Remembering Chicago's Forgotten History

 Author and Historian Richard Lindberg spoke recently at the Naper Settlement, Naperville’s history park

Author and Historian Richard Lindberg spoke recently at the Naper Settlement, Naperville’s history park

In any discussion of history, there are common themes that emerge. Whether it’s the global events preceding World War I, or stories of the Boston Tea-Party in an American History class. Maybe more interesting than those frequently shared historical events are the little known sometimes forgotten stories from our collective past. That’s the ground Richard Linberg hopes to cover with his upcoming book “Tales of Forgotten Chicago.” First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked about the project with Lindberg.

Center Works To Increase Fresh Water Mussels

 The Urban Stream Research Center is located just inside the south entrance of Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

The Urban Stream Research Center is located just inside the south entrance of Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

Just inside the south entrance of the Blackwell Forest Preserve is a small brick building that is doing some remarkable work. The Urban Stream Research Center is in its sixth year of operation, but many people have little or no idea of what goes on in the mysterious little building. Aquatic Research Center Coordinator Jessi DeMartini hopes the recent open house at the Urban Stream Research Center will answer some of those questions. Jessi walked First Light host Brian O’Keefe into the center’s lab and explained what she at the other staffers hope to accomplish.

 Tiny fresh water mussels are raised in tanks before being transferred to larger tanks where they grow to maturity.

Tiny fresh water mussels are raised in tanks before being transferred to larger tanks where they grow to maturity.

 Groups of fresh water mussels are raised and allowed to grow at the Urban Stream Research Center before eventually being released into area rivers and streams

Groups of fresh water mussels are raised and allowed to grow at the Urban Stream Research Center before eventually being released into area rivers and streams

 Tanks hold non-game fish from local rivers and streams. Mussels have a parasitic relationship with the fish that is a key part of the mollusk’s reproductive process

Tanks hold non-game fish from local rivers and streams. Mussels have a parasitic relationship with the fish that is a key part of the mollusk’s reproductive process

Empowering Educator To Help Students With Autism To Succeed

duggan-2.jpg

Eight years ago, Dr. Michael Duggan created a first of its kind program at College of DuPage. AutisAmerica is a social club for students and others on the autism spectrum. What started as a group of about two dozen people has grown over the years, at the group’s last meeting there were more than 100 people in attendance. Duggan has taken that experience and others as a counselor at College of DuPage to write a book. Duggan and First Light host Brian O’Keefe sat down recently to discuss ‘First Class Support for Young Adults In The Autism Spectrum, A Practical Guide for College Educators and Counselors’

Dugan-1.jpg

Recording Industry Is Thriving In Central Illinois

This week in the First Light look around the state, this story from central Illinois. Music industry experts have predicted the demise of the traditional recording studio for nearly 20 years. The price of recording software and technology has fallen; and anyone with expertise or ambition can record music at home. The truth is, independent, professional recording studios are thriving even in Bloomington-Normal. Illinois Public Radio’s Jon Norton has that story

 Erik Nelson at Eclipse Studios in Bloomington-Normal (photo courtesy of Jeff Smudde/WGLT)

Erik Nelson at Eclipse Studios in Bloomington-Normal
(photo courtesy of Jeff Smudde/WGLT)

Going Behind The Stone Walls of The Joliet Prison

 The Administration Building of the now shuttered Joliet Prison

The Administration Building of the now shuttered Joliet Prison

The idea of being locked-up in an Illinois prison is the stuff of nightmares for most people. Now people are choosing to walk through the gates and behind the walls of one of the state’s most notorious prisons. For some it’s an opportunity to answer a lifelong curiosity, others want to see the location for Hollywood blockbusters, and for some, it’s about closure. First Light host Brian O’Keefe went inside the prison The Blues Brothers made famous.

 The Joliet Area Historical Museum is taking people inside castle like stone walls of the Joliet Prison

The Joliet Area Historical Museum is taking people inside castle like stone walls of the Joliet Prison

 Paint hangs in sheets in the now vacant cell block of the old Joliet Prison

Paint hangs in sheets in the now vacant cell block of the old Joliet Prison

 One of the original cells was preserved during a renovation during the 1950s. The 7x4 foot cell is smaller than closets in many homes had no running water and held two inmates.

One of the original cells was preserved during a renovation during the 1950s. The 7x4 foot cell is smaller than closets in many homes had no running water and held two inmates.

 Graffiti artists painted a massive mural Inside the dining hall at the old Joliet Prison, plans are to eliminate most of the graffiti, but some work, like this one, will remain

Graffiti artists painted a massive mural Inside the dining hall at the old Joliet Prison, plans are to eliminate most of the graffiti, but some work, like this one, will remain

Finding Food In The Prairies, Savannahs, and Woodlands

 Participatory Ecologist Michael Swierz encourages people to connect with nature in a variety of ways including by foraging for food

Participatory Ecologist Michael Swierz encourages people to connect with nature in a variety of ways including by foraging for food

As the weather cools and leaves begin to change color, more and more crops are ready for harvest. This week at College of DuPage participatory ecologist Michael Swierz visited with students and community members to discuss a growing interest in foraging. That’s the practice of searching for and collecting wild food resources. First Light host Brian O’Keefe met with Michael Swierz on the edge of the Russell Kirt Prairie, a prairie restoration project in the center of the Glen Ellyn campus.

