Provided by Christine Swanberg.

Welcome to WNIJ’s Thanksgiving week Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s poem is by Rockford’s first ever poet laureate Christine Swanberg.

Swanberg’s published works span over several decades. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies and journals like Beloit Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, Spoon River and Earth Blessings.

Thanksgiving At Miss Carly's Going Strong

Nov 25, 2020
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

COVID-19 isn’t stopping a northern Illinois homeless outreach shelter from providing a Thanksgiving meal this year. Carly Rice is the founder of Miss Carly’s. Last year, she said they cooked over 50 turkeys.

“We were cooking turkeys for like a week. And it was a frantic frenzy to make sure we had enough plates and forks.”

This year, due to COVID-19, Miss Carly’s plans to pass out Thanksgiving-themed sandwiches with a side of cranberry sauce on the side.

The state’s rolling seven-day average COVID-19 case positivity rate decreased by a half point Tuesday to 10.4 percent as hospitalizations continued to show signs of leveling, but officials urged caution ahead of the holiday weekend.

The 6,134 people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Monday night marked a decrease of 37 from the day prior, while intensive care beds in use for the disease decreased by three from the day prior to 1,203.

Ventilator usage increased to a second-wave high, however, reaching 668, an increase of 34 from the day prior.

The pandemic has caused lost sales in several industries across northern Illinois, but one turkey farmer said sales are on track for his business. He admitted he’s seeing changes in other areas.

Robert Kauffman is the president of Kauffman Turkey Farms in Waterman. He said he wasn’t sure how the pandemic would impact his business. 

“I didn't know what to expect,” he admitted. “But I do know we're doing much more over-the-counter sales right now. More people are coming in buying products.”


Triple-A is expecting the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume with more than 55 million travelers this year. That’s why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois State Police want people to stay safe across the state.

This year, state police issued more than 6-thousand DUI citations and 10-thousand distracted driving citations.

State police are also on heightened alert after the loss of four troopers this year. Three of the deaths involved impaired driving and disobeying the state’s ‘Move Over’ laws.


The Illinois Department of Transportation says it’s stepping up traffic enforcement over the holiday break.  Spokeswoman Jessie Decker says this will take the form of various roadside safety checks.

“About 200 local law enforcement agencies are receiving additional funding for that over the Nov. 16-26 range-- so from Thanksgiving on,” she said.

She also says there are several measures people can take to ensure they have safer journeys on the state’s roadways. 

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Gas prices are on the decline nationally and in Illinois. That's because of less demand and a greater petroleum supply.

Prices are often dictated by demand, and AAA reports there is significantly less at the moment because it’s past the summer driving season. Spokeswoman Beth Mosher explains.

“Well, we’re out of that summer driving season and so naturally there’s less driving that is happening, even as we head into one of the busiest travel days of the year, which is Thanksgiving,” she said.

The Illinois State Police is warning drivers to use extra caution on the roadways this holiday season.

Authorities say they're stepping up enforcement starting Wednesday. They'll have extra officers patrolling Illinois interstates and road side safety checks.

Extra patrols will focus on stopping people who are driving under the influence, speeding or distracted.

Illinois State Police Colonel Tad Willliams says the number one goal over the Thanksgiving weekend is to reduce the number of fatal crashes.

Payton Chung / "O'Hare Concourse C" CC by 2.0

About 500 workers at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago say they'll strike Tuesday, Nov. 29, after the Thanksgiving holiday.  

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Radio

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and your refrigerator is filled with leftovers from the big meal. You might just warm them up and eat them as they are … or you might get a bit creative. 

Jessica Gorin has some suggestions on the topic.

Thanksgiving Origins: From Lincoln To Football

Nov 26, 2015
Flickr user Tim Sackton / "Thanksgiving Turkey [327/366]" (CC v. 2.0)

You may have heard part of the story of the first Thanksgiving. But, according to a northern Illinois historian, you likely haven’t heard the whole story.

If you attended primary school in the U.S., you probably heard the traditional first Thanksgiving story … that native people and European pilgrims sat down together for a large feast and got along just fine for the most part.

Del Monte

Illinois may rank dead last in a number of economic categories, but it ranks much higher in a rather specialized holiday eating measure.

Culinary experts say that 30 million green-bean casseroles will appear on Thanksgiving tables today; and Illinois is ranked 17th among the 50 states for love of the iconic side dish, according to the Del Monte Green Bean Index. 

Illinois State Police

State police are ramping up efforts to keep roadways safe during the busy holiday season.

There have been 821 fatal traffic accidents so far this year. That’s 58 more than this time last year.

Trooper Erin Lanthrop is a safety education officer with the Illinois State Police. She says authorities have placed emphasis on preventing the number from rising.

Area Charity Groups Welcome All For Thanksgiving

Nov 27, 2014
Feed'Em Soup Community Project Facebook Page

If you have nowhere to go for a turkey dinner today, northern Illinois charity groups welcome patrons and volunteers.

Feed ‘Em Soup in DeKalb will welcome anyone looking to help others - not to mention eat with others - this Thanksgiving holiday.

The event today from 5 to 7 p.m. is free and is open to anyone and everyone in the community.

DeKalb resident Noelle Stanbery has been a volunteer at Feed’em Soup for four years. She says the restaurant and soup kitchen feeds about 200 people every Wednesday night.

The Chicago Bears are prepping for their Thanksgiving showdown with the Detroit Lions.

The Bears have won two games in a row -- but quarterback Jay Cutler and the offense struggled last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Cutler says it won’t get any easier against the Lions 3rd-ranked defense.

Flickr user Tim Sackton / "Thanksgiving Turkey [327/366]" (CC v. 2.0)

Families planning a turkey dinner tomorrow should think about food safety. The Illinois health department says it's important to give a frozen turkey enough time to thaw thoroughly before cooking.

Thawing in the refrigerator takes about 24 hours for every four to five pounds and thawing in cold water takes about 30 minutes per pound.

That means a 20- to 24-pound turkey can take five or six days to thaw in the refrigerator. It takes 10 to 12 hours to thaw in cold water.

Area Groups Give Thanks By Giving Food

Nov 21, 2012
photo by Danube66 (Flickr)

Throughout the WNIJ listening area, local organizations and churches will be opening their doors to provide Thanksgiving Dinner to the community.

In DeKalb, the Feed ’em Soup Community Project, an independent organization funded by private citizens and businesses in DeKalb County, will be serving its first community Thanksgiving Dinner.