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.


6:26 am
Fri November 22, 2013

DeKalb Area Prepares For Football Championship Games

This is the first year Northern Illinois University will host the Illinois High School Association football finals. DeKalb will alternate hosting duties with Champaign-Urbana through the year 2021.

UPDATE: Sycamore did not advance to the finals, with a loss to Montini over the weekend. Lena and Batavia did advance to the championship games.

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Belvidere Crystal Plant
2:12 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Board Finds Safety "Fell Through The Cracks" In '09 Explosion

Members of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board hold their final public hearing in Rockford about the fatal NDK Crystal explosion in 2009
Jenna Dooley WNIJ

On Dec. 7, 2009, a vessel used to make synthetic quartz violently ruptured at the NDK Crystal plant in Belvidere. Steel debris blew 650 feet, fatally striking a truck driver who was walking to his vehicle at the oasis on I-90.

After years of investigating the accident, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued its final report this week. It also offered recommendations for the company should it choose resume operations. They include changes to how the product is processed, such as using lower temperatures to make the crystals.

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6:42 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Rockford's Mayor Fears Sequestration Will Hurt Aerospace Industry

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
Credit U.S. Senator Dick Durbin / YouTube

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey told a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee this week the sequester is having a negative effect on the economy in northern Illinois.  Earlier this year, aerial demonstrations were halted nationwide. That caused the cancellation of the city's popular AirFest. Automatic budget cuts next year could have an impact on defense-related purchases. Morrissey fears what that could mean for the region's aerospace industry:

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6:33 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

Slideshow: Vietnam Moving Wall

"The Moving Wall" is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. It is now on display on the athletic fields at West Aurora High School.

Schedule of Events

5:47 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Municipal League Continues Push For Pension Overhaul

Credit IML

Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg has a new title with the Illinois Municipal League. As President, he says the organization is looking to lawmakers to make changes to the state's pension systems. Lindberg says the group has not put its support behind any one plan, but still wants lawmakers to act. That includes the work being done by a bipartisan pension panel:

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Arts in Rockford
6:37 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Rockford Dance Groups Rely On Innovation And Collaboration

Performers from "Bold Moves"
Credit Rockford Dance Company

We continue our series on the arts in Rockford on a slightly different beat-- dance. 

A group of women gather Tuesday mornings in a Rockford Dance Company studio for a class on the basics of tap dancing. Instructor Theresa Sinks says the class is open to all ages and abilities and is part of a focus on improving wellness in Rockford.

“It’s not just the five-year-old in tutus. It can be people well into their adult lives.” - Theresa Sinks, instructor, Rockford Dance Company

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1:13 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Rockford Conference Aimed At Women Veterans


Women veterans make up the fasting growing demographic of veterans in Illinois. There are currently 67,000 women veterans in Illinois, accounting for 8.8 percent of the state's veteran population. That is expected to grow to 15 percent by 2035. This weekend, they are invited to attend the Northern Illinois Conference for Women Veterans.

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4:12 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Freeport Mayor Reacts To Unsolved Murders

Credit city of Freeport

Freeport police are investigating three unsolved murders from this year. Mayor Jim Gitz calls the unsolved crimes "anomalies." But he says there are ways the police force is trying to build trust within neighborhoods to prevent future crimes.

"It is a very big deal when Freeport has a homicide," Gitz said. "People know what happened...but they are reluctant to come forward."

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4:03 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Boone Co. Health Director Defends Raises

The Boone County health board recently approved thousands of dollars in raises for department staff. The financial manager received a 55 percent pay increase.

Individual administrators determined who received specific pay bumps.

Boone County health administrator Cynthia Frank came to the department in 2011. She says a market study of comparable salaries was long overdue.

"It was tough, but I am glad that we could reward them by saying 'You know what? We figured out that you're being underpaid and we can rectify that situation," Frank said.

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Federal Shutdown
6:13 am
Thu October 10, 2013

NIU Prof: Shutdown Impacts Antarctic Research

NIU geologist Ross Powell is in a holding pattern. Powell and NIU geology professor Reed Scherer were scheduled to leave for Antarctica in December. Powell is leading the second field season of a study of the continent's ice shelf. Those plans are on hold as the federal government shutdown continues. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation. 

The number of project members had already been scaled back earlier this year due to the federal sequester.

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