Jenna Dooley

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield.  For 2012, she was named "Newsfinder of the Year" by the Illinois Associated Press. She is also recipient of the 2014 Donald R. Grubb NIU Journalism Alumni Award. She is not afraid to brag at parties that she has met Carl Kasell, Ira Glass, and Garrison Keillor (and has pictures to prove it!) She is the former Recording Secretary for the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.

The College of DuPage is the state’s largest community college. 

It serves more than 28,000 students. 

But it has been a tumultuous year for the school.

Trustees voted in the fall to fire President Robert Breuder. He has since filed a lawsuit citing wrongful termination.

This month, Board of Trustees Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton abruptly resigned her post.

Rockford is the first community to effectively end homelessness among its veteran population as part of a national effort called Zero: 2016. Dozens of communities are participating in the campaign.

Beth Sandor, director of the Zero: 2016 Movement, said, “Rockford had to demonstrate that it was able to house more veterans every month than were homeless in the community.”

To date, Rockford has housed 73 veterans.

A Freeport man will bring Abe Lincoln to life Thursday to deliver the Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. George Buss assumes the role after Jim Getty portrayed the 16th President for four decades. Getty died in September.

Lincoln delivered the address on Nov. 19, 1863.

The address will be read live on YouTube; the ceremony to commemorate the 152nd anniversary of the Gettysburg Address begins at 9 a.m (central)

University of Illinois trustees are scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution urging state lawmakers to agree on a budget. The impasse has been weighing on the minds of many public university leaders. 

The U of I resolution says the university has taken steps to cut spending but has had to dip into cash reserves. Illinois has been without a budget since July. Students across the state are also worried about how the impasse affects MAP grants to help pay for college.

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker says he has made several trips to Springfield...

University of Illinois trustees are scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution urging state lawmakers to agree on a budget. The impasse has been weighing on the minds of many public university leaders.

Illinois has been without a budget since July, putting pressure on the state's universities to dip into cash reserves. It also worries students who rely on MAP grants.

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker says he has made several trips to Springfield, and joins other university leaders in keeping a close eye on lawmakers and the governor.

President Obama last week rejected a permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed pipeline would have carried oil from Canadian tar sands.  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says it's time to look for alternative sources of energy.

Illinois’ budget impasse is getting the attention of more and more students at Northern Illinois University.  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visits DeKalb tonight to speak to members of the County’s Economic Development Corporation.

Northern Illinois University Police concluded their investigation into the death of Oluwarotimi "Timi" Okedina, who died Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, after falling from a window in the Stevenson Towers residence hall complex.

A northern Illinois congressman is NOT throwing his name into consideration for the Speaker of the House, but he does have a few suggestions. Republican Representative Randy Hultgren says before his colleagues pick a leader, they need to be “leadable.”

Northern Illinois farmers are expected to become more active in the coming weeks for the fall harvest.  Within the past few weeks, a new corn disease popped up in Indiana and now several counties in northern Illinois. It’s called “tar spot,” and appears as small, bumpy spots on the leaves of the corn.

U.S. Marshals continue to search for assets of Dixon’s ex-comptroller Rita Crundwell. Those include winnings from horses she once owned and bred.

In 2012, Crundwell pleaded guilty to wire fraud, embezzling $53,740,394 from the city of Dixon.

“The Embezzler” and “She’s A Fancy Felon” are just a few of the horses named in an appendix of documents filed this week in the Northern District of Illinois court.  According to Jason Wojdylo, with the U.S. Marshals Service, the motion is specific to royalties that are due and payable to Crundwell for horses she once bred.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Illinois health officials say suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the state for young adults 15 to 34 years of age.

Northern Illinois University political science major Lisa Holland says those numbers are the reason members of the school’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega have been advertising free hugs in the MLK Commons, an area with high student foot traffic.  

Illinois Democrats and Governor Bruce Rauner remain at a standstill over a new state budget. On Monday, the Governor tweaked a property tax freeze proposal to include increased state funding for struggling schools. Jenna Dooley has more on how the plan could affect homeowners:

July is the Month of Pluto in a northern Illinois city.