The Long Distance, Multi-Generational Migration of Monarch Butterflies

Periodically at First Light, host Brian O’Keefe takes listeners ‘Into the Woods’ with our friends from the DuPage Forest Preserve District. Recently, Brian stopped by the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn and met up with naturalist Stephanie Touzalin for a discussion about an amazing annual migration.

 With cooler weather just around the corner, Monarch butterflies in the upper Midwest are fueling up for their trip to central Mexico

With cooler weather just around the corner, Monarch butterflies in the upper Midwest are fueling up for their trip to central Mexico

Photographing Forgotonia

 Photographer Bruce Morton has compiled three books that chronicle the life and beauty of the 16 far western Illinois counties that are sometimes referred to as ‘Forgotonia’ (photo courtesy of Rich Egger)

Photographer Bruce Morton has compiled three books that chronicle the life and beauty of the 16 far western Illinois counties that are sometimes referred to as ‘Forgotonia’
(photo courtesy of Rich Egger)

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we have a story from the farthest west region of the state. A 16 county region of western Illinois is nicknamed Forgottonia. That’s also the name of a trilogy of photography books that document life in the region. Illinois Public Radio’s Rich Egger talked to the photographer about the project and has this story

Forgotonia.jpeg

The Aurora Regional Fire Museum Celebrates 50 Years

Fire-2.jpg

In just a few weeks, Chicago marks the anniversary of the event that literally wiped the city’s slate clean; and made possible much of the architecture that is celebrated today. The Great Chicago Fire began on October 8th of 1871 and continued to burn until the 10th. Stories connected to the fire reach far beyond the city to places you might never expect. First Light host Brian O'Keefe found a connection to the Great Chicago Fire when he visited the Aurora Regional Fire Museum.

 One of the early engines on display at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum   

One of the early engines on display at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum

 

 The distinctive green dome and keyhole windows are signature features of the one time firehouse that now serves as the home for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (image courtesy of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum)

The distinctive green dome and keyhole windows are signature features of the one time firehouse that now serves as the home for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (image courtesy of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum)

 Walking into the main gallery of the Aurora regional Fire Museum

Walking into the main gallery of the Aurora regional Fire Museum

Harvesting Every Day At Klein's Farm

 Farmer Matt Klein (left) and University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (right) inspect a pair of "sugar cube" melons picked from one of Matt's fields

Farmer Matt Klein (left) and University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (right) inspect a pair of "sugar cube" melons picked from one of Matt's fields

Every few weeks at First Light, University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O'Keefe get together to discuss the state’s largest industry, agriculture. One of the fastest growing segments of the sector is farms that grow what the state has designated as specialty crops. For this ‘Farm to Table’ segment Richard and Brian visited one of those farms and the farmer that owns the operation in Kane County

Remembering The Crash of Air Illinois Flight 710

air_illinois_710.jpg

This week in our look at stories from around the state, a story from Springfield and Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford. If you’ve been around the state for a while you might remember a small commuter airline service called Air Illinois. It flew to airports from Chicago to small cities until 1983. Flight 710 left Springfield, quickly ran into trouble and crashed about a half hour later in a southern Illinois farm field. Bruce Rushton is a staff writer with the Illinois Times newspaper. He wrote about the crash and talked about it recently Sean Crawford

Chicago Architecture Center Ready To Welcome Visitors

 Chicago Architecture Center President and CEO Lynn Osmond tells supporters opening the new facility is a dream come true. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) and Architect Gordon Gill (right) joined Osmond for this week's ribbon cutting ceremony.

Chicago Architecture Center President and CEO Lynn Osmond tells supporters opening the new facility is a dream come true. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (left) and Architect Gordon Gill (right) joined Osmond for this week's ribbon cutting ceremony.

Whether on a double decker bus, boat, or walking the city’s sidewalks, Chicago’s architectural tours are popular with residents and tourists alike. Now, people interested in building design and history can visit a museum dedicated to the topics. The city’s newest cultural destination, the Chicago Architecture Center officially opened its doors this weekend. First Light host Brian O'Keefe was there for the center's ribbon cutting this week.

 The models in the Chicago Architecture Center Skyscraper Gallery stand in the shadow of some of the city's most recognizable buildings

The models in the Chicago Architecture Center Skyscraper Gallery stand in the shadow of some of the city's most recognizable buildings

CAC-1.jpg

September's Night Sky

Every month, on the first Sunday of the month at First Light, College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins host Brian O'Keefe for a discussion of what you can expect to see in the night sky in the coming month. Joe and Brian also spend some of their time together to discuss discoveries and new developments in the realm of space science

 College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O'Keefe each month to discuss space science and what there is to see in the night sky

College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O'Keefe each month to discuss space science and what there is to see in the night sky

 A Japanese space probe is set to land on the asteroid Itokawa in early October. College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto discusses why this piece of rock could say a lot about the early Solar System.

