2020 Suspensions Of Video Gaming Shrink Local Budgets

Mar 16, 2021
Done in collaboration with Spring 2021 Data Visualization Course, School of Art and Design, Northern Illinois University, Nestor Alvarez

Governments across Illinois are seeing large holes in their budgets due to COVID-19 restrictions. One area that’s seen a sharp drop is revenue from video gaming. 

Video gaming terminals are a regular sight at bars, restaurants and roadside shops around the state. They’ve brought a pretty penny not only to their operators, but also to local governments. This is because municipalities get 5% of the net terminal income.

An Aurora nonprofit had to leave its space a few years ago. It housed a bookstore and served the community. Despite not having a home, the group continues to fulfill its vision with the help of others.  

L.I.F.T. (Live. Improve. Flourish. Thrive.) Aurora -- better known locally as Culture Stock -- has a goal to enrich the community through arts. 

Nicole Mullins is the founder and board president of the nonprofit. She said the building they were hoping to secure last year was acquired by another buyer. 

Perspective: The World We Give My Daughter

Mar 15, 2021
Noah Buscher / Unsplash

The time is nearing for my only daughter to leave the house and seek her fit into the world. My heavy lone concern is the health of our dear Mother Earth that we are giving her.

Our human modernization of technology and way of life have caused enormous irreversible damage to her long-term well-being. Evolution recites that only the strong survive and Mother Nature will wreak havoc on the weak -- deeming them susceptible to ever-changing environments upon her. If the wits of humanity proceed as they have with minimal caution, I fear the worst for our race.

Spencer Tritt

Just open a window. That was priority one of the CDC’s first air filtration guidance last month.

DeKalb Mayoral Candidates Take Part In Front Yard Forum

Mar 15, 2021
Chase Cavanaugh

The two candidates for DeKalb mayor took part in a neighborhood forum Sunday. 

About a dozen Kensington Pointe residents gathered on a chilly day to hear from candidates Carolyn Morris and Cohen Barnes. They gathered on the front lawn of the Rev. Marty Marks, a pastor for Immanuel Lutheran Church. Marks said he personally knows both candidates and wanted to create an event that focused on commonalities. He said the results speak for themselves.

National Archives and Records Administration, Public domain

March 17, 1937. Illinois’ Attorney General John E. Cassidy declared that all pinball machines were to be outlawed as gambling devices. He called them “pernicious and dangerous to the public welfare.” Law enforcement officers around the state pledged their support, ready to seize the pinball machines just as they would any slot machine.

Perspective: Serendipity

Mar 14, 2021
public domain

I recently happened upon one of my favorite words -- serendipity -- in an essay by Garnette Cadogan where he shares this definition, “a secular way of speaking of grace.” I associate this phenomenon with unintended but somehow focused luck. One of my serendipitous stumblings led me to the job that would be the highlight of my career and connect me to a lasting circle of friends.

Poetically Yours Ep. 32 - Time To Spring Forward

Mar 12, 2021
Provided by Richard Holinger.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. Today's segment features poet Richard Holinger. 

On this episode, host Gillian King-Cargile (@gkingcargile) explores the gene editing tool CRISPR, used to create the breakthrough mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. First, she talks with biographer Walter Isaacson (@WalterIsaacson), author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs, about his new book The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race. The book chronicles the discoveries surrounding CRISPR and the brilliant scientists racing toward publications, patents, and prizes.

  After a year of being extra careful to avoid the virus, individuals with other health problems are getting vaccinated.  But for some, it's not a free pass for life to get back to normal.  

Teaching civics can be difficult at any time.  Try it during a pandemic with remote learning amid a highly divisive time in our history.  We'll hear about the challenges.

Thsoe stories and more on this episode of Statewide.  

Our lineup:

Last month, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law massive changes to the state’s criminal justice system. Since then, supporters and critics continue to weigh in on how the measures will affect members of law enforcement and the community. 



Perspective: 'Playful' Bigotry

Mar 12, 2021
Will Francis /

Until recently, I had never heard the term "playful bigotry." It was used by a writer commenting upon the death of a famous right wing radio personality.  Apparently, he-who-will-NOT-be-named used it to great effect in his daily verbal tirades.

For the life of me, I don't understand how actual bigotry can in any way be considered playful.

Sessions from Studio A - Joe Nanzer

Mar 11, 2021

Our guest this week is singer-songwriter Joe Nanzer. He's released a string of singles over the past two years that you can find on Spotify, Apple Music, and all your usual streaming platforms. Hear him perform those songs live in Studio A this hour. We'll also talk with Joe Nanzer about his background, his influences, and about the stories behind some of his songs. That's all on this week's edition of Sessions from Studio A.

If you are a local artist interested in being featured on our show, send us a submission at

Connie Kuntz

What do you plan to do with your body after you die? Instead of having it buried in a grave with a tombstone, some people are choosing to have their ashes spread beneath a private tree. 

Better Place Forests is responding to that trend by turning forest land into memorial preserves. There are five in the country, with two in the works, including one in northern Illinois.

