Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

Some people share their days of old at family gatherings. An organization serving northwest Illinois counties is offering those residents a chance to document this history.

The University of Illinois Extension is offering “Share Your Life Story: A Writing Series” workshops starting this month. Sessions take place in different locations during the spring and fall. 

Karla Belzer is the family life educator with the Extension. She said documenting your own stories is not just for loved ones.

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.”



Guy Stephens/WNIJ

Putting up a mural is often a community event. The art can be a point of pride for residents. But what happens when the paint peels? One city is trying to figure that out.

Early Finding For West Nile Virus In Sterling

Jul 18, 2017

A batch of mosquitoes recently tested positive for West Nile Virus in Whiteside County. Health officials say it’s an early result in the testing season.

Health officials have been testing for West Nile Virus since 2002.

Gene Johnston, Director of Environmental Health at the Whiteside County Health Department, says it’s common to get positive results -- but usually in August or September.

Mayo Clinic News Network

Dr. Richard Ng pleaded guilty in a Federal court in Rockford to illegally dispensing drugs.  

The physician operated the Sauk Medical Clinic in DeKalb and Sterling.  According to plea reports, he dispensed drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine sulfate outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.  Investigators says he provided the drugs to undercover federal agents after a minimal examination, even after hearing from the undercover officers that they were sharing pills.  

Flickr user Lindsey G "Beer Trio Horizontal" CC BY 2.0 /

Sterling officials are working to change the local liquor ordinance regarding special use permits. reports that the local ordinance differs from state law requiring any nonprofits applying for a permit to have been incorporated for at least five years.  Officials agreed to drop the requirement, recognizing it was unfair to newer groups attempting to raise funds.  

Lower ComEd rates have some Sterling residents wondering if they should go off the city’s aggregation plan

Sterling made a three-year deal with MidAmerican Energy in 2014.  At the time, their rates were lower than other companies. reports, however, that this year, ComEd’s rates of 6.3cents per kilowatt/hour is more attractive than MidAmerican’s 7.6 cents to some residents.  

NICIL At Risk Of July 1 Closure

Jun 16, 2016

A northern Illinois social services group is again facing the likelihood of closure -- at least temporarily -- as the result of the Illinois budget impasse. 

The Sterling-based Northern Illinois Center for Independent Living serves clients across five counties, and is obligated by the state to make a good faith effort at fulfilling its contracts. 

NICIL met the obligations by spending its savings over the past fiscal year, but Executive Director Michele Miller says the current fiscal crisis makes that option impossible for the next fiscal year.

Sterling Main Street Has Chance At $25K Prize

May 9, 2016
America's Main Streets / Independent We Stand

Twenty-five thousand dollars – that’s the cash prize one community in the WNIJ listening area could win in a national main street contest.

Sterling is one of three Illinois communities nominated as a quarterfinalist for the “America’s Main Streets” competition. That’s hosted by the small-business and “buy local” movement Independent We Stand.

Hands Across The Rock

Nov 19, 2015
Guy Stephens / WNIJ


Many cities compete with their neighbors to attract business and development.  Some become fierce rivals in what is often perceived to be a zero-sum game.  The leaders of two northern Illinois cities across the Rock River from each other, however, say that’s changing -- at least between their towns.  The mayors of Sterling and Rock Falls feel cooperation and encouragement is the key to both their futures

Convicted murderer Nicholas Sheley has received his second life sentence. Sheley was sentenced Wednesday to natural life in prison without parole for the 2008 murder of 93-year-old Russell Reed of Sterling.

A Sterling man accused of killing eight people in two states in 2008 has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.  Nicholas Sheley was sentenced today for the murder of 65-year-old Ronald Randall of Galesburg.