A Japanese space probe is set to land on the asteroid Itokawa in early October. College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto discusses why this piece of rock could say a lot about the early Solar System.

227th Old Farmer's Almanac Ready To Entertain and Inform

Farmanac.jpg

Over the past 20 years…the media landscape has seen tremendous change…but for nearly 230 years one media outlet has seen very few changes. The latest edition of The Old Farmers Almanac with its highly anticipated winter weather forecast is about to hit the shelf

weather_map.jpg

Remembering The Big Flood of 1993

This week in the First Light look at stories from around the state,  a story from Illinois Public Radio’s Daisy Contreras. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1993. The deluge affected parts of Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. State climatologist, Jim Angel was there as emergency crews worked to hold back the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. He talked with Daisy Contreras about what took place and what ‘The Great Flood of 1993’ suggests about what to expect in the future.

 Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel remembers seeing the 1993 flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel remembers seeing the 1993 flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers

Gray Matters Games On Target For Growth

Some family moments are timeless. Whether it’s the way a Scrabble tile feels between your fingers as you try to maximize points for a five letter word, the joy on the face of a child when they’ve finally wound their way through the twisting, turning, multi-colored trail to reach Candyland, or the satisfaction of collecting the final piece of pie to end a game of Trivial Pursuit. First Light host Brian O'Keefe visited with the Glen Ellyn couple who've turned a love of board games into a growing start-up business.

 Gray Matters Games owners Joe and Lauren Barron do market research by hosting game nights at their Glen Ellyn home. (photo courtesy of Gray Matters Games)

Gray Matters Games owners Joe and Lauren Barron do market research by hosting game nights at their Glen Ellyn home. (photo courtesy of Gray Matters Games)

Ridic-Expo-1.jpg
YouBetcha-1.jpg

Elburn Farm Works To Diversify Regional Tree Inventory

This week, in the ‘Farm to Table’ segment…University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O'Keefe continue a recent visit to Doty Nurseries in Elburn. The nursery is a wholesale tree farm that serves developers, landscapers, and local governments. With ash trees across the region devastated by Emerald Ash Borer there’s been a push to further diversify the area’s tree inventory. Doty Nurseries owners Ken and Ryan Doty gave Richard and Brian a tour of the farm.

 Rows and rows of trees grow at Doty Nurseries in Elburn

Rows and rows of trees grow at Doty Nurseries in Elburn

 University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (left) inspects a sampling with Doty Nurseries owner Ryan Doty, while Ken Doty (right) talks with First Light host Brian O'Keefe

University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel (left) inspects a sampling with Doty Nurseries owner Ryan Doty, while Ken Doty (right) talks with First Light host Brian O'Keefe

Cantigny Reopens Public Gardens

Earlier this summer, Cantigny celebrated the completion of one of the first steps of its ‘Project New Leaf’ with the re-opening of the formal gardens. The gardens were closed to the public since last fall…but now they’ve been freshened up and in some cases redesigned. Before the work was complete, First Light host Brian O'Keefe had a chance to walk through the gardens to get a sense of what’s changed, and what’s still to come.

 Cantigny's Lower Display Garden (photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Cantigny's Lower Display Garden (photo courtesy of Cantigny)

 Cantigny reopened its formal gardens this summer after a months long redesign  (photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Cantigny reopened its formal gardens this summer after a months long redesign
(photo courtesy of Cantigny)

Photographer Helps Shelter Animals Find Homes

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we get a story from an Illinois Public Radio affiliate in western Illinois. A Macomb woman is helping give available shelter animals a home with the click of a shudder. Emily Stieren has the story.

 Photo shoot at the McDonough County Animal Shelter (photo by Emily Stieren)

Photo shoot at the McDonough County Animal Shelter (photo by Emily Stieren)

Geneva Concours d'Elegance To Spotlight Steam Power

 Mike Roach's two Stanley Steamers, the car in the foreground will be at next week's Concours d'Elegance in Geneva

Mike Roach's two Stanley Steamers, the car in the foreground will be at next week's Concours d'Elegance in Geneva

During the summer, communities across the area host cruise nights and car shows. Those shows give car enthusiasts a chance to display their prized classic and modern cars and trucks. While some cruise nights award prizes the competition is secondary, that won’t be the case next weekend in downtown Geneva. The annual Concours d’Elegance is the highest level of competition you’ll at a car show. First Light host Brian O'Keefe visited with Libertyville's Mike Roach. Mike will have a fully restored Stanley Steamer at the Geneva Concours.

 The dashboard, dials, and gauges of a Stanley Steamer is a combination of automobile and steam powered locomotive

The dashboard, dials, and gauges of a Stanley Steamer is a combination of automobile and steam powered locomotive

 Libertville's Mike Roach goes through the process to fire up the boiler and build up enough pressure needed to start his Stanley Steamer

Libertville's Mike Roach goes through the process to fire up the boiler and build up enough pressure needed to start his Stanley Steamer