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.

Janie Wilson Cook

Former Rockford State Senator Joyce Holmberg died this week at the age of 86.

Holmberg was first elected to the State Senate in 1982 but had been very involved in the Democratic Party for decades. She was urged to run for what was dubbed “The Woman’s Seat” by Vivian Hickey, who had also served as Senator in the 34th District.  

Rockford University

Rockford police detectives say they didn’t find evidence of foul play in the deaths of two Rockford University students last weekend.

   

The two died in the garage of their off-campus apartment. Preliminary autopsy results show they died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Police say they believe the deaths were accidental.

 

Facebook.com

A Democratic State Senator from Evanston is running for governor. Daniel Biss announced live on Facebook today that he is a candidate, then took questions from viewers.

Biss has served in the Illinois legislature since 2011, first in the House and now in the Senate.

He has been an outspoken critic of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, leading a PAC called “Leading Illinois For Tomorrow.” It paid for millions of dollars in advertising trying to link Rauner with then-candidate Donald Trump in the minds of voters.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded fell for ten straight days nationally, but is up a few cents in Illinois. 

The average price in the state is $2.35 a gallon, up a little more than a penny from a week ago. 

Springfield has the cheapest gas in the state, at $2.19. Rockford's average is $2.24, down a penny from last week. A year ago this week, prices in Rockford were below the $2.00 mark, at $1.97. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Update, 3/16/17 12:30 pm: This morning, the district released Wednesday's student attendance totals for all grade levels.  The official average attendance across the district was 77%. That's down from 92% the previous Wednesday. 

School attendance was down in Rockford on the first day of a three-day strike by school support workers.

Elementary school attendance in Rockford Public Schools was at 81%. That's down 12% from last Wednesday. Some parents had a hard time getting their children to class without school bus service.

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