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.

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.

 

Rick Kurtz

Three Rockford-area residents are among the hundreds who have been arrested for civil disobedience this week in Washington, DC. They’re part of “Democracy Spring,” a coalition of groups demanding voter rights protections and an end to “big-money politics.”

Carol Schneider

It was a year ago Saturday a massive tornado bulldozed a 30-mile path through northern Illinois. It’s often referred to as the Fairdale Tornado because of the tiny DeKalb County town it nearly destroyed. But farms and neighborhoods are still being rebuilt all along the EF-4 tornado’s path. The Rochelle-area is making huge strides, thanks to the efforts of committed volunteers.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford’s mayor wants to expand the system his city used to end homelessness among veterans. Larry Morrissey delivered his 11th annual State of the City address Wednesday night. He says it means identifying the city’s toughest challenges, focusing the right people on solutions, and tracking results. Morrissey calls it "collective impact" and would like to tackle the problem of child abuse using the same technique.

eEgin police department

Rockford's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners announced their pick Thursday for the city's next police chief: Dan O'Shea of the Elgin Police Department.

O'Shea is Elgin's Police Operations Bureau Commander. He beat out Rockford Assistant Deputy Chief Doug Pann for the position. A third finalist dropped out earlier this week after he was offered a contract extension at his current position in Racine, Wisconsin.

Rockford Police Department

One of three men in the running to become Rockford’s next police chief has dropped out.

Racine, Wisconsin Chief Art Howell was given a contract extension to keep him in his current position.

The two remaining candidates are Rockford Assistant deputy chief Doug Pann and Dan O’Shea of the Elgin Police Department. They met with the public Tuesday at a forum in Rockford.

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