Chicago, IL – This election season has been peppered with religious references from the question of Jesus' voting habits in Illinois' U-S senatorial race to Catholic bishops denying a presidential candidate the Eucharist.

WNIJ's Simone Orendain spoke with a playwright who just directed a one-act play that tackles a hot-button religion issue.

DeKalb, IL – WNIJ's Dan Klefstad interviews Pam Weisman, the Executive Director of Safe Passage. Safe Passage assists victims of domestic violence in DeKalb County.

Weisman says the new federal rule could threaten her clients' lives because a central database makes it easier for batterers to locate their victims. Weisman says Safe Passage may forgo federal funding in order to protect its clients.

Rockford, IL – It's less than a month until the election. This is usually the time we see a bump in campaign yard signs. But in this presidential election Kerry-Edwards signs are in short supply in Illinois.

Rockford, IL – The Rockford Symphony Orchestra presents "An Evening With Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway" for its 70th Anniversary Gala Concert this week in the Coronado Theatre. WNIJ's Guy Stephens talked with James Galway, and has this report.

Hinckley, IL – This year's Senate race in Illinois has attracted a good deal of national attention. Democrat Barack Obama was praised for his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Republican Alan Keyes was recruited from Maryland after the original Republican nominee, Jack Ryan, quit the race. Keyes has wasted no time in getting some headlines of his own.

But when you go to the polls in November, you'll find two other names on your ballot: Albert Franzen and Jerry Kohn. Kohn is the Libertarian Party candidate.

Oak Lawn, IL – There are four names on the ballot for U.S. Senate in Illinois. The two major party candidates are well-known and yesterday, we learned about the independent. Today we'll meet the Libertarian on the ballot, Jerry Kohn.

Rockford, IL – Rockford's Artists' Ensemble Theater presents Pulitzer Prize-winner "Dinner With Friends" as its opener for the company's premiere season. Guy Stephens talks to two members of Artists' Ensemble who are also in the cast of the play.

Rockford, IL – Rockford's Studio Zoom has won a Rockford Area Music Industry Award. Yet few in the community know much, if anything, about it. WNIJ's Guy Stephens paid a visit to Studio Zoom, and has this report.

Rockford, IL – The closing act on WNIJ's Left Bank Stage features two very different Blues guitarists. Jimmy Thackery and Tab Benoit say they've learned a lot from playing together. And they say they've created a whole new sound. WNIJ's Patrick Sheehan has more...

Rockford, IL – Singer-guitarist Deborah Coleman is coming to Rockford. WNIJ's Dan Klefstad has this profile.

Rockford, IL – A powerful young singer is coming to Rockford's "On the Waterfront." Renee Austin fell in love with blues and gospel music when she was a child. Now, she's on her first nationwide tour, making her dream come true. WNIJ's Patrick Sheehan has more...

Rockford, IL – The Federal Government is making it easier for people to get a pilot's license. Starting this month, you can get a license to fly in just half the time it took before. But as WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports, the new license comes with a few catches.

Rockford, IL – The Blooze Brothers are a Chicago-based tribute to Jake and Elwood Blues of the Blues Brothers film. WNIJ's Carl Nelson spoke with Chuck Little, who plays Elwood.

Loves Park, IL – July unemployment in the Rockford region was eight-and-a-half percent. That's three percent higher than the national average. Every month the state puts out the statistics. But have you ever wondered who the people are behind those numbers?

WNIJ's Simone Orendain introduces us to a Loves Park computer engineer who lost his job of 20 years.

Chicago, IL – A Chicago film student is shining a light on her family's dark story. Her film "Plum Flower" tells the true story of infanticide in rural China in the early 20th century.

WNIJ's Simone Orendain talked with director Serena Moy about the short film.

Rockford, IL – A new exhibit at the Rockford Art Museum allows Rockford artists to vent their feelings about their hometown. It's also a chance to explain why they're still living and working there. WNIJ's Susan Stephens reports:

DeKalb, IL – When Illinois Democrat Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, people across the country took notice. At the time, Obama was unopposed in Illinois' U-S Senate race. The
Republican nominee, Jack Ryan left in June amid embarrassing allegations in his divorce records. Now Illinois Republicans are hoping to keep national interest going with the nomination of Maryland conservative Alan Keyes to run against Obama.

Beloit, WI – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry continues to campaign in the battleground states. He also held a town hall meeting in Beloit, Wisconsin. WNIJ's Simone Orendain reports not everyone there was a die-hard Kerry supporter.

Oregon, IL – Chris Lehman visits Bob and Sonia Vogl, the organizers of the Illinois Renewable Energy Fair at the Ogle County Fairgrounds.

7/30/04 – Garrison Keillor is a Democrat. His new book couldn't put it more plainly. WNIJ's Susan Stephens spoke with Keillor: first off, he's pretty excited about the presidential candidate who won his party's nomination.

8/2/04 – U.S. Senate candidate barack Obama is in the middle of a fast-paced, five-day bus tour throughout the state. He's drawing large crowds in cities and small towns: people are eager to see the politician who attracted so much attention at the Democratic National Convention. WNIJ's Susan Stephens reports on his Sunday stop in DeKalb.

7/29/04 – Mike Crase has been a reporter and columnist for small town newspapers in northern Illinois for 23 years. His recent book, "A Few Thoughts on a Scrap of Paper," is a compilation of some of his favorite columns. He says it helped him deal with some issues in his life: He spoke with WNIJ's Susan Stephens.

8/3/04 – The head of the Rockford Area Arts Council is retiring after seventeen years on the job. Susan Williams has given the arts organization six months notice. She spoke with WNIJ's Susan Stephens.

Chicago – A Chicago bicyclist starts a 25-thousand-mile adventure alone across three continents. Stephan Wanger traded life as a corporate mover and shaker for life as a solitary cyclist, all in the name of charity. WNIJ's Simone Orendain prepared this profile.

Rockford, IL – There's a new theater group in Rockford. Artists Ensemble of Rockford plans to present its first season this Fall. WNIJ's Guy Stephens reports.

Rockford, IL – It's the last day of school for the Rockford Public Schools. And at least one student is looking forward to repeating the fourth grade next year. WNIJ's Simone Orendain reports.

Rockford, IL – The Village of Maple Park is reeling after its mayor and eight others were arrested last Friday (May 28) on charges of taking part in an illegal gambling operation. Some in the village want to mayor to resign. But as WNIJ's Chris Lehman reports, many residents are upset that the state targeted their town.

St. Charles, IL – State lawmakers will have to approve a budget by the end of the month. As part of the governor's proposed cuts this year, the Illinois Department of Corrections budget will be 92-million dollars smaller. It plans to close two facilities to save. One of them is an Illinois Youth Center that some call a one of a kind facility. WNIJ's Simone Orendain reports.

Utica Tornado

May 19, 2004

Utica, IL – Eight people were killed by the tornado that swept through Utica on April 20th. Rescue teams using heavy equipment and shovels found the last of the victims in the rubble of a restaurant that collapsed: those who died were seeking refuge in the building's basement. WNIJ's Susan Stephens reports on how residents are beginning to cope.