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.

http://rockfordcityil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1212&Inline=True

A controversial housing proposal for Rockford’s east side has the go-ahead from a reluctant city council. Aldermen approved the site plans for the development on South New Towne Drive, on a 7 to 5 vote.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb is a step closer to the three-million dollar top prize in an unusual national contest:  The “America’s Best Communities” competition is helping towns invest more in their own revitalization plans.

  DeKalb has made the cut: the city is in the final 15 in the three-year-long contest. 350 communities started the competition: each round comes with more funding to help develop specific plans to improve their communities.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The familiar orange and black monarch butterfly has become a much rarer sight over the past few decades. There’s a growing movement to restore the habitat along the monarch’s migratory path. A new federal grant enlists farmers in the effort.

Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition / ilsnowsculpting.com

The Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition has been postponed for a week because there’s just not enough snow.

The annual event was scheduled to start next Thursday at Rockford’s Sinnissippi Park. The Rockford Park District usually hauls snow from the Chicago Rockford International Airport for sculptors to use: a spokesman says what little snow is there is too dirty and icy. The 30th annual competition will now take place Jan. 27th through 30th.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Time is running out for people who haven’t signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act

The LaSalle County city of Marseilles has issued a voluntary evacuation because of rising floodwaters.

Emergency officials don’t expect the river to rise to levels that would require a mandatory evacuation. But under their flood plans, once the Illinois River hits flood stage, 19 feet, people in areas damaged by floods in 2013 are advised to leave their homes. Or at least keep a close eye on the rising water.

They were notified by automated phone messages.

National Weather Service / weather.gov/lot

The winter storm is winding down, but you can still expect some challenges on the roads this morning. Monday’s sleet, snow, and high winds have dissipated. But temperatures that have fallen overnight have created patchy slippery spots on roadways.

Temperatures will continue to fall to just below freezing throughout the day. Flood warnings have also been issued for communities all along the Illinois River.

Center for Governmental Studies / Northern Illinois University

A new Census analysis shows Illinois leads the nation in population loss.

The U-S Census updates its population numbers every year by looking at government documents like tax returns as well as birth and death records. Illinois lost 22-thousand people over the past year. That’s like losing a city the size of Freeport in just one year.

"Candle" by Tom Danita / CC by 2.0

Every year, friends, family, and service providers gather in Rockford to remember a special group of people: the homeless in their community who have died over the past year.

City of Beloit

The city of Beloit has reached a settlement with its top two police officials. Beloit City Council unanimously approved retirement deals for the two, who have been on paid administrative leave since June. 

  An external review accused Chief Norm Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tom Dunkin of leadership problems and mismanagement of the department. They were to face disciplinary hearings before the city’s police and fire commission next month.

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