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

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:

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area already covers 42 counties across Illinois. A resolution in Washington would add Freeport and Jonesboro, which were sites of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Sarah Watson is the Executive Director of the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.

“We anticipate this will be the only time we would ever ask for an expansion of the heritage area,” Watson said.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell is still earning money from behind bars.

Crundwell is serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence for stealing $53 million dollars from the city she served for two decades.

Most of her belongings have been sold with the money already going to her victim—the city of Dixon.

U.S. Marshals are trying to get the government a direct line to breeder royalties she still earns from her former horses.  So far it’s been about $13,000 to $15,000 each year.

Public radio listeners may recognize comedian Paula Poundstone as a frequent panelist on Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!

Poundstone will be stopping in northern Illinois this weekend. She performs at the Raue Center for the Arts June 14th.

She spoke with WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley about her preferred performance format and keeping up with technology. To get things rolling, they chatted about her lunchtime ritual:

flickr user / F_A "chocolate orange cupcakes" (CC BY 2.0) /

Sycamore’s City Council recently adopted the state’s so-called “Cupcake Law.” The decision comes after several bakers faced shutdowns.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The DeKalb City Council is scheduled to discuss several funding options for the Egyptian Theatre this month.

Executive Director Alex Nerad says the 1,400-seat Egyptian Theatre is closed during the summer months due to the heat.

“Here we are 85 years after the theatre first opened, and we are still trying to get air conditioning in here."

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Dixon city leaders are working on specifics of how to allocate millions of dollars recovered from the Rita Crundwell scandal. The former city treasurer is behind bars for embezzling $53 million over more than two decades.

Sauk Valley Media: Dixon Council Shuffles More Crundwell Dollars

flickr user / Bradley Gordon / "wedding ring" / (CC BY 2.0) /

It's been one year since Illinois' same-sex marriage law went into effect.

Some counties began issuing same-sex licenses before the June 1, 2014 start date, including DeKalb and Cook counties.

More than 7,200 same-sex couples have been married in Cook County since Feb. 21, 2014, including 1,600 conversions of civil unions to marriages.

But DeKalb County officials do not designate whether the couple taking out the license is gay or not.

They're not alone.