Susan Stephens

Reporter, All Things Considered Host

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

There’s no denying the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve is a pretty special place. Last year, the Byron Forest Preserve District acquired the gravel hill prairie that had been used for cattle grazing for decades. For one thing, Forest Preserve Executive Director Todd Tucker says it’s the second highest point in Ogle County. It has a great view of the Rock River. It’s home to endangered and threatened plants and animals, like woolly milkweed and short-eared owls.

Oh, and the largest tree in Illinois.

"Am I Next? Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws" by Flickr user Lorie Shaull / (CC x 2.0) /

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is accusing a northern Illinois high school of discriminating against a small group of pro-gun students.

The ACLU sent a letter to Rockton’s Hononegah High School this week, just as many students nationwide are planning school walkouts.

photo provided by Rockford Police Dept

The man accused of shooting three people in a party bus in Rockford last weekend has turned himself in. Police say 22-year-old Raheem D. King of Rockford turned himself in Wednesday afternoon around  5:00. His girlfriend, Lakeacia Kizart, 21, surrendered to police an hour later.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Saturday, March 31st was a pretty magical day for Chuck Jefferson -- dozens of his friends and colleagues gathered to honor the former state representative from Rockford, a library was named after him,  and it was his birthday.

Jefferson, a Democrat, represented the 67th district from 2001 until his retirement in 2014. Before that, he was a long-time member of the Winnebago County Board.  

He's also been a strong supporter of the  Booker Washington Center, a historic African-American community center on Rockford's southwest side. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

An immigration lawyer from Rockford will take on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger in the race for the 16th Congressional district this fall.

Sara Dady beat three other candidates to win the Democratic nomination. She says her first priority, now that the primary is over, is to get Kinzinger to commit to at least four debates.

As for issues, Dady says, “I know, as a businesswoman, we need universal health care in this country. Not only did I lose my mother because she didn’t have access to health care, I know the burden that it is on small businesses.”

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