Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & statewide newscaster

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather, and program information with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

Since January, 2018, I've been delivering Illinois-focused newscasts for NPR listeners on WNIJ and partner stations WUIS, WCBU and WSIU.

As WNIJ's content manager, I'm responsible for what you hear on the air, and what you see on our website and social media platforms.

Questions/concerns/suggestions? Email me at dklefstad@niu.edu. Tweet @danklefstad. Or call 815-753-9000.

Last but not least: Thank you very much if you're a financial supporter of this station. If not, I welcome your new membership here.

Best,
DK

Ways to Connect

Patrick Fitzgerald has scheduled a news conference Thursday to announce his resignation, according to the Justice Department.  Fitzgerald was selected as northern Illinois' top prosecutor in 2001.

During his tenure he successfully tried two Illinois governors, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, and media mogul Conrad Black.

As a special prosecutor, he investigated Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.  Fitzgerald's investigation led to Libby's conviction on charges that he leaked the covert identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

Northern Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger says President Obama has "been aggressive" when protecting Americans from terrorism.  The freshman Republican cites the Obama administration's increase in the use of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. 

Kinzinger spoke a day after U.S. intelligence officials announced they foiled an alleged attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner.  But in an interview with WNIJ, Kinzinger stressed he has "fundamental disagreements" with the administration's handling of Afghanistan. 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants state institutions, such as Northern Illinois University, to contribute to their workers' pensions.  Currently, the state pays the employer share of contributions.   Quinn's plan would slowly shift the responsibility for paying the "normal cost of pensions" to universities, community colleges and school districts. 

Northern Illinois University's Jazz Ensemble invited two percussionists to perform with them at Thursday's Spring Concert.  The headliner is Victor Lewis, an internationally renowned recording artist.  He'll share the stage with Robert Chappell, NIU Presidential Teaching Professor, who's retiring after 30 years with the music department.  Ensemble director Ron Carter sat down with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad to talk about this evening of music.

A new study links indirect exposure to trauma with an increased risk of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.  Northern Illinois University psychology professor Michelle Lily, and research associate Heather Pierce, followed 171 on-the-job emergency dispatchers from 24 states.  Dr. Lily discussed their findings with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad.

The new 16th Congressional District includes parts of Rockford, Dekalb, LaSalle and areas south of Chicago.  It's been represented since 1993 by Rockford-area Republican Don Manzullo.  His opponent is fellow Republican representative Adam Kinzinger.  In a recent interview with WNIJ, Kinzinger touted his accomplishments during his short time in Washington.  "I've been in Congress for 13 months.  We've changed the conversation since we've been there, myself and the freshman class, from how much more we're going to spend, how much we're going to cut and how we're going to pay for things."

Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling is unopposed in the March 20 primary, but whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be a serious threat.  There are 3 Democrats running in the 17th District primary - Greg Aguilar, Cheri Bustos and George Gaulrapp.  NIU political scientist Matt Streb says they benefit from a traditionally Democratic district that was made even more Democratic after redistricting.   Streb talks with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad about this contest.

Illinois' 14th Congressional District primary looked to be a hot one, but national interest declined after Republican Congressman Joe Walsh dropped his challenge to the incumbent in the district, Randy Hultgren.

niu.edu

The race for the Republican nomination in Illinois' 16th Congressional District is one of the most closely-watched in the nation.  That's according to Matt Streb, who chairs NIU's political science department.  The race is unusual because it pits two incumbent Congressmen against each other.  Streb analyzes this race in an interview with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad.

Republican Don Manzullo has represented the 16th District since 1993. 

Republican U.S. Representative, Adam Kinzinger, prepares to face longtime GOP incumbent in Illinois' primary election. 

American Lyme Disease Foundation

A new national map shows the places where people are most at risk to contract Lyme disease and several other diseases ticks carry.  It's the largest study of its kind. 

Rod Blagojevich's prison sentence is 14 years.  His best chance of getting out early is a petition of clemency to the White House.

A Northern Illinois University political scientist has a suggestion for simplifying our nation's system of primary elections.  Matt Streb discusses his proposed changes with WNIJ's Dan Klefstad.

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