this year.

Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) insists the law wasn't put it place for the money.

Defense attorneys say there was not enough evidence to send Jack McCullough to prison. McCullough was sentenced in 2012 to life behind bars for the 1957 kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph of Sycamore. It was believed to be the nation's oldest cold case.  

An Illinois appeals court panel heard oral arguments Wednesday.

State Appellate Defender Paul Glaser says many of the questions involved evidence surrounding the case. He admits it is an extremely rare situation.

Exelon

A spokesman for Exelon's Byron station confirms there are economic pressures on the Byron, Clinton and Quad Cities facilities. The spokesman tells WNIJ that Exelon sent lawmakers information in the hopes they gain a better understanding of the value of these nuclear facilities to the state economy and the impact of closing at-risk facilities early.

NIU Media Services

Northern Illinois University's football team is heading to Detroit. The Huskies beat Western Michigan Friday 31-21. With the win, the team claims the MAC West title. NIU takes on Bowling Green next week at Ford Field for the MAC championship.

NIU quarterback Drew Hare rushed for two fourth quarter touchdowns.

"shopping-cart-feral" by flick user r. nial bradshaw (CC BY 2.0)

The holiday shopping craze is now underway in cities across Illinois.

CherryVale Mall near Rockford is no exception.

Cherry Valley Police Chief Mike Neville says officers are keeping an eye out for shoplifters and parking lot skirmishes.

"Through our experience we have found, over the years, people will park in the fire lanes. What they are actually doing is they are sitting there waiting for their friends to come out of the mall with an armload of products they have taken from the store," Neville said.

Clean-up continues at a horse stable in Woodstock.

The fire killed 32 horses Saturday night at Valley View Acres. Five horses made it out to the pasture to safety.

Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Chief Paul DeRaedt says the fire is not considered "suspicious."

"After further investigation, we feel comfortable through our interviews, as well as information gathered from the scene, that the fire started in the area where the hay was stored at on the second floor of the barn."

NIU Today

A group of Northern Illinois University researchers are bound for Antarctica to study the effect of climate change on rising seawaters.

The trip was halted earlier this year due to the partial government shutdown.

It's a green light now.

Rockford Public Library

The new executive director of the Rockford Public Library is just a week into the job, but she's already got a major project ahead of her.

Lynn Stainbrook previously led the Brown County Library in Green Bay, Wisconsin. There will be plenty of decisions to make in Rockford.  The main library sits on the site of a former gas plant. Coal tar was stored underground. Over time, it seeped into the soil. ComEd is in charge of contamination removal.

But you can't just move a library without some planning.

WNIJ

A Chicago labor group held a news conference Monday afternoon to speak out about unsafe working conditions at Rochelle's Nippon Sharyo plant.  The Chicago Federation of Labor and the group Jobs to Move America point to two recent complaints filed with OSHA.

The 17th Congressional District will stay in Democratic hands.

The district covers urban and rural areas of the Quad-Cities, Peoria, and portions of Rockford.

Bustos told supporters she and Schilling had a different vision and values, but credited him with running a campaign with passion and spirit.

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