Susan Stephens

WNIJ News Reporter/Producer

Susan’s parents should have known she’d end up in radio: her favorite toys were tape recorders, cameras, notepads, and books. Many years later, she’s an award-winning reporter at her favorite radio station. Formerly WNIJ’s News Director, she asked to return to the role of full-time reporter/anchor/utility player in 2010 (less paperwork, more reporting!). Her #1 goal is to tell the most compelling stories in the fewest words possible…all the better if a little humor can be thrown into the mix.  It should come as no surprise, then, that she can whip up a haiku for any occasion. She also enjoys the Detroit Tigers, learning pioneer skills (Gardening, canning, and the like. Just in case.), traveling with friends, and pretending she’s going to get around to playing her theremin.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Anywhere you go in America, you are never far from railroad tracks. Someone has to maintain all of those tracks. And someone has to build the machines to do it. That’s why the owners of a Rockford company want Congress to know railway maintenance is a five-billion dollar industry that deserves support.  

  Communities across the nation are honoring their men and women who died while serving in the military. Some northern Illinois towns will read their names during solemn ceremonies: some hold parades to remind others of their sacrifice. Gary Seymour says it’s also an important day for veterans to understand they are not alone. He’ll march in Rockford’s Memorial Day parade as commander of the Navy Club of Rockford and as a veteran of the Vietnam War. He says he expects to see veterans of all ages along the parade route.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

63 years ago, the Korean War came between a Northern Illinois University graduate and his cap and gown. Now, he’s back on campus to make the long-delayed march with his fellow grads. 

In May of 1953, Gus Trantham’s parents took a train from Chicago to DeKalb to accept his diploma in a ceremony he couldn’t attend.  Trantham was in the Navy by then, behind enemy lines in Korea.

Kishwaukee College

A familiar man “behind the scenes” in DeKalb County has a new position at Kishwaukee College.

Bill Nicklas has been chosen to help Kishwaukee President Laurie Borowicz develop strategic partnerships with businesses and communities. He'll also evaluate the school's strengths and opportunities for expansion. The position is temporary: he'll report his findings in six months.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The man behind an $8-billion plan to route train traffic around Chicago met with the public in a forum in Grundy County Monday night. Great Lakes Basin Railroad co-founder Frank Patton was in the hot seat. A very hot seat.

photo provided by Hickey to LWV-Rockford

A force in Rockford politics and education has died. Former State Senator Vivian Hickey was 100 years old. 

The die-hard Democrat was appointed to fill the term of Rockford’s first female State Senator when Betty Ann Keegan died. Hickey was elected to what became known as The Woman’s Seat: a string of women from Rockford were elected to the 34th District State Senate seat. 

Northern Illinois University has named the next leader of its College of Business. 

  Balaji Rajagopalan starts his job as Dean July 1st. Currently, he heads the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend. 

NIU provost Lisa Freeman praised him for his collaborative style. 

Proudly DeKalb / Facebook page

A team from DeKalb is in North Carolina for the next phase of a competition that is spurring towns to create ambitious development plans.

Vicki Snyder Chura / Rochelle High School

A tradition continues at Rochelle High School this morning: it’s “Ag Day,” a showcase for the area’s farming heritage.

Non-farmers will get the chance to climb on tractors, check out the school’s greenhouse, and learn which animals you can pet -- and which ones you shouldn’t.

eszterbalint.com

Esther Balint is an actress known for her first film, Stranger Than Paradise, a 1984 independent movie she starred in as a teenager. More recently, she gained new fans for her role on Louis C.K.'s show, Louie. But the New York based artist has another career that is more important to her than the acting: she's a musician, and is touring the midwest now in support of her latest album, "Airless Midnight." Tonight, Balint performs at Mary's Place in Rockford. She spoke with WNIJ's Susan Stephens about her music.

 

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