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.

rampcil.org

A group of social service advocates is out with a report looking at how northern Illinois would be affected by Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts. The RAMP Center for Independent Living is one of the agencies involved in the Responsible Budget Coalition’s analysis. 

It’s not a direct budget cut for RAMP; it’s a proposal to reduce the number of clients served by its Home Services Program by making it more difficult to qualify.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Public universities in Illinois continue to lobby lawmakers in hopes of preventing deep cuts to education. On Tuesday, State Comptroller Leslie Munger toured Northern Illinois University to get a sense of what a 31 percent reduction in state funding would mean to the school.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Scientists who depend on federal funding for their research could find themselves on more secure ground in the future. 

Senator Dick Durbin met with researchers at Northern Illinois University Tuesday to talk about two proposals that would guarantee increases in research and development funding.

cityofchicago.org

Rahm Emanuel says he will be a better mayor for Chicago in his second term, thanks to the strong campaign run by his opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Emanuel defeated Garcia in the city’s first-ever mayoral runoff.

  Emanuel thanked voters for “putting me through my paces” during a speech Tuesday night at a union hall. He had failed to win a majority in a five candidate race in February, forcing the runoff. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It’s the end of an era in DeKalb: Duck Soup Coop is closing. Last night, the natural foods market’s members voted to shut down after forty years. 

Members packed the small store to hear just how bad the co-op’s finances are and learn their options. $45,000 in the hole. They overwhelmingly chose an “orderly closure” as soon as possible over bankruptcy or trying to raise 100-thousand dollars to stay viable.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Proposed state budget cuts have organizations throughout Illinois scrambling to do something to save their funding. That includes universities. WNIJ’s Dan Klefstad spoke with Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker about actions his school is taking to let lawmakers know how NIU will be affected.

Former U.S. Representative Bob Kastenmeier has died at the age of 91. The Wisconsin Democrat was an early and staunch opponent of the Vietnam War.

Kastenmeier served 32 years in Congress. He was 91. His wife Dorothy says he died Friday at their home in Arlington, Virginia. 

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says she was proud to walk in his footsteps representing the 2nd Congressional District.

“His public service is an inspiration to me today and his optimistic spirit will live on in me and other elected officials who were touched by his life's work.”

Rock Valley College

A business incubator based in Rockford is going regional under its new owner. 

EIGERlab opened a decade ago as a place budding entrepreneurs could get help launching their products from concept to customer. Now the mission is the same, but the reach is getting bigger through Northern Illinois University, which acquired EIGERlab from the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Criminal charges have been filed against a Freeport-area woman after 143 cats and dogs were seized Monday from her home. Many of them were dead. 

Tina McKinnon, 45, is charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, plus three misdemeanor charges. Officials say they had been trying to find her home after she reached out to animal control and another local animal rescue organization for help with all of the animals, only to back away.  

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A railcar factory in Rochelle hit a major milestone Tuesday -- it completed its one-thousandth passenger rail car since opening in 2012. 

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