Perspectives Authors

John Kutsch

Oct 25, 2020

John Kutsch is President of Whole World Engineering Consultancy and is the Executive Director of the Thorium Energy Alliance.

He advocates for Advanced Manufacturing, Critical Materials Production, Generation 4 Nuclear and the use of Thorium for Medicine, Alloys, Catalysts, Electronics and Nuclear fuel.

John works with Generation Atomic to involve the public, especially the young, in preserving our nuclear fleet, and advancing the cause of the number one source of carbon free energy on earth.

Natalie Glawe

Oct 21, 2020

Natalie Glawe is a senior at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, IL. While she is interested in physics and passionate about her education, she also loves to have fun with friends and family.

She is a member of Lyons Township’s Varsity track team and cheerleading squad. She is also a leader of Operation Snowball -- a biannual retreat that fosters community building and discussion.


Kay Ostberg

Oct 16, 2020

Kay Ostberg has been an open lesbian since she came out to herself in 1982. She worked for four years in the early ‘90s at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center as Deputy Director. There she helped serve the LGBTQ+ most in need with employment, legal issues, addiction recovery, getting housing off the streets of the city as well as with fun, social, affirming events. She has worked at Highland Community College teaching English and Philosophy for the last twelve years.

Christopher Heimerman

Sep 29, 2020

Christopher Heimerman is an award-winning former newspaper editor and author of the unpublished memoir "40,000 Steps," which centers around his recovery from alcohol addiction and mental illness, as well as marathon running.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he lives in DeKalb with his wife and their twin daughters.

Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @RunTopherRun. 

Ethan McBee

Sep 8, 2020

Ethan McBee teaches English and theatre at Rockford Lutheran High School. After classes he coaches junior high cross country, varsity academic team, and, alongside his incredible wife, heads the theatre program. 

Outside of school Ethan runs the educational YouTube channel Oxford Comma, is working toward his masters degree at Bread Loaf School of English, and is falling in love with the joys of being a new parent. Did he mention how incredible his wife is?

Sharon Nesbit-Davis

Aug 27, 2020
Connie Kuntz

Sharon Nesbit-Davis is a serious artist dabbler: mime artist for thirty years, storyteller for twenty, writer for ten, visual arts for five, and with her husband, George, co-director of StoryVine Theater…soon. 

Sharon's memoir “INTENDED - a Marriage in Black & White" is slated for publication by the end of 2020 (Orange Hat Publishing).

Sharon and her husband recently retired from their “day jobs”: Sharon as Executive Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council; George as Executive Director of Human Services for the City of Rockford.

Lisa Ross

Jul 13, 2020

Lisa Ross has had a passion for the art of cakes and baking for many decades. She currently dedicates her life to creating edible art and baked goods for the masses and trying to figure out cool things to do with the loads of produce her husband hands her from their garden.

She is also an avid lover of music and all the arts. Aside from listening to NPR, flower gazing, baking, and cooking, she lives for summer and spending time with her two exceptional children and the love of her life, aka her husband.

Titus Hou

Jun 23, 2020

Titus Hou is a third-year medical student at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford. He was born and raised in the Chicagoland and is a recent alumnus of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks!).   

Titus is an avid listener of NPR on his drives to and from school and in his free time. He also enjoys working out, playing board games, and staying current in politics and science news.

Sarah Vandermillen

May 29, 2020

Sarah Vandermillen is a current fourth year pharmacy student at University of Illinois Chicago on the Rockford campus.  She has worked in a community pharmacy setting since 2014.

She is very active in her various school organizations such as American Pharmacist Association and Kappa Psi. 

She has a Bachelor of Science in biology from Loras College.

She was born and raised in the Midwest and in her free time enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephew, reading, or binging Netflix.

Patrick Roberts

May 25, 2020

Patrick Roberts is an associate professor in the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations at NIU, where he also serves as Faculty Director of the Blackwell History of American Education Museum.  

He is co-author of the books Turning Points in Curriculum: A Contemporary American Memoir (2nd Ed., Pearson, 2006); Give ‘Em Soul, Richard! Race, Radio, and Rhythm and Blues in Chicago (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story (University of Chicago Press, 2018).  

Sharon Nicola

May 19, 2020

After a nearly 40-year career in school and public libraries, Sharon retired from Southern California to northern Illinois.  Many in the Midwest have asked, “Why?” 

She now lives happily with her rescue dog from Tails in a friendly Sycamore neighborhood and finds small-town life just wonderful! 

Vani Subramony

Apr 17, 2020

  Vani Subramony is a junior at Sycamore High School. She is a voracious trivia nerd with a love for algebra, Harry Potter, and all things music. When not at school, she is singing, playing the piano, spending time with her dog, and reading. 

Joe Rosner

Mar 19, 2020

Joe Rosner is a grouchy US Army Veteran and political independent who leans Republican. 

He lives in rural McHenry County.

Dick Kunnert

Mar 13, 2020

Dick Kunnert is the former facility manager for Singer Mental Health and Developmental Center in Rockford and worked at the center for three decades. He has also served on a long list of boards in the region, offering his expertise in a number of areas, including homelessness, ministry, and mental health.