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft is expected to pass Pluto at its closest point next week. The spacecraft contains the ashes of Streator native, Clyde Tombaugh. He discovered Pluto in 1930. Ed Brozak is with the Streator tourism board. He says several events this weekend will bring residents closer to the action in space, including an observation night near the farm where Tombaugh first learned about telescopes.

There’s activity at a long-dormant prison in northwest Illinois. Residents in Thomson have lived more than a decade in limbo waiting for it to open. Now, it’s time.

Ready for Change

At a recent prayer service in Thomson, longtime resident Arlene Eslinger says she has a lot on her heart these days. She says residents are getting older. People want change, but Eslinger fears Thomson isn’t prepared for an influx of prison workers and their families.

Ready for Change

At a recent prayer service in Thomson, longtime resident Arlene Eslinger says she has a lot on her heart these days. She says residents are getting older. People want change, but Eslinger fears Thomson isn’t prepared for an influx of prison workers and their families.

There will be no jail time for nearly two dozen former Northern Illinois University fraternity members associated with an unsanctioned party where a pledge died.

It’s been one week since tornadoes ripped through northern Illinois, killing two people.  IPR’s Jenna Dooley went back to the scene to learn more about recovery efforts:


WNIJ

Meteorologists have more information about the deadly tornadoes that passed through Illinois last week. The national weather service confirmed there were nine tornadoes across Illinois on Thursday night. 

This week's inauguration of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner marks a change in leadership for lawmakers and employees at state agencies. But it's also a big transition for people who will deal with the new governor in a very different capacity over the next four years: political cartoonists.

Scott Stantis draws political cartoons for the Chicago Tribune. He says Bruce Rauner has very identifiable features.

Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner kicked off a statewide tour Friday. He made a stop in several small communities including Chillicothe.

Educators at Kishwaukee College could go on strike next week.

The Kishwaukee College Education Association recently filed an intent to strike. The action allows faculty to walk off the job as early as Jan. 16th if they do not reach a contract agreement with school administrators.  The filing with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board does not guarantee the faculty will strike, but it gives them the option.

Classes are still expected to start next Monday.

Education Association President Matt Read says both sides will also meet with a mediator on that day.

ilga.gov

Illinois lawmakers are due back in Springfield later this week. Outgoing Governor Pat Quinn called a special session on Jan. 8 to discuss an election to replace late comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

The archery season for deer and turkey continues into mid-January for some counties.  

Since 1999, Illinois state parks where hunting is available have opened their gates to people with disabilities.

Fracking.

You know it's controversial, but why that's the case may not be something that you can explain easily at a dinner party.

Besides, this is the Midwest. Isn't it a bigger deal out West?

Not exactly.  Illinois regulators and activists have been agonizing over state fracking rules because there's money to made underneath the ground in southern parts of the state ... and there are environmental concerns.

The Illinois cell phone ban for drivers is nearly a year old, and it is proving quite profitable for the state's coffers.

From January 2014 through November 2014, the Illinois Secretary of State's office says there were more than 30,000 first offenses. At $75 a pop, that means drivers forked over more than $2.3 million so far this year.

Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) insists the law wasn't put it place for the money.

Exelon

Rumblings continue about possible closures of several nuclear power stations in Illinois. 

A Chicago labor group held a news conference Monday afternoon to speak out about unsafe working conditions at Rochelle's Nippon Sharyo plant.  The Chicago Federation of Labor and the group Jobs to Move America point to two recent complaints filed with OSHA.

The 17th Congressional District will stay in Democratic hands.

The district covers urban and rural areas of the Quad-Cities, Peoria, and portions of Rockford.

Bustos told supporters she and Schilling had a different vision and values, but credited him with running a campaign with passion and spirit.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ/Illinois Public Radio

Rochelle's location near several major interstates makes it easy for commuters to get to and from work. In the second of two reports, we hear from commuters who have decided not to make the move to the city where they work.

Each workday, Tim Swanberg pulls into a paved spot near Nancy Dobbel's Sycamore home at just before 7 a.m. Nancy greets him, and they both don crisp Nippon Sharyo shirts. The third member of their regular carpool is Cindy Blanchard of Cortland.

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