Guy Stephens

NIU Student, Alumnus Among Dead In Aurora

Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman notified staff through email that two of the people killed in a shooting at an Aurora industrial park have deep NIU connections. NIU student Trevor Wehner was among those killed when Gary Martin opened fire at the Henry Pratt Co. Friday afternoon. According to the release, Friday was the first day of Wehner's internship at the company. 2014 alumnus Clay Parks was also killed Friday. Parks graduated from the school's College of Business and...

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Illinois Lawmakers React To Shutdown Vote, Emergency Declaration

Feb 15, 2019
Jenna Dooley/IPR

Reaction is coming in from lawmakers representing all corners of the state as it pertains to the vote to avoid another government shutdown as well as President Trump's announcement Friday to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) Released Thursday afternoon

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House approved a $15 minimum wage plan Thursday that now heads to the governor’s desk. But, some are still unhappy with the fast-track approach.

It isn’t the first time a minimum wage measure has passed out of the legislature—a similar plan was approved in 2017 but then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it. The difference this time? J.B. Pritzker—a Democrat—is governor. He campaigned on the issue and has indicated he’ll sign it as soon as next week.

Low-income earners can soon apply to waive their court costs in Illinois.


The Beloit International Film Festival begins its 10-day run next week. Organizers say it represents the best in filmmaking. On today's Friday Forum, Guy Stephens found this year’s festival also reflects a shift in film culture.

Marty Densch is executive director of the festival, commonly referred to as BIFF. He said, in some ways, the 14th festival is much like it's been in recent years, with a full slate of offerings.

Perspective: Is Air Travel Evil?

Feb 15, 2019
public domain

The 19th century French photographer known as Nadar was quite an enterprising fellow. He started out as a sketch artist and once set some sort of record for the number of tiny sketches he could get on one page: 250 in all. Magnifying glasses in Paris must have sold out.

But Nadar didn’t stop there. In time he became interested in traveling by hot air balloon. First, he went up by himself and marveled at the view. He said it gave him a serene perspective on life and removed him from all the evil vanities of human endeavor.

Sessions from Studio A - Eddie B. Smooth

Feb 14, 2019

Eddie B. Smooth performs "Sneaky" in WNIJ's Studio.

Smooth jazz group Eddie B. Smooth recently joined us in Studio A. Hear them play some slow, soulful tunes as well as some upbeat covers of a few jazz standards.

Chase Cavanaugh

The Illinois State Police is setting up shop at internship fairs in a search for new officers. This includes an event next week at Northern Illinois University.

ISP has more than 2,000 sworn officers spread across 21 districts. Officers say there isn't a single factor pushing them to recruit new troopers. But they admit that attrition and the two-year budget impasse had an effect on their ranks. Sgt. Hector Alejandre says much of their work takes place on major state roads.

Rep. Rodney Davis On Taxes This Year And Universal Background Checks

Feb 14, 2019
Robin Linn/Illinois Public Media

Representative Rodney Davis is a Republican from Illinois’ 13th Congressional district, which includes all or part of 14 counties across central and southwestern Illinois, including Champaign, Bloomington, and Springfield. We spoke to him from NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. 

The average tax refund is down 8.4 percent among early filers according to the IRS. That’s partly a result of some popular deductions being eliminated, like the moving expenses deduction and unreimbursed employee expenses.

Perspective: A Saving Grace

Feb 14, 2019

How did you survive the once-in-a-lifetime Polar Vortex last month? Our border collie friends posted their stories on Facebook, illustrated with dogs romping in layers of new snow with swirling winds wrapping them in white blankets. These high energy dogs relish the sub-zero temps if kept active, even without doggie sweaters or booties. The hardest challenge is to find open ground to encourage the dogs to do their daily duties. 


Thousands of migrant children continue to arrive at the Southern border every month, without their parents, to ask for asylum. The government sends many of them to an emergency intake shelter in South Florida. That facility has come under intense scrutiny because it's the only child shelter for immigrants that's run by a for-profit corporation and the only one that isn't overseen by state regulators.


News From NPR

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe condemned what he called the "relentless attack" that President Trump has waged against the FBI even as it continues scrutinizing whether Americans in Trump's campaign may have conspired with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election.

After dance pioneer Alvin Ailey died in 1989, the future of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was uncertain. It's difficult to keep a dance company profitable after its founder is long gone – many have tried and failed. But 30 years later, the group is thriving, and decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary and founder by commissioning a new work titled Lazarus.


Ask anybody who's tried - It's hard to keep even a well-known arts institution going. To keep it going after its founder and namesake has died is even more impressive. But, to do that for some six decades, some might call that miraculous. So, at that standard, you can understand why the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year by commissioning a new powerful work titled "Lazarus."


UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (As characters, singing) War is risen.

For one of the nation's only historically black colleges for women, this week will be crucial for survival.

On Monday, Bennett College, in Greensboro, N.C., will argue its case for maintaining its accreditation at a hearing before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACS.

They came covered in blue paint, donning red and white hats, nearly 3,000 in all. Their goal was simple: To break the world record for the largest group of people dressed as Smurfs.

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