He has earned recognition for his professional and volunteer efforts both locally and statewide, and was the recipient of Crusader Clinic’s Spirit of Caring award, the Rockford Register Star’s Excalibur award, and Rockford’s “Hero of the Homeless” award, among many others.

Brian Wygant

Feb 25, 2020

Brian Wygant recently left a career in healthcare to work at Camp Kupugani Multicultural Camp in northern Illinois --  and he couldn’t be happier.


Pete Shively

Feb 18, 2020

Pete Shively is a Fellow and Projects Administrator for the Interactivity Foundation. He works closely with the Foundation’s Intellectual Development Committee to coordinate the Foundation’s public discussion efforts, its website, and other developmental programs.

Beloit Memorial High School Students: 2020

Feb 2, 2020
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Back by popular demand! For the second year, we are handing over WNIJ's daily feature "Perspectives" to a smart group of Beloit Memorial High School students. Their teacher Breja Fink uses WNIJ's Perspectives to help teach opinion writing to her A.P. Language and Composition students. They choose a topic, research it, write it in a radio script style, and whittle it down to under 90 seconds. Then WNIJ Perspectives editor Susan Stephens visits their classroom and records them in a makeshift studio (a.k.a. The Storage Room). 

David Jones

Dec 31, 2019

David Jones is a retired Presbyterian (USA) clergyman.

Ordained in 1966, he served churches in Chicago, DeKalb and Des Plaines, Illinois. He was also a short term missionary in South Korea.

He retired in 2005 to Rockford, hometown of his late wife, Linda Huffman. He serves on several church and community boards or committees and makes 2nd 1st Church of Rockford his congregational home.

Francisco Solares-Larrave

Nov 14, 2019

A Guatemalan native, he arrived in the United States in the late eighties on a Fulbright Scholarship to do graduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana. Initially, he planned on staying two years, but now after three decades, he's still in Illinois.

Jodi Ritter

Oct 29, 2019

Jodi Ritter is Program Assistant for a Master's program at a local university.  She is a Rockford native and an avid NPR listener who graduated from NIU with a Master of Public Health in 2016. 

Jodi lives in Rockford with her husband, their young son, two energetic dogs, and two rescue cats.  In her spare time you can find her cooking, reading, spending time with family, and embarking on little adventures.

John Perryman

Sep 26, 2019

Dr. John Perryman is a pediatrician in northern Illinois. After graduating from the University of Michigan Medical School, he completed pediatrics training at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He has been in practice 26 years.

Dr. Perryman is co-president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in northern Illinois and is also a member of the Wisconsin chapter. He has spoken to many groups in the area about American health care and what Medicare for all offers.

Kristi Correa

Sep 16, 2019

Kristi Correa is a leadership trainer for a financial service company based in Elgin, IL.

She and her husband met in Bethesda, MD as hospital corpsmen and moved to Sycamore to raise their family as civilians in 1993.

Kristi enjoys gardening, literature, art, and learning about the world around her. She believes connecting with people builds a foundation for healthy communities, and the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes is the secret to world peace. 

Ross Powell

Sep 10, 2019

Ross Powell has been a professor of geosciences at Northern Illinois University since 1980. He earned a BSc and MSc from Victoria University in New Zealand and a PhD from Ohio State University.

He and his students have conducted scientific research on every continent. His primary research focus has been in the northern and southern polar and high latitudes, where the effects of climate change are being amplified. He also has been on numerous national and international scientific advising and planning committees.

Mary Weaks-Baxter

Aug 15, 2019

Mary Weaks-Baxter is the Andrew Sherratt Professor at Rockford University where she teaches English and serves as Faculty Coordinator of Community-Based Learning, part of the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement.  

Catherine Forslund

Aug 14, 2019

Catherine Forslund is the Isabel Ross Abbott Professor of History and Women’s Studies and chair of the History, Politics, and International Studies department at Rockford University. She is a Chicagoland native who earned her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Greg Alexander

Aug 6, 2019

After 40 years of corporate experience in product and process innovation, continuous improvement and project management, Greg retired in 2017 to start his own consulting business. He has recently taught his 2-day “Foundation Principles of Project Management” course for various clients in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.  

Jim Angel

Jul 30, 2019

Jim Angel served as State Climatologist for Illinois for 34 years, retiring in 2018. His passion for weather and the climate, especially in the Midwest, continues in retirement. He is a member of the Nature Conservancy's Science Advisory Committee. 

Kelly Furr

Jun 28, 2019
Susan Stephens

Kelly Furr is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition, Dietetics & Wellness.  She lives with her family in Plano.     


Irene Rubin

Jun 25, 2019
Irene Rubin

Irene Rubin is an author and retired professor of public administration and political science at Northern Illinois University. 

She lives in DeKalb, where she has taken on the role of community activist. She is fulfilling her mission to help immigrants through her work with Welcoming Western Counties.


Nina Dulabaum

Jun 4, 2019

Nina Dulabaum graduated from Oberlin College, OH, and after serving three years in Berlin as an international community volunteer, earned her M.A. at the Free University Berlin and Ph.D. at the Technical University Berlin, Germany, in Education and Psychology with emphasis on civic engagement.