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.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University leaders held a town hall meeting with employees yesterday to outline budget challenges. NIU President Doug Baker and top administrators talked about efforts to bring in more students and streamlining operations. They also answered questions about whether people will lose jobs under the state’s budget uncertainties.

Illinois Railroad Association

Last year, 269 people were killed in the US at rail crossings. 40% of those happened in just five states…and Illinois is one of them.

Rockford celebrates its long history as a baseball town this weekend. Saturday afternoon is the grand reopening of Beyer Stadium, home of the famed women’s professional baseball team, the Rockford Peaches.

Police departments nation-wide are increasing their commitment to community policing in hopes of reducing crime. It’s a strategy that involves developing relationships between neighborhoods and individual officers. 

Brandon Dillard is one of nine officers in the community services unit. He says unlike other patrol officers, his job is aimed at getting long-term results.

Thousands of people drive highway 38 through northern Illinois every day. They might not realize they are part of something bigger: a century-old road stretching coast to coast. The Lincoln Highway was the first to do that.

Federal housing officials visited Rockford yesterday to remind city leaders they are obligated to provide fair housing for residents. 

The meeting was prompted by concerns from regional representatives of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last month, a developer withdrew plans to build a 65 apartment unit on Rockford’s east side, where residents of a west side public housing development could move. Some neighbors strongly opposed the plan, causing developer Gorman and Company to pull the proposal: Gorman is expected to rework and resubmit the plan to the city soon.

Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation /

Supporters of a proposed bingo hall in southern DeKalb County will have to wait a little longer for the backing of county officials. 

"Mayfly - atalophlebia" by Taken byfir0002 / 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 + Canon MT 24-EX - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Commons -

Last month, a bridge between Illinois and Iowa had to be closed because it was knee-deep in mayflies. Yes, knee-deep.  Now some Wisconsin researchers are doing everything they can to increase mayfly numbers in parts of their state. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A man was seriously injured at the Sycamore Steam Show and Threshing Bee this morning. His arm was caught in a piece of antique machinery: a Sycamore fire department spokesman describes the injury as serious, but not life-threatening. He was flown by helicopter to a trauma center in Rockford.

  There was an ambulance company on site: they were able to free him and treat him until the helicopter arrived. He’s said to be in his early 30s. Meanwhile, the steam show has resumed.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Many northern Illinois drivers are kicking themselves today for not gassing up earlier this week. Gas prices throughout the Midwest have skyrocketed over the past two days.