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.

City of Rockford / rockfordil.gov

There are big plans for an important part of Rockford’s downtown. Thursday night, the public gathered at Memorial Hall to hear about the future of Davis Park.

A 23-year-old Rockford man was killed and two others injured in a crash that shut down a busy intersection for most of the day Wednesday. He’s been identified as Juan Lozano Junior.

The three were spotted driving a stolen car overnight near Rockford and were briefly pursued by Illinois State Police troopers, who gave up the chase. The stolen car was found a short time later after crashing into a tree near Anderson Japanese Gardens at the intersection of Spring Creek and Highcrest Roads.  

An Egyptian activist is touring the U.S., reminding people that the struggle in her country continues five years after the uprising.

Tuesday night, she spoke in Rockford. Salma Hussein is a human rights advocate and journalist from Cairo, Egypt. She says "it's hard to see people talking about it like it's history because the movement is still there. Even if it's not necessarily with the same momentum anymore, the movement is still alive and present."

scottforchairman.com

The chairman of the Winnebago County Board will not run for re-election. Republican Scott Christiansen is dropping out of the March 15 primary. 

In Winnebago County, the chairman of the county board is elected by voters, not chosen by the board itself.

Christiansen has held the position since 2004 and, up until Sunday, it appeared he would run again. That’s when he told Rockford Register Star political editor Chuck Sweeny he was ending his re-election bid for health and family reasons.

hhs.gov

It’s time to sign up or pay up. The deadline for getting an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act is Sunday. 

You either have health insurance Monday or face fines -- big fines, starting at $695. Kathleen Falk is the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She says there are a lot of reasons people haven’t registered yet, including still not being convinced they can finally get an insurance company to cover them.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Supporters and opponents of a proposed gambling complex in southern DeKalb County turned out Tuesday for a meeting with federal officials. It was the first step in a long study of how 24-hour bingo parlors will affect the village of Shabbona.

ncai.org

The federal government wants to hear from the public tonight about how they think they’ll be affected by a gambling facility in Shabbona. 

A proposed entertainment complex offering 24-hour bingo has been in the works for years on Potawatomi Nation land near Shabbona, in southern DeKalb County. Tonight, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs hosts a public hearing at Kishwaukee College. It’s the first step in the process of developing an environmental impact study of the project.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A major overhaul of DeKalb County’s jail is on target to be finished by the summer of 2018. Sycamore’s city council got an update at its meeting this week on the progress of the $35-million jail expansion.

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.

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