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.

Senator Mark Kirk is alert and talking, according to doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Illinois' junior Senator's condition has been upgraded to "fair," more than a week after he suffered a major stroke.

The Rockford Public Library’s board of trustees can expect to see something unusual at its meeting Monday night… a large crowd. That’s because two confidential reports by the library’s executive director have been leaked to the public.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

 

Construction is expected to begin later this year on a new passenger train station in downtown Rockford. Governor Pat Quinn announced the state was putting three million dollars toward the effort during a news conference at the historic Tinker Swiss Cottage Tuesday afternoon -- not far from where the station will be built. The governor said not only is it important to look at transportation needs all over the state, it’s important to make sure northern Illinois is connected, especially Rockford.

Northern Illinois University

Several high-profile crimes involving Northern Illinois University students over the past few years have raised concerns over safety on and off campus. That leaves university leaders looking for ways to make their school safer…while challenging the perception they’re different from any other college campus. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens reports in part three of our series.

 

Note: WNIJ's Jenna Dooley contributed to this report.

          

Susan Stephens

 

Rockford’s only home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is a step closer to becoming a museum. A community group was the winning…and only…bidder in yesterday’s auction of the Laurent House. Jerry Heinzeroth says members of The Laurent House Foundation have worked very hard over the past four years to get to this point. He says they’re extremely happy with the fact that the house will become a permanent part of the community, thanks to the support of donors, including the state, the city of Rockford, and Winnebago County.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

 

A small, yet significant, home goes up for auction next week in Rockford…and a group of preservationists is racing to come up with the money to ensure it becomes a community centerpiece. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens has more on the house Frank Lloyd Wright called his “little gem.”

 

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Horses could once again be slaughtered for meat in the U-S. Congress has lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections.

A nineteen-year-old man from Markham, Illinois has been arrested in this morning's shooting death of a Northern Illinois University student. Chaz Thrailkill was arrested late this morning in DeKalb, more than eight hours after the shooting near campus. Thrailkill is charged with first degree murder and is being held on three million dollars bond in the DeKalb County Jail.

A Sterling man accused of killing eight people in two states in 2008 has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.  Nicholas Sheley was sentenced today for the murder of 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg.

The DeKalb area lost one of its most celebrated residents this weekend.  Dee Palmer died in his home Saturday, just a few months after wrapping up his 63rd season as conductor of the DeKalb Municipal Band.  He was 97.

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