Guy Stephens

Reporter

Guy Stephens produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements.  In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level.  Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU.  In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."

WNIJ

A DeKalb organization that provides meals to those in need is looking to expand in 2013. To pay for that, the Feed’em Soup community project has started a late night food service.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

It’s official. A railcar maker in Rochelle will build 130 high speed rail cars for the Midwest and California.  Governor Pat Quinn and U-S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the $352-million contract Monday at Nippon Sharyo’s factory in Rochelle.  

Guy Stephens

Amtrak is set to resume passenger service across northern Illinois from Chicago to Dubuque in 2014.  Cities along the route are building new stations to handle the new Blackhawk Line. Some in Freeport see a chance to create much more than just a stop on the route.

Rockford Public Schools

A measure to allow Rockford Public Schools to issue $139 million in bonds to finance a massive rebuilding plan passed by a wide margin on Tuesday.  However, the District’s work has only just begun.

Dr Ehren Jarrett has been chosen as the Rockford School District’s next superintendent. The soon-to-be-former assistant superintendent says the District is thrilled that the issue passed. But, he says, a lot more planning is necessary, because the District wants to be careful with the authority it has been given.

The race for Illinois' new 11th Congressional District pits Democrat Bill Foster against Republican Judy Biggert. While on paper the district looks heavily Democratic, polls show the candidates running neck-and-neck.

wnij

Rochelle-based Nippon Sharyo has been named the intended recipient of a $352 million contract to build 130 bi-level passenger railcars to accommodate high-speed rail expansion in Illinois and two other Midwest states as well as California.

Paddle and Trail and the Rockford Park District are seeking public input on what types of winter recreational activities they would like to see offered at the Regional Activity Center on Windsor Lake in Loves Park.   The Park District says tournaments or festivals could be built around some of these winter activities that could draw visitors to the area. 

Several area museums have won awards from the Illinois Association of Museums.

Rockford’s Midway Village won Certificates of Excellence for the educational program “100th Anniversary Titanic Steerage Supper” and for Social Media and Websites. The Sycamore History Museum won a Certificate of Excellence for the exhibit “Why Sycamore Works.”

DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen says he will not run for another term. Povlson made the announcement in a press release sent out Friday morning. Povlson says the more than 15 years he has served as alderman and mayor have been a rewarding experience, but it was simply time to to move on. Povlson says he is proud of many things DeKalb's government was able to accomplish during his tenure on the City Council.  

WNIJ

Zambian Matthew Tembo got his bachelor's degree in classical music-playing Bach on the piano. He moved on to become a leading touring and recording artist in both the reggae and Afropop genres. But for the last several years, he's devoted himself to kindling an interest in his countrymen for Zambia's traditional instruments and music. To that end, he founded the Sing Your Own Song Festival, which encourages musicians to create music that embraces that tradition. More recently, he has come to Northern Illinois University, where he is working on master's degree in World Music.

The Chicago Teachers Union president says the city's students will be back in class Wednesday after delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend a seven-day teachers strike. 

Karen Lewis spoke during a Tuesday evening news conference after delegates met to consider a tentative contract proposal. The teachers walked out last week over issues including how they are evaluated and job security. Some 350, ooo students were affected.   

This week, two northern Illinois businesses are closing their doors. Both of these family owned operations had served their communities for generations.

After more than 40 years in Rockford as an independent organization, Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts is becoming a division of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center.  

Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts has long been known for presenting an eclectic mix of folk, blues and other types of ‘roots’ music. For most of its 128 years, the focus of what is now the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center has been classical music.

Rockford police Department

The Rockford Police Department hosts its eighth Citizens Police Academy beginning September 19. The 8 week class will be held Wednesday afternoons at the city's Public Safety Building.

The course will cover such topics as community policing, recognizing drug and gang activity, crime prevention through environmental design, crime analysis, seasonal crimes/scams/ID theft, organizing and sustaining a watch group, “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” scenarios and more. 

WNIJ / WNIJ

While they aren’t seeing the catastrophic losses of the most hard-hit areas, northern Illinois farmers are still expecting a significantly reduced corn crop as a result of this summer’s drought. The outlook for soybeans isn’t so clear. Farmers are keeping their fingers crossed.

Paul Rassmussen farms both corn and soybeans in DeKalb County. He says it’s still too early to predict what kind of soybean harvest it will be.

crimesolvers.net

National Night Out 2012 will be observed Tuesday, August 7th, in communities across the country. People are being encouraged to hold block parties that include visits from local police, to foster improved neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

Local, state and federal officials joined with representatives of private industry July 27th to break ground on an expansion of the City of Rochelle Railroad.

15 private and governmental entities were involved in developing the nearly $5 million project, the bulk of which will be paid for by federal and state grants.

State Representative Bob Pritchard says the effort serves as a good example for the rest of the country.

An Indiana auto parts maker is planning to consolidate its North American manufacturing operations in Rockford by early 2013.

Late Tuesday Afternoon Update:

Tens of thousands of people in northern Illinois were without electricity hours after a fast-moving thunderstorm downed trees and severed power lines.

The early morning storm knocked out power to about 300,000 homes and businesses in the northern part of the state.

Commonwealth Edison said that by mid-afternoon, 91,000 customers were still without electricity, most of them to the west of Chicago.

Company officials expect power will be restored to most of them by Thursday evening or Friday. 

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

A host of public officials and hundreds of invited guests came to Rochelle Thursday to mark the grand opening of Japanese company Nippon Sharyo’s new rail car manufacturing facility there.  

WNIJ

Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Over the decades, the Web has presented literally hundreds of artists. And despite always working on a shoestring budget, it has consistently won renown for both the quality and variety of its concerts. It's also survived economic woes that have felled many an arts organization.  Lani Richardson is executive director of the Web.

Yawen Wu

Sunday, April 29th, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra takes on perhaps the biggest challenge in its 47–year history.

This Saturday, a group of Rockford churches and community organizations hold “Faith at the End of Your Fork,” a day-long series of workshops on making food choices that are healthy and sustainable. 

Cents and Sensibility

Apr 25, 2012

Most of the events during Money Smart Week are given by finance professionals. One set of presentations, though, is not being given by a bank officer or a CPA. Northern Illinois University's Financial Cents program employs students to teach their peers what they need to know when it comes to money. Now, during Money Smart Week, they're doing the same thing for the larger community. 

Many residents of a small LaSalle County town are still in shock after news that one of its largest employers will be closing its doors next month.

Illinois Corn Growers

Most of the attention in Illinois has been on the primary, but there’s another vote coming up March 28th.  Corn farmers are being asked whether to raise the voluntary corn checkoff rate.  Paul Taylor raises corn in DeKalb County. He’s also a member of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and works with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which is asking for the increase.  WNIJ’s Guy Stephens spoke with Taylor. He began by asking, just what is a checkoff?

 

No Contest(s)

Mar 20, 2012

A number of candidates are running unopposed in their party’s primary.  In some cases, there is no one running in the other party’s primary, either. That could mean that, for some candidates, the fall election will be a mere formality.  

Northern Illinois University is looking for non-NIU undergraduate students who are interested in environmental issues to work closely on research projects with university scientists.

WNIJ's Guy Stephens' interview with Jonathan Farnick, candidate in the Democratic primary for the IL 14th Congressional seat.

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