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.

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National Train Day
4:26 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

Free Range Radio: All Aboard!

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It's time to ride the rails with Free Range Radio as we celebrate National Train Day.  

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DeKalb County Community Gardens Project
6:00 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Connecting Communities With Plants: NIU's 'Communiversity' Gardens

DCCG's Heath Johnson and DeKalb Mayor John Rey on the verge of a handshake as NIU President Doug Baker looks on.
Susan Stephens WNIJ

It has been a big week for DeKalb County Community Gardens: the three year old not-for-profit won a 20-thousand dollar grant from the organics company Seeds for Change. And Thursday, they broke ground on the “Communiversity Garden,” a collaboration with Northern Illinois University.

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Pension reform
2:59 am
Thu May 8, 2014

A Different Take On A State Pension Law Could Stop Flood Of Retirements

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

State university employees are rushing to retire because of last year’s state pension reform law. Now a new interpretation of that law indicates it may not drastically reduce pension amounts for some retirees  after all.

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7 to 9 Schools on Chopping block
6:08 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Rockford Hearings On School Closings Are Underway

Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford needs fewer, larger elementary schools. More modern classrooms. One early education center for each quadrant of the city. It’s all part of a $250 million plan to improve  every elementary school, except for the 7 to 9 targeted for closing. 

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Public Input Wanted On Long-Term Plans
5:17 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Rockford School District Considers Closing At Least Seven Elementaries

White Swan Elementary School, one of at least seven schools that could close under plans by the Rockford School District.
Credit Rockford Public Schools / RPS205.com

The Rockford School District is looking at closing seven to nine elementary schools. The district currently has 35. 

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Hydraulic Fluid Leak
10:05 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Contamination Clean-up Underway at WNIJ/WNIU

Barrels lined up behind Northern Public Radio's studios to collect contaminated water.
Susan Stephens WNIJ

Cleanup crews are working to collect contamination caused by a broken elevator at Northern Public Radio’s studios in DeKalb. Anyone familiar with WNIJ and WNIU’s studios on First Street may have noticed an increasing number of containment barrels, tanks, and other equipment in the parking lot.

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Unknown cause of death
6:47 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Body Pulled from Kishwaukee River IDed As Rockford Woman

Kishwaukee Gorge is a forest preserve south of Rockford and visible from the I-39 bridge that spans the Kishwaukee River.
Credit Google Maps

The identity of a woman whose body was pulled from the Kishwaukee River in Rockford yesterday has been released. 

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$35-million for Dam Rebuild
5:39 am
Fri April 18, 2014

One Year After The Floods: Marseilles Still Recovering

No need for sandbags at the moment. But last year at this time, much of central Illinois couldn't get enough of these things.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It was a year ago today torrential rains triggered a disaster along the Illinois River in LaSalle County. Seven barges crashed into a dam in Marseilles, causing millions of dollars in damage.  

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Senate Bill 16
6:23 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Who Benefits When The School Funding Formula Is Re-Crunched?

Freshman State Senators Andy Manar and Steve Stadelman meet with superintendents from public schools in Winnebago and Boone counties at The Regional Superintendent's office in Loves Park.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

School superintendents in Illinois are getting a chance to weigh in on what could be a huge change in the state’s public school funding formula. 

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New Route and funding announced
4:51 am
Fri April 11, 2014

All Aboard? Rockford To Chicago Train On Track For Next Year

Governor Pat Quinn and Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey congratulate each other over progress toward passenger rail service for Rockford. 4/10/14
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford residents can look forward to taking a train into Chicago next year, after three decades without passenger rail service. 

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