Susan Stephens

Reporter, All Things Considered Host

Susan’s parents should have known she’d end up in radio: her favorite toys were tape recorders, cameras, notepads, and books. Many years later, she’s an award-winning reporter at her favorite radio station. Formerly WNIJ’s News Director, she asked to return to the role of full-time reporter/anchor/utility player in 2010 (less paperwork, more reporting!). Her #1 goal is to tell the most compelling stories in the fewest words possible…all the better if a little humor can be thrown into the mix.  It should come as no surprise, then, that she can whip up a haiku for any occasion. She also enjoys the Detroit Tigers, learning pioneer skills (Gardening, canning, and the like. Just in case.), traveling with friends, and pretending she’s going to get around to playing her theremin.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A group fighting landfill expansion in DeKalb County is going to take a new approach, pulling township government into the case. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell pleaded "guilty" in federal court Wednesday morning.

professionalauction.com

UPDATE 11/14/12: The trailer/lab equipment auction yielded $56,450. The trailer went for $31,500.

UPDATE: Crundwell changed plea to guilty: see follow-up stories.

Time is running out for anyone interested in getting a deal on a horse hematology lab. The auctioning of former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell’s possessions continues, with a trailer and lab equipment on the on-line block until Wednesday night.

NIU Today

Deputy Police Chief takes the reins

Northern Illinois University has placed its police chief on administrative leave. Chief Donald Grady and Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan are facing disciplinary proceedings by the university. Deputy Chief of Police Darren Mitchell, a member of the NIU Police Department since 2000 who also serves as executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Planning, was named Sunday to take command of the 38-member force until an acting chief is named.

NIU Media Services

Northern Illinois University President John Peters explains his silence on several controversial matters and asks the campus to stick together. 

A DeKalb County judge could decide today whether to proceed with a student’s sexual assault case against a former Northern Illinois University police officer. 

Democrats have retained control of the Illinois legislature. In Rockford, a State Senate seat long-held by a Republican went to a Democrat. And a Winnebago County Republican appointed to a State House seat holds on to it.

Bruscato
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Two contentious races for State’s Attorney were decided Tuesday in Winnebago and DeKalb Counties.

Nicholas Sheley has been found guilty in the murder of a 93-year-old Sterling man. A Whiteside County jury took less than three hours today to convict Sheley of the June 2008 murder of Russell Reed.

NIU Public Safety

DeKalb County’s State’s Attorney is calling for an investigation of Northern Illinois University’s police department. Clay Campbell has asked the State Police to look into the actions of NIU’s Police Chief Donald Grady and his department in regard to a sexual assault case involving an officer last year.

Alcohol may be behind the death of a Northern Illinois University freshman. 19-year-old David Bogenberger was found unresponsive in a bed at a fraternity house this morning. He was pronounced dead half an hour later.

Money has been pouring into one contentious Congressional race in the Chicago suburbs. National SuperPACs are fueling the negative advertising dominating the airwaves in the new 8th district, which covers an area including Schaumburg, Elgin, and Lombard.  Republican Congressman Joe Walsh faces Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi War vet who most recently worked for the Veterans Administration in Washington.

Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato is seeking a second term. The Democrat is being challenged by Republican Glen Weber. Listen to our full interviews with both of the candidates, as they answer questions put to them by WNIJ's Susan Stephens.

Friday was the first court appearance for six of the Northern Illinois University employees accused of theft in a case known as “the coffee fund.”

The Federal Drug Administration has listed 133 medical centers in Illinois and another 81 in Wisconsin as customers of the company linked to a nation-wide outbreak of fungal meningitis

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Fourteen people, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, were arrested Wednesday afternoon after marching onto the grounds of the Sensata Technologies factory in Freeport. They're protesting the company's decision to move 170 jobs from the northwest Illinois city to China.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Reverend Jesse Jackson is the next high-profile activist who plans to visit the northwest Illinois encampment known as “Bainport.” Reverend Al Sharpton spoke to the crowd of protestors based at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds in Freeport Saturday. They’ve pitched their tents across the street from Sensata Technologies, where many of them will see their last day of work two weeks from today.

Susan Stephens

Laurent House Opening Date Set

Good news came in twos today for Rockford's Laurent House, the only home Frank Lloyd Wright designed specifically for wheelchair accessibility. The house has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. And the Laurent House Foundation, the not-for-profit group that purchased the home earlier this year, has announced the date it will open as a museum -- June 8th, 2013, Wright's 146th birthday.

Northern Illinois University’s long-time president is stepping down at the end of the academic year. John Peters made the announcement at his annual State of the University address Thursday. 

flyrfd.com

Plans to offer flights from Rockford to southwest Florida have fallen through. Chicago-Rockford International Airport director Mike Dunn announced Wednesday that after long and intense negotiations, the airport will NOT be able to provide service to Fort Myers this travel season. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

An Illinois judge is citing "safety concerns" in his order keeping Governor Pat Quinn from moving forward with plans to close two Illinois prisons.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Travel down the long dirt driveway leading to WLUV just north of Rockford and you’ll find yourself in a different time and maybe even a different place. Not much has changed at the tiny AM country radio station since it signed on the air 50 years ago this weekend. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A  two-day horse auction in Dixon has netted nearly five million dollars, according to a U.S. Marshals Service representative. More than 300 of Rita Crundwell’s horses were sold Sunday and Monday. The former Dixon comptroller is accused of stealing more than 53-million dollars from the city. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens has more from Monday’s auction at Crundwell’s horse farm.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell now faces more charges related to missing city funds.

Lee County State's Atty. Henry Dixon announced this afternoon that a grand jury has indicted Crundwell on 60 felony theft counts, said to have taken place between January 19, 2010, and April 16, 2012. Each count accuses her of stealing more than $100,000 from the city while serving as comptroller.

kccougars.com

It’s official. The Kane County Cougars are now affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Tonight, the curtain rises on an elaborate production of the Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast Junior” at DeKalb High School. The sets are in place, the costumes are ready, and the 70 actors have been practicing their lines and moves all summer. But this isn’t your typical high school production. This is The Penguin Project

Illinois State Police

Two Rockford parks were closed and three schools were on “soft” lockdown today as police searched for a murder suspect. 

Fire officials say a wildfire in LaSalle County is no longer burning. The situation caused road closures Tuesday and prompted warnings for people with breathing difficulties.

Illinois State Police

Illinois State Police and other police agencies are still looking for 22-year-old Kody R. Walsh of Rockford. He's the suspect in a shooting death inside a vehicle on the Illinois tollway near South Beloit early Sunday morning. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The proposed expansion of the DeKalb County landfill is now in the hands of three appellate court judges.

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