Northwestern Medicine is implementing new rules at its hospitals and clinics in response to the spread of COVID-19. 

Jenna Dooley

U.S. Senators voted to acquit President Trump on two articles of impeachment. In DeKalb, protesters gathered to voice their concern with the trial itself. 

The intersection known as “Peace Corner” is busy, but not usually this noisy. Protesters scheduled the gathering well before the Senate votes -- knowing the likely outcome of an acquittal.

But David Barrow says the public rally shows that many Americans are not satisfied with how the trial unfolded. Specifically, some calling out the decision not to call witnesses.  

Egyptian Theatre Hard Hat Tours Showcase Renovations

Jan 22, 2020
Jenna Dooley

The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s sparked pharaoh fever in architecture across the country.

One of the nation’s few remaining “Egyptian Theatres” is housed in downtown DeKalb. When it was built during the stock market crash, air conditioning wasn’t included. That’s been a problem ever since, says Executive Director Alex Nerad. He says there was an attempt to turn the building into a parking lot in the 1970s.

Sarah Jesmer

DeKalb’s Mayor says he sees several areas of growth in the city’s future. Jerry Smith delivered the annual address Monday night.

Smith pointed to several new businesses along Sycamore Road. They include a new Aldi grocery store and Planet Fitness gym to fill vacant buildings.

“Some business is growing, and a few go out of business too," Smith noted. "It’s the nature of the beast, my friends. To expect every business to succeed forever is simply unrealistic.” 

Peter Medlin


Every year, the DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project makes 50 bookcases for 50 children, each case complete with a metal plate engraved with the child’s name. 



The project is now in its ninth year. Former DeKalb Mayor John Rey started the effort. And if you ask him where he got the idea? He says he read about it. 



A new training program is designed to help police officers identify and address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The program will focus on helping officers recognize the signs of PTSD, develop resilience, and find sources of peer support. Northern Illinois University Psychology Professor Michelle Lilly will be presenting at the sessions. She said they’re important for addressing a higher rate of suicide among first responders.

“The importance cannot be understated," she said.  "We have a duty I think, as a public, to protect those who are sworn to protect us.”

Li Is A Man On A Mission

Dec 12, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

2016 was a standout year for a lot of people. For Bing Bing Li, it was the year he started walking from Vancouver, British Columbia across North America. 


He said his goal is to walk across every continent in 30 years: “But [not] Australia and Antarctica,” said Li. “There’s barely anybody there, just a few researchers.”



Inside DeKalb County's Unincorporated Apartments

Dec 10, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

This project is done in collaboration with The Northern Star. You can read their reporting on a new solar farm at Suburban Apartments and Estates here. You can also hear about how this collaboration came to be here


Spencer Tritt

DeKalb is a university town. But even growing up in the shadow of Northern Illinois University, that doesn’t mean every student sees themselves as a potential college student.

Advanced Placement classes are one way to make a student feel college-ready. They can also earn actual college credit from them.

DeKalb Residents March For Policing Changes

Nov 11, 2019
Noah Johnson

NIU students and DeKalb community members demanded accountability this Saturday with a protest.  It was a follow up to a controversial arrest this summer.

Chase Cavanaugh

The Gaming Goat store in DeKalb hosted a 24-hour board gaming marathon for charity this weekend.

Kids and adults brought out old classics, like Stratego and Dungeons and Dragons, along with modern hobby games like Settlers of Catan. One group even livestreamed their gaming sessions.

Organizer George Jaros said this fundraiser is part of Extra Life. It's a yearly campaign that raises money for children’s hospitals. He said proceeds from the DeKalb event are headed to a hospital in Chicago.

Chase Cavanaugh

One of the snowiest Halloweens in northern Illinois marks the end of a very wet October.

The weather station at Northern Illinois University measured 1.4 inches of snowfall on Thursday, making it the snowiest Halloween since 1895. David Changnon is the chair of NIU’s Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences.  He says October’s rainfall has been much higher than normal, and it’s much colder than expected.

Chase Cavanaugh

The Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District is responsible for cleaning local sewage in DeKalb and at Northern Illinois University.  A more than $45 million project aims to modernize the plant.

Chase Cavanaugh

When we hear about purifying water in the news, it’s often about what comes out of the tap. But how do we clean it once it’s been used?

Whether it’s from a toilet, sink or bathtub, dirty water eventually makes its way into the local sewer lines.  And those lines, provided they’re in working order, make their way to a water treatment plant.  In the City of DeKalb, that responsibility falls on the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District.

Middle Schoolers Skip Class For The Climate

Sep 20, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

Some middle schoolers in DeKalb walked out of class this morning as part of a global climate strike. They wanted to encourage people to act in response to climate change. 

The voices of around 100 students echoed outside Clinton Rosette Middle School.  Students walked out with handmade signs and chanted about the climate. Many said that social media inspired action.

Ava Jontz is in 7th grade. Jontz said she’s concerned about melting ice caps and wildfires.   

