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.

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Community Close-Up 2013
6:56 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Prophetstown Residents Sift Through Past, Look To Future

Chelsey Fulbright/pixlr

The fire destroyed the city's historical society. The second floor held vintage clothing, which could not be salvaged. Firefighters were able to rescue some items: papers, pictures and paintings. They arrived in various levels of disrepair at a nearby factory for "historical triage."  Two boys are charged with starting the July 15 blaze.

Charlene Hanson now spends her days organizing black-and-white photos from Prophetstown's past at the nearby Penberthy factory. Box fans are set on full blast to dry out the hundreds of pictures in neat piles around her.

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Pensions
6:26 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Pritchard: Salary Lawsuit Is Needed

Rep. Bob Pritchard
Credit ilga.gov

Illinois lawmakers and Governor Pat Quinn remain at a standstill over a pension overhaul plan. Legislative leaders sued the Governor last week after he blocked lawmaker paychecks because of inaction on the state's growing pension obligations.

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Transportation
6:15 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Rockford vs. Peotone? Not Likely Says Airport Director

Credit flickr/ dougward / Creative Commons

Governor Quinn recently signed a measure to re-ignite plans for another Chicago-area airport. The announcement doesn't seem to pose a major threat to Rockford's airport.

The Peotone Airport has been in the works for decades, so it's no surprise many are still skeptical the project will get off the ground. The legislation allows the state's transportation department to spend around $70 million to buy more land for Peotone. The plan is still under review by the FAA.

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DeKalb State of the City
10:49 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Mayor John Rey: Vibrancy Ahead For DeKalb

DeKalb Mayor John Rey
Jenna Dooley WNIJ

DeKalb Mayor John Rey and NIU President Doug Baker spoke to business leaders Thursday morning about some of the ways the two groups will work together in the future. Baker half-joked that he would like to see more community members fill Huskie Stadium during football games and buy tickets to other university events.

But much of the discussion on a city/university partnership centers on DeKalb's downtown.

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Prophetstown Fire
7:20 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Prophetstown Leaders Plan For Next Step

Downtown Prophetstown (taken July 30, 2013)
Credit Chelsey Fulbright / WNIJ

Clean-up continues in Prophetstown after a fire destroyed portions of the downtown earlier this month. 

Broken bricks and charred wood cover the ground in the city's downtown weeks after the devastating blaze. Eight buildings were destroyed, but no one was injured.

This week, city leaders and residents heard from representatives of NIU's Center for Governmental Studies. The Center's Norman Walzer spoke to the group about some of the resources available.

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Outdoor Art Series
6:22 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Outdoor Art Series: Southern Wisconsin Barn Quilts

Nancy Nienhuis stands in front of her barn quilt "Farmer's Daughter" with her grandchildren
Jenna Dooley WNIJ

Nancy Nienhuis was born in a farmhouse in rural Janesville, Wis. She's worked the land her whole life and plans to keep it in the family. She's proud of her family's agricultural legacy and wants others to take notice.

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Around the Nation
1:32 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Europeans Traverse U.S. On Famous Lincoln Highway

Erik and Mary-Ann Gjermundsen of Norway are making the nearly 3,400-mile trip across the U.S. in their small Messerschmitt.
Jenna Dooley NPR

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 9:54 am

This year marks the centennial of America's first transcontinental road: the Lincoln Highway. You might have driven on the highway and not even known it, since it stretches from New York to California, passing through states like Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado, and carrying different state route numbers along the way.

Erik Gjermundsen of Fredrikstad Norway is checking off another item from his bucket list.

"I've been in the U.S. many times and I have always wanted to drive coast-to-coast," Gjermundsen says. "You have to do something in the summer and this was different."

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DeKalb
10:33 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Read Up On DeKalb Library Expansion Plan

DeKalb Public Library

Things are moving along for a major expansion project for the DeKalb Library. Henry Haupt, a spokesman for the Illinois Secretary of State's office, says the authorization process is in the final stages.

Nearly half of the cost for the $24 million project comes from a grant from the state of Illinois. The rest comes from borrowing and private donations. Haupt says the library was overdue for an upgrade:

"That library simply cannot sustain or serve the population. The building is an old building," Haupt said.

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Two Major Events Lost
6:36 am
Tue July 2, 2013

What Happened To Rockford's Summer?

Credit AirFest, On The Waterfront

The July 4th weekend is a reminder summer is in full swing. In Rockford, the season will have to go on without two major attractions.

For nearly 30 years, a wide-range of musicians made Rockford’s waterfront their Labor Day home.

But in December,  it was announced the popular On The Waterfront festival was no more.  Festival passes had dwindled in recent years, and costs were mounting.

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-Illinois
11:32 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Rock Run Finally Gets Highway Commissioner

Credit Stephenson County

A northern Illinois township finally has a Highway Commissioner, but there is still work ahead.

Rock Run Township is northeast of Freeport, in Stephenson County. In April, voters elected Joe Boyer for Highway Commissioner. He handily beat the incumbent even though he unexpectedly died a month before the election.

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