Bills Would Increase Pharmacy Access, Allow Easier Changes To Birth Documents

Mar 11, 2021

The House Human Services Committee on Tuesday moved bills aimed at closing disparities in access to pharmacies and allowing transgender and intersex individuals to change their sex on their birth certificate. 

Another measure would eliminate a requirement that individuals be deemed ineligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits for prior felony drug convictions.

Committee OKs Bill Expanding Use Of Campaign Funds For Child, Elder Care

Mar 11, 2021

A bill that would expand the use of political campaign funds to include child care and elderly home care expenses advanced out a state Senate committee on Wednesday.

A Rockford arts organization is accepting nominations for its annual arts awards.

Mary McNamara Bernsten is the executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council. She said, although the pandemic brought changes, there was still a lot going on. 

“And so, it's really important to talk to your peers and talk to your family," she said. "You know, ‘What do you remember about that? And what were the videos that stuck out in your head? And what were the pieces of art that impacted you during that time?’” 

Perspective: A School Of Fish

Mar 11, 2021
Chris Fink

My eyeglasses are like a school of fish that swim through the house. Just yesterday I knew their secret hiding places. Where are they today? It’s morning, and I have my coffee. Now it’s time to read something. No glasses. I yell out to the house, as my father did before me, Who stole my spectacles?! No answer. There is never any answer. My voice must spook the fish.                                  

A former employee for the City of Rochelle pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of wire fraud from a nonprofit.

Kate Kilgore

A Rockford musician released a series of children’s books.

“Thembu the South African Penguin – Tales of Possibilities” highlights a young bird living with autism spectrum disorder.  

Dorothy Paige-Turner created the three books in the series. She said the South African penguin fascinates her. 

Perspective: The Impossible May Take A While

Mar 10, 2021

I woke up at 1:15 in the morning and reached for something boring to read so I could go back to sleep. It was a mistake. 

The book I found was The Impossible Will Take a Little While, edited by Paul Rogat Loeb.  Its subtitle was Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times.  And it was perfect…and imperfect.  

Spencer Tritt

Last spring, while shoppers scavenged for toilet paper, schools scrambled to secure their own PPE and safety supplies.

Somonauk School District Superintendent Jay Streicher was trying to buy equipment for his students and staff before it sold out. Guidance changed so quickly, he says it was tough to even know what to buy.

City of Dekalb

The search for DeKalb’s new police chief is finally over.



David Byrd is DeKalb’s newest police chief. The hiring of the Chicago native and 31-year veteran colonel with the Illinois State Police received no objections from DeKalb City Council.


Spencer Tritt

The Biden Administration announced schools still have to do standardized tests during the pandemic.

Lynn Gibson says even Illinois superintendents are about 50/50 on whether testing could provide helpful insight on how well students are doing -- or if it’s a complete waste of time.

Perspective: Learning From Loss

Mar 9, 2021
Karim Manjra / Unsplash

As I sit here writing, I am surrounded by grief pamphlets, newsletters, and books. All of these are meant to be helpful as my family approaches the third anniversary of my oldest son’s death due to suicide. We don’t know why, or what he was struggling with, or how we could have helped. But I have learned a few things.

First, depression and grief are similar and wear many masks. Sometimes it looks like lying in bed crying for days. Sometimes it means looking at old pictures and smiling at a memory. A lot of the time it is acting happy when you feel like dying inside.

On March 12, 1966, just five minutes into the third period against the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawk Bobby Hull scored his 50th goal of the season. The Chicago Stadium crowd roared as their hometown hero tied a league record that he already shared with two others. The Blackhawks’ winger, known as “The Golden Jet” for his speed, skill and dashing blond hair, was one of the most popular players in the National Hockey League.

The League of Women Voters of DeKalb County and WNIJ hosted a virtual, public forum where candidates for the DeKalb Township Supervisor had the opportunity to speak. This forum featured ballot candidate Mary Hess and write-in candidate Jim Luebke. Erin Roeper of the Homewood/Flossmoor League moderated.

Watch Now: DeKalb Mayoral Candidate Forum

Mar 8, 2021

The DeKalb Public Library, the League of Women Voters of DeKalb County and WNIJ hosted a virtual, public Mayoral Forum where candidates for the City of DeKalb Mayor had the opportunity to speak. 

This forum featured Mayoral candidates Cohen Barnes and Carolyn Morris. Susan Greenwood of the League of Women Voters of Naperville moderated, and we took your questions for the candidates. Watch the full forum below.

Jennifer Kuroda

Audubon Mural Project Rockford is hosting a free Zoom event on Tuesday night with the goal of bringing more bird murals to Rockford.

Perspective: Is It Time For A Divorce, America?

Mar 8, 2021
Chris Angelini / Pixabay

Southern diarist Mary Chestnut wrote the following in the ever-escalating period leading up to the Civil War: “We are divorced North from South, because we hated each other so. If we could only separate politely, and not have a horrid fight for divorce.”