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

Imagine a presidential debate that is civil and about issues. That’s what happened Friday at Jefferson High School in Rockford, where students Andrea Stout and Haifa Ali debated.

They weren’t pretending to be the current presidential candidates: Instead, they represented the platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties.

The two candidates answered questions about immigration, voting rights, higher education, and the economy.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

What does it mean to be an American? We continue our election year series, A Nation Engaged, by looking at American Identity.

Nearly four decades ago, Sunil Puri left Mumbai, India to visit a relative in the U.S. He showed up in Rockford, Illinois, fresh out of high school and with $150 in his pocket. He’s come a long way since 1979.

“I was a rebel who believed in the promise called America,” says Puri. And not with a solid blessing from his parents. But as the youngest of six sons, he knew the opportunities in his family’s business were limited for him.

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Rockford Housing Authority leaders have a plan they hope will make the city’s public housing a better place for to live.

Officers from the Rockford Police Department patrol the city’s public schools. Now the Rockford Housing Authority wants a similar arrangement for its housing developments.

Like the school district, the housing authority would pay for the program: it would cost around $900,000 a year to hire and equip the seven member police unit.

CherryVale Mall Reopens After Shooting

Oct 1, 2016

Police are looking for seven men in connection with a shooting at CherryVale Mall Friday. The busy mall just east of Rockford was on lockdown for several hours, then evacuated. Two groups of men had an altercation in the mall around 5 p.m. Friday, according to police.

One man pulled out a gun and fired shots.

Traces of blood were found in the mall, but no reported injuries.

All seven involved in the fight fled and police are still looking for them.