Photo by Spencer Tritt

Illinois’ teacher shortage has only gotten worse over the past few years. The legislature passed measures in the last year meant to help relieve the problem. But, as the academic year begins, school officials still have concerns.

Video posted to Facebook by Alyssa Retuerto

A DeKalb church will host a community meeting to discuss last weekend's arrest of a man that has prompted an investigation into excessive use of force by city and county police officers.

DeKalb Council Tables Appointment Ordinance

Aug 27, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

The City of DeKalb has been in debates over the position of city clerk. They recently held a city council vote that could've changed the job to appointed rather than elected. The council tabled the ordinance (2019-055) that would make the clerk appointed on Monday night. 


Why DeKalb's City Clerk Position Is In Question

Aug 26, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

There’s infighting in DeKalb’s city government. It revolves around the city clerk. What does a city clerk do, how do they do it, and who makes those decisions? Recent unrest took public stage in early June. This isn’t the first time these questions have been debated in DeKalb.  


DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato is wading into the conflict at DeKalb City Hall that is related to the role of the city clerk.

The Daily Chronicle reports Amato sent a letter Friday to the city of DeKalb, saying it is in his reading of state rules that the city should not pass ordinances to make the city clerk an appointed position rather than elected.

Housing Woes: What Does Resolution Look Like?

Aug 2, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

For the last few weeks, we've been looking at housing problems in the DeKalb area. What does resolution look like as the community works to revitalize struggling neighborhoods?


DeKalb community members have been considering housing conditions when some local buildings were damaged during suspected arsons. 


One of these cases occurred at 808 Ridge Drive in early July. 


Fires Spark City Conversation About Local Landlord

Jul 19, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

This is the second in a series of stories looking at housing conditions in northern Illinois. We'll have the next installment Friday, July 26.

Last week, we looked at a new tenants rights group forming in DeKalb County. It was spurred by complaints about one property owner in particular, Hunter Properties. How did Hunter Properties and the City of DeKalb get to this point?

Peter Medlin

The DeKalb Park District and the City of DeKalb are making plans to relocate city hall functions to the Park District's historic downtown property at 164 E. Lincoln Highway. The former Nehring building dates back to 1892 when it was occupied by the DeKalb National Bank and Sheets and Knodle Hardware. It was owned by First National Bank of DeKalb from 1902 to 1966. 

DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas said the move makes financial sense. 

Anderson Mikos Architects

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb could have a new breast health center by the fall.

Officials with Northwestern Medicine say the center is meant to increase breast cancer screening rates in DeKalb County. That rate is 65%, compared to a statewide average of 78%. The center will be a buildout of 6,000 square feet on the hospital office building's first floor.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Office of Tourism, announced several grants designed to increase tourism across the state.  According to a news release, the grants haven’t been awarded since 2015. The office says they will help bolster the state’s tourism industry which generated over $3 billion in tax revenue for state and local communities last year.

Among the recipients:

The Farnsworth House: $10,360

Jenna Dooley

The DeKalb County History Center opens this weekend. It's also the unveiling of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit. 

The Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibit, "Crossroads: Change in Rural America," will be on display May 11-June 22, 2019.

Michelle Donahoe is the Executive Director of the Center. She says it's an opportunity to connect DeKalb County's roots in rural America.

DeKalb County Struggles To Engage Local Voters

Apr 2, 2019
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

DeKalb County had only 24% of its registered voters cast ballots in the 2017 consolidated election. The 2018 general election had 60% voter turnout, a difference of 36% between the two elections.

Oscar Bahena is a resident of Waukegan and a student at Northern Illinois University. Bahena was not aware of this year's consolidated election, and he feels that most of the general public isn't informed enough in local politics.

DeKalb Dog Lovers Rejoice Over Warmer Temperatures

Mar 29, 2019
Andrew Heiserman


Northern Illinois dog lovers are finally able to get their furry friends outside.

Katz Dog Park in DeKalb is open for the season after being closed due to ice and flooding. Dog owners say the winter took its toll mentally and physically.

Kayley Aase and her dog took a recent afternoon to enjoy being outside again.

"It's amazing for the fact that my dogs aren't cooped up at home and they get to run around all the time," Aase said.

Vickie Deku also enjoyed the dog park opening.

Annie Glidden North - A Changing Neighborhood

Mar 27, 2019

DeKalb's Annie Glidden North neighborhood has long been a hub for student social activities and is home to Northern Illinois University's Greek life community. Years ago, crowds of intermingling students were a common sight along Greek Row; today less so.

Streets that were populated by NIU students are now shared with families from low income neighborhoods. According to Mayor Jerry Smith, this development coincides with a lower student population in general.

Craft Brewing Bubbles Up In Illinois

Mar 15, 2019

The Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers reports Illinois had 54 operating breweries in 2011. By 2017 that number had risen to 200. Reed Sjostrom is co-founder and brewery director of Prairie Street Brewing Company in Rockford. Sjostrom attributes part of craft brewing's popularity to younger drinkers.

"From what I can tell, they are much more apt to buy local, to drink local and support local businesses in general," Sjostrom said.