Jenna Dooley

Reporter, News Production Supervisor

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield.  She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.

Jenna Dooley

In higher education, "safe spaces" are places where people can feel open to express themselves. Northern Illinois University's Center for the Study of Women, Gender & Sexuality describes such an environment as a place "without fear of being violated, harassed or judged, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, economic class, citizenship status, or disability."

Jenna Dooley

Betty Hampa of Genoa was a freshman at Northern Illinois University in 1959. She says her friends invited her to volunteer as an usher at the Egyptian Theater for a visit by the then-Senator of Massachusetts.

“I just remember that he said things that would excite young people," Hampa recalls. "He seemed like he talked about going to the moon… a lot of exciting things. Because he was young, he was handsome. He just had this charisma about him or something that just really grabbed you."

photo provided

With just weeks to go, much attention is given to the 2016 presidential election in the United States. But a look back in time reveals some topics were very similar on the road to the White House in 1960.

On Oct. 25, 1959, then-Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy visited a luncheon rally of Democratic committeemen in DeKalb County. Later, he made remarks before more than a thousand people at the Egyptian Theater in downtown DeKalb.

A Kane County judge dismissed on Thursday morning a stalking/no contact order filed against DeKalb District 428 Superintendent Doug Moeller.

An emergency stalking ordered filed by DeKalb High School principal Michele Albano on Sept. 19 will expire on its own terms.

According to court records, Albano failed to appear in court Thursday morning. Superintendent Moeller, along with his lawyers and several witnesses did appear in court before the dismissal.

NIU

Arrests and referrals related to drugs and alcohol fell last year at Northern Illinois University. That’s according to the Annual Safety and Security Report released Friday.

Universities are required to publish the report as part of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

FDA

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 35 other attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of brand-name Suboxone. It's a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction by easing addiction cravings.

The suit claims the companies tried to block generic competitors, leading to artificially high prices.

Public universities continue to struggle with budgeting due to uncertainty in Springfield, Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker told a town hall meeting Thursday. He says the stopgap and partial-year budget measures aren’t enough. His suggestion to lawmakers?

"Why don’t we take the 2017 budget—that half-year budget -- and count it towards ’16 and you give us a full-year budget?," Baker asked. "That’s our story. The odds of that are probably not very high right now.”

CDC

State officials are looking into more than a dozen cases of respiratory illness at a LaSalle Veterans' Home.

Eleven residents tested positive with pneumonia over the past several months. One of the residents also tested positive for Legionnaires' disease. A spokesperson for the Department of Veterans' Affairs says the 97-year-old resident had multiple underlying issues and has since died.

Two other people in LaSalle County tested positive for Legionnaires' disease.

Jessie Schlacks

The University of Chicago received national attention last month after an administrator issued a letter to freshmen telling them that the university will not condone the creation of so-called “safe spaces” where students can retreat from ideas and perspectives “at odds with their own.”

It's a hot-button issue for schools across the nation. 

For their part, Northern Illinois University leaders are looking beyond the confines of the campus to create an environment for people of all backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.

Joiner History Room

  

An Illinois prison inmate says prosecutors broke their promises after he testified in the trial involving the death of Maria Ridulph.

The Sycamore girl was kidnapped in 1957, and her body was found several months later. Jack McCullough was arrested for the death decades later, and his trial was held in DeKalb County in 2012. Earlier this year, a judge vacated McCullough's conviction and freed him from prison.

Susan Stephens

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois claims Rangaswamy Meganathan, who is of Indian national origin, was denied salary increases in-line with similarly situated non-Indian faculty members. 

Court documents allege NIU "willfully and deliberately" subjected Meganathan to discrimination on the basis of his race and national origin since he was hired in 1983.

The lawsuit outlines the starting salaries and off-cycle salary adjustments for many non-Indian faculty members within the Department of Biological Sciences.

Jenna Dooley

Families touched by overdose deaths are encouraged to remember this time of year as a time to break down stigma. Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. In Rockford, families who have lost loved ones to addiction recently gathered to remember them in a symbolic way.

One by one, they dropped single stems of bright red roses into the Rock River.

Nick

Nick Shoudy was 20 years old when he died of an overdose involving Fentanyl. That was six years ago.

done in collaboration with summer 2016 data visualization course, Department of Computer Science, Northern Illinois University (Mohammed Jaffer Ali)

Video gaming machines have been popping up in Illinois bars and restaurants for nearly four years. For the most part, the increase in gaming machines and in revenue across the state has been steady.

Database: Check revenue reports in your community

There are nearly 24,000 video gaming machines in Illinois, and the amount played over the last few years is in the billions of dollars -- with a b. 

Jenna Dooley

Earlier this week, Amy Fontana popped the trunk of her large, red vehicle next to Huntley Middle School. She’s been collecting yard signs that read “We Support Our Teachers.” It was an effort by the DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association to drum up support for a new contract.

She says more than 600 went up around the city.

Negotiations wrapped up with a three year contract.

