Jenna Dooley

WNIJ Morning Edition Producer/Reporter

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 Recording Secretary for the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.


Library Expansion
6:00 am
Sat March 1, 2014

DeKalb Library Work Scheduled To Begin In May

Plans for DeKalb Library expansion

Work on the expansion project is expected to begin as early as May 19. Architects provided an update to library officials this week. Library Director Dee Coover estimates the construction will last 18 months. The library is expected to remain open during the work, but she says patrons will begin noticing covered walkways around the entrance to the children's department.

She says workers will start moving materials in May, with "true" construction in mid-July.

"We are going to embrace this. We are going to have trucks maybe as our summer reading theme," Coover said.

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10:00 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Rockford Bookstore Receives Grant From Best-Selling Author

Credit Wonderland Books and Toys

Best-selling author James Patterson recently pledged to give away $1 million of his own money to independent booksellers around the country. 

"We're in a juncture right now where bookstores as we have known them are at risk," Patterson last week told NPR's Renee Montagne. "Libraries as we've known them are at risk, publishers are at risk, American literature is at risk, as we've known it, and getting kids reading is at risk."

Each individual bookstore received up to $15,000 and there are no limits on how they use that money.

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6:00 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Efforts To Fix Monument In Freeport Get A Boost

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Civil War monument sits outside of the Stephenson County Courthouse. It was built the late 1860s. County officials have said there is no public money available to fix it up, so local residents started raising money. A new base was installed last fall. Ron Werntz is one of the main fundraisers behind the project. He says organizers were stuck at the halfway mark to continue restoration efforts. But recently received an anonymous donation of $40,000 from a local veteran.

"God bless him. Now, once the weather breaks, we have the money to complete the monument," said Werntz.

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Rock Falls
4:54 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Corrections Department Hosts Expo For Ex-offenders

Credit IDOC

The Illinois Department of Corrections will hold an expo today in Rock Falls for ex-offenders and parolees.

Department spokesman Tom Shaer says "The Summit of Hope" is designed to reduce the rate of recidivism by helping people update their driver's licenses, find counseling services, and take part in health screenings.

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5:46 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Sewage Problem Leaves Rock Falls Without Water

Credit city of Rock Falls

UPDATE:  The 12th avenue Pump Station is fully functional and the water service will be restored at 8:30 a.m. today.  A boil order will remain in effect until Sunday morning.

The City of Rock Falls suffered a failure of the sanitary sewer Thursday afternoon and had to shut off the water supply to the entire city.

City officials request residents do not flush their toilet or put any liquids down the sewer system until water service is restored.

Portable Restrooms are at the following locations:

Rock Falls High School

Rock Falls Middle School

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5:48 am
Thu February 13, 2014

DeKalb Back To "Comfortable" Supply Of Road Salt

In late January, DeKalb city officials announced they would have to conserve road salt as they waited for another shipment from the state. That meant only applying salt on major roads and not residential streets. At that time, the city had a supply of 250 tons of salt with an additional 800 tons on order. DeKalb Public Works Director T.J. Moore says the supply has since been replenished.

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4:14 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Consultant To Present Findings From Cortland School Incident

Credit Google Maps

Dozens of students and staff at Cortland Elementary School received medical treatment Jan. 14 after complaining of nausea.

The smell from Waste Management's nearby landfill entered the school's ventilation system after  a construction worker unearthed old garbage. The company says strong winds carried the odor to the school.

DeKalb school district Assistant Superintendent Doug Moeller says a certified industrial hygienist will present the findings of his investigation Thursday night (2/6/14).

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6:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Local Municipalities Cash In On Video Gaming

Video gaming terminals at Mike and Denise's Pizzeria in Aurora, IL
Jenna Dooley WNIJ

Video gaming has been underway for more than a year in Illinois. Many communities are benefiting from the law, while others are still figuring out how to manage a growing demand for new machines.

If proceeds from video gaming were a coconut cream pie, Illinois municipalities would only get a taste. But if you added up those nibbles every month, it may be enough to notice an increasing waistline.

In December alone, Illinois municipalities that offer video gaming shared $1.8 million.

Video Gaming Grows Steadily

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5:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Prophetstown Fire: Six Months Later

A downtown Prophetstown building after the fire (taken July 2013)
Credit Credit Chelsey Fulbright / WNIJ

Six months ago this week, residents in Prophetstown woke up to find part of their downtown destroyed by fire.  In July, broken glass and rubble replaced familiar businesses. Eight buildings in all were destroyed. Authorities say the fire was set in a recycling bin behind a restaurant. Two half-brothers are charged with arson. The will have another hearing next week in Whiteside County.

Mayor Steve Swanson says things are moving along smoothly.

"I think by the first of May we will see some nails being pounded here," Swanson said.

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State Football Finals
10:57 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Estimated IHSA Impact For DeKalb: $800K

Credit Destination DeKalb

The estimates are in for last year's Illinois High School Association state football championships held Nov. 29-30 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

Daily Chronicle - IHSA Destination DeKalb Economic Impact Recap

Debbie Armstrong, Executive Director for the DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau, provided WNIJ the recap of revenue generated from the event. It includes:

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