News

Rockford, IL – Four new homes for sale in Rockford have been designed to be more accessible to people with special needs. Disability advocates are hopeful it's part of a larger trend. WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports...

Rockford, IL – School's out and summer camp season is here. It's that time of year when kids get to do things they usually can't do at home, like building fires and making s'mores. For a few dozen kids in Rockford, summer camp means making noise: they're learning what it's like to be in a rock and roll band. WNIJ's Susan Stephens reports:

Rockford, IL – Rockford's very own dinosaur has been unveiled: "Jane" is standing on her own two fossilized feet for the first time in 66-million years. The Burpee Museum of Natural History is opening its permanent exhibit about the dinosaur that was unearthed in Montana by museum volunteers. The exhibit answers the question paleontologists have debated for the past few years: "just what IS Jane, anyway?" WNIJ's Susan Stephens reports.

DeKalb, IL – A New York-based singer/songwriter takes on the Blackhawk War, Carl Sandburg, and unemployment in Rockford. Sufjan Stevens' new album is "Come on, Feel the Illinoise." It's the Detroit native's follow-up to his album all about his home state. WNIJ's Susan Stephens spoke with Sufjan Stevens about llinois and his plan to record an album about each of the fifty states.

South Beloit, IL – In northern Winnebago County, a group of people are ripping up the prairie in hopes of preserving a rare plant. WNIJ's Guy Stephens reports:

DeKalb, IL – Illinois lawmakers passed a budget that balances itself by skipping payments to the state's pension systems. WNIJ's Dan Klefstad talks with State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-70) about the bill on its way to the Governor's desk.

DeKalb, IL – The sound of a train blowing its horn is an unavoidable part of life in many towns. Now, the City of DeKalb is taking steps to make trains a little less intrusive on the lives of people who live near the tracks. WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports...

Rockford, IL – As part of Think Global, our 2005 public radio collaboration, WNIJ's Dan Klefstad talks with the president of Eclipse Inc., a Rockford manufacturer that has found a way to compete in the global marketplace.

DeKalb, IL – WNIJ and the 2005 Public Radio Collaboration, a coalition of public radio stations and producers across the country, seek to reveal the often-hidden connections between us, our communities and the rest of the world.

DeKalb, IL – Government cutbacks have caused severe financial problems at DeKalb County's only homeless shelter. As a result, Hope Haven has decided to hold a fundraiser.

Rockford, IL – A new study claims the Rockford area needs more flexibility in transit options for low-wage workers. WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports...

Washington, D.C. – Rockford went to Washington Tuesday. A chartered 737 flew from Rockford to the nation's capital and back for a one-day lobbying blitz. WNIJ's Chris Lehman bought a ticket and flew along.

Freeport, IL – The Mississippi River flood of 1993 was one of the worst natural disasters ever for many Midwest communities. A new musical collaboration by three Freeport area artists commemorates the catastrophe and the impact it had on millions of peoples' lives. The work, called "A Gathering of Waters", will premiere this Friday evening, April 22, in Freeport. WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports...

Rockford, – Bobby McFerrin is known as an innovative and versatile jazz artist. He appears with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra Tuesday night. But he won't just be doing his trademark vocalizations. He conducts the RSO in a program of classical music. He spoke with WNIJ's Guy Stephens.

DeKalb, IL – Singer-guitarist Tab Benoit has been an exponent of the music of his native Louisiana. Now he's drawing attention to the disappearing wetlands, and how this is threatening the culture that gave birth to the music.

Paul Natkin

DeKalb, IL – Chicago gospel singer Mavis Staples is nominated four W.C. Handy Awards. The W.C. Handy Awards are the most prestigious awards in the blues. Staples is the daughter of the late Roebuck "Pops" Staples, leader of the Staple Singers. Just before Easter, 2002, Mavis Staples came into the WNIJ studios for an on-air interview during the Saturday Blues. She talked about her father's influence on her music, and her longtime friendship with singer Mahalia Jackson.

Aurora, IL – On Wednesday (March 16th) representatives of national, state and local advocacy groups gathered outside the Aurora offices of the Social Security Administration to announce their participation in a campaign to defeat President Bush's plans to privatize Social Security. WNIJ's Guy Stephens was there:

DeKalb, IL – Iraq's newly-elected officials will soon begin writing laws. Enforcing those laws will be the job of Iraq's police. But Iraq's cops face the challenge of protecting the community during an insurgency that's been made worse by ethnic and religious differences.
So what kind of police force is the best for the job? Northern Illinois University's police chief helped rebuild Bosnia's police force. In a conversation with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad, Don Grady offers advice on building a multi-ethnic and multi-religious police force.

DeKalb, IL – Nearly two-thirds of Illinoians support some form of legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships. That's according to a survey soon to be released by NIU's Center for Governmental Studies. WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports...

Environmental Law and Policy Center

DeKalb, IL – Illinois is poised to become the leader in wind power production in the midwest. That's according to a report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center of Chicago. WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports...

Rockford – Hooters Air is now offering non-stop flights to Denver, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. But the name "Hooters Air" evokes a different image than more traditional airlines such as United or American. WNIJ's Chris Lehman rode along on the first Hooters Air flight to Denver to see what it's like to fly on an airline that takes pride in being tacky.

DeKalb, IL – A new survey by NIU's Center for Governmental Studies shows the increase in tolls on the Illinois Tollway isn't very popular. What's surprising is that drivers using I-PASS aren't too fond of the two-tiered toll system either, even though their tolls aren't going up under the plan.

Rockford, IL – In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, former Rockford YWCA executive director Jane McAfee takes us back to 1963: that's when she and colleagues from the National YWCA took part in the March on Washington. They were near the stage when Dr. King delivered his most famous speech.

Chicago, IL – In July, a long-distance cyclist from Chicago set out on a nine-month, 25-thousand mile adventure across three continents. Stephan Wanger wanted to pedal for charity and expected to raise two-and-a-half million dollars. Then in early November, with little money raised, few corporate sponsorships and very low finances, the one-time marketing specialist had to cut the trip short.

DeKalb, IL – Northern Illinois University's fleet of eight hybrid cars will get bigger beginning in January. When the transportation department placed its first order two years ago, one of those cars went to N-I-U police. That car passed its test period this summer. And now the police department is looking forward to getting a second hybrid car next month. WNIJ's Simone Orendain reports.

Batavia, IL – Northern Illinois University and Fermilab are set to re-open a cancer treatment center in January. The procedure is called "neutron therapy" and has been used to treat thousands of people in the past 30 years.

DeKalb, IL – The Education Department wants to track every student moving through the U.S. higher education system. WNIJ's Dan Klefstad talks with NIU Registrar Don Larson about how the change would affect students, and Northern Illinois University.

DeKalb – Northern Illinois' Latino population continues to grow at a fast pace, mirroring the nation's growth figures. The increase has brought a demand for Spanish language and bilingual services. A new publication in DeKalb seeks to fill the need.

WNIJ's Simone Orendain has this profile of El Periodico Lo Nuestro or "The Newspaper That's Ours."

DeKalb, IL – WNIJ reporter Chris Lehman talks with Morning Edition host Dan Klefstad about the new systems and procedures at Byron, and what they'll cost.

Paw Paw, IL – The Mendota Hills wind farm turned one year old in November. Its operators say the project has been a success. WNIJ's Dan Klefstad spoke with reporter Chris Lehman, who toured the wind farm recently.

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