Fontana, who is a spokesperson for the DCTA, says compromises were made.

DeKalb County officials continue to track West Nile Virus in birds and bugs.

The county currently has four mosquito traps that are monitored weekly. A recent batch near Genoa tested positive for West Nile Virus. Greg Maurice is the Director of Health Protection. He says mosquitos that transmit West Nile Virus prefer hot and dry days. They love stagnant water, and their parting gift can leave you feeling pretty woozy, but is rarely fatal.

"EpiPen Auto Injector" / Greg Friese (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2aJllxj

A new law in Illinois could put a life-saving tool in the hands of police officers.

Illinois State Police go through annual first responder training including the use of CPR, overdose reversal drugs, and now epinephrine auto-injectors. Those are used to treat severe allergic reactions.

Master Sergeant Matt Boerwinkle says together these can help officers react before a full medical team can arrive to the scene.

Over the past few months, we've been looking at the toll of addiction in Winnebago County. 

In this installment, we hear portions of a conversation between two women affected by it within their immediate family. Bonnie Falzone-Capriola lost her son, Barry, five years ago due to an overdose.

But first, you'll hear from a Rockford woman named Shannon who is raising a young child as her husband currently struggles with addiction. 

Jenna Dooley

The Rockford Police Department is switching to a fully encrypted system for radio transmissions. The changes take effect Monday morning.

Police Chief Daniel O’Shea says the move is meant to stay one step ahead of those who commit crimes.

Jenna Dooley

DeKalb’s Beloved Community holds regular gatherings to talk about a range of topics including race and religion. This month, the group met at Hopkins Park to discuss statistics involving officer-involved shootings. 

Beloved Community of DeKalb

President Barack Obama visited Dallas Tuesday in the aftermath of the killing of five officers protecting a Black Lives Matter protest last week. His comments since the event last Thursday have addressed racial tensions in that city and around the country.

Tackling issues of racial tensions has been part of a community dialog in DeKalb in recent months.

Jenna Dooley

There were many Fourth of July celebrations across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin Monday night.

The DeKalb Municipal Band performed a program called "A Star Spangled Spectacular" in Hopkins Park.  Hundreds of people gathered around the band shell dressed in red, white, and blue.

John Pingo

There’s a summer-camp feel at a northern Illinois center serving adults with developmental disabilities.

On a recent hot day, chickens pecked at a bucket of food mixed with dried worms.

A young woman made excited gestures and echoed the sound of the clucks.

She was led into the coop by Davontay Lewis, a staff member at the Goldie B. Floberg Center in Rockton. The center serves dozens of young adults with developmental disabilities.

A group of northern Illinois home care providers is calling for increased state funding.

Lisa Fambro owns Open Arms Day Care in Rockford. Some of her families receive state subsidies to help pay for childcare. She criticized a change in qualifications last fall for the Child Care Assistance Program which reduced the number of eligible families.

The Streator Elementary District board is considering applying with the state for a waiver to pursue the shortened week.

Officials say it could result in more than $300,000 in savings.

The district faces declining enrollment and financial difficulties.

In fact, the district faces state intervention if it doesn’t resolve its budget issues.

Mike Phillips

Concerned neighbors are waiting for an appellate court decision over a proposed hog farm south of Oglesby. 

 

The group, “Save Our Sandy” is named after a nearby creek to the would-be facility in Wenona. 

 

Jenna Dooley

It was cloudy this weekend, but that didn’t keep pilots from DeKalb's airport on Sunday.

The gathering of aviation enthusiasts was part of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual pancake fly-in at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport.

Tom Burgan is Treasurer with the EAA Chapter 241. He says there are many reasons why he looks forward to the event each year:

Nicole Shenberger

Cornball. Solar Reef. SoyPod. These are just a few of the names of the sculptures around Oregon, Illinois.

An arts group in the city has been behind an effort to produce ten sculptures in ten years. The final piece is ready.

The next jewel in the crown of the Community Art Legacy sculpture trail features John Phelps, the founder of Oregon. 

Jenna Dooley

There have been some alarming statistics about deaths involving drugs in Winnebago County. Those statistics could have been higher were it not for drugs that can save a person who overdoses on opioids. But that is just the beginning of the road to recovery.

Seeking recovery through faith

Jenna Dooley/WNIJ

The Illinois comptroller met with leaders of Rockford-area nonprofit organizations on Wednesday to talk about the state budget impasse and its effect on human services. Leslie Munger says the situation in Springfield is an inherited problem that can't be solved by taxes alone.

“The longer this gridlock continues and the longer this pile of bills becomes, the longer it takes for us to pay all of you the money we owe you,” Munger said. "Those of you who are not covered under any of these court orders, you have been probably waiting since July for payments.”

Jenna Dooley

A northern Illinois food assistance program has been drawing heavily on community donations due to the state’s budget impasse.

Colleen Bredeson is the community outreach coordinator for the Voluntary Action Center in Sycamore, which administers the area Meals on Wheels program.

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