Fermi Lab Internship Gives Veterans A Hand Up

On the surface, it may seem a little strange for a high level research center to turn to the veteran community as a resource for new workers. For the Batavia based Fermi Lab, it’s been a perfect match. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with a couple of the veterans involved in the Vet-Tech Internship program

 US Navy veteran Frederick Davis went from maintaining diesel engines on a ship to working on particle accelerator components at Fermi thanks to a internship program

US Navy veteran Frederick Davis went from maintaining diesel engines on a ship to working on particle accelerator components at Fermi thanks to a internship program

 Navy veteran Frederick Davis is working on a mechanical engineering degree and getting real world experience at Fermi Lab thanks to the Vet-Tech Internship program

Navy veteran Frederick Davis is working on a mechanical engineering degree and getting real world experience at Fermi Lab thanks to the Vet-Tech Internship program

Symbol of Civic Pride Takes On A New Role

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At nearly 55 years old, an Aurora resident is being pressed into service on this veteran’s day. Andy Aurora traded his signature look for camouflaged fatigues. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked to the people who drafted him into service

 Aurora Andy patches are available for veterans at the Aurora Historical Society gift shop

Aurora Andy patches are available for veterans at the Aurora Historical Society gift shop

 You don’t have to be a veteran to show your civic pride with Aurora Andy

You don’t have to be a veteran to show your civic pride with Aurora Andy

Operation Support Our Troops Serves Active Duty Military & Veterans

 A clear mock-up of an Operation Support Our Troops care package box illustrates just how much the group is able to pack into one cubic foot of space

A clear mock-up of an Operation Support Our Troops care package box illustrates just how much the group is able to pack into one cubic foot of space

The nation pauses today to remember and honor those who have served in the military. Locally, there’s an organization that works to serve veterans and active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines every day of the year. Operation Support Our Troops has an office and warehouse space deep inside a Lisle industrial park. From there, it sends care packages to military members serving overseas. The organization is committed to helping veterans after they leave service. Leon Mangum coordinates an OSOT program to assist veterans who face financial troubles, Sue Liston is the organization’s Administrative Director. First Light host Brian O’Keefe met with Leon and Sue while a group of volunteers packed care-packages and Christmas stockings in the OSOT warehouse

 Eight palates of care packages waiting for pick-up from the Operation Support Our Troops warehouse loading dock

Eight palates of care packages waiting for pick-up from the Operation Support Our Troops warehouse loading dock

 Just a sample of the thank you messages Operation Support Our Troops has received over the past 15 years.

Just a sample of the thank you messages Operation Support Our Troops has received over the past 15 years.

Coffee Connoisseurs Gather In Warrenville

 Hundreds of coffee enthusiasts gathered in Warrenville for Coffee-Con

Hundreds of coffee enthusiasts gathered in Warrenville for Coffee-Con

Even though you got an extra hour of sleep last night, and the sun’s been up for about a half hour, a fresh cup of coffee or tea still sounds like a good idea. While you enjoy it, First Light host Brian O’Keefe takes listeners out to a recent gathering of self-described coffee-nerds

 Coffee-Con founder and creator Kevin Sinnott spoke with attendees about the future of coffee during one of the event’s many seminars and workshops

Coffee-Con founder and creator Kevin Sinnott spoke with attendees about the future of coffee during one of the event’s many seminars and workshops

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The Mission of Two Explorers Comes To an End

Each month, on the first Sunday, College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe for a discussion of what backyard astronomers can expect to see in the night sky. Joe and Brian also take some time to talk about the latest space news.

 The Mars rover Opportunity stopped responding to communication from NASA, a massive dust storm likely coated the rover’s solar panels and ended its ability to generate power

The Mars rover Opportunity stopped responding to communication from NASA, a massive dust storm likely coated the rover’s solar panels and ended its ability to generate power

 The Kepler Space Telescope mission came to an end after nine years of looking for planets outside our solar system

The Kepler Space Telescope mission came to an end after nine years of looking for planets outside our solar system

COD Celebrates Veterans With Annual Read-In

 College of DuPage student and veteran Rich Ryan recounted his memory of service during the 2017 Veterans Day Read-In

College of DuPage student and veteran Rich Ryan recounted his memory of service during the 2017 Veterans Day Read-In

Next Sunday, the nation will remember and honor those who have served; and a week from tomorrow College of DuPage will host what has become a Veteran’s Day tradition. The Veterans Day Read-In invites students, faculty, staff, and community members to read from letters, poems and books that celebrate service. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with COD English Professor Bob Hazard. Hazard is one of the coordinators of the Veteran’s Day Read-In.

 Members of the College of DuPage community listened to readers during the 2017 Veterans Day Read-In

Members of the College of DuPage community listened to readers during the 2017 Veterans Day Read-In

Central Illinois Communities Gather To Mourn And Remember

 Community members read the names of those killed in the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting (photo courtesy of Cindy Le/WGLT)

Community members read the names of those killed in the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting (photo courtesy of Cindy Le/WGLT)

Each week at First Light, host Brian O’Keefe takes some time to check in with our Public Radio sister stations around the state. This week, the Bloomington Normal and Illinois State University communities gathered to mourn and rededicate themselves to good in the wake of last week’s synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh. A Jewish scholar told the crowd of more than 200 they should constantly imagine the world stands equally balanced between good and evil. Any action could be the one to tip the scale towards good. Illinois Public Radio’s Charlie Schlenker put together this audio montage from the vigil.

 More than 200 people gathered for a vigil in Bloomington-Normal to remember and mourn (photo courtesy of Cindy Le/WGLT)

More than 200 people gathered for a vigil in Bloomington-Normal to remember and mourn (photo courtesy of Cindy Le/WGLT)

The Popular Park That Was Chicago's First Municipal Cemetery

 Artist and historian Pamela Bannos led the Chicago History Museums “Garden of The Dead” walking tour through Lincoln Park

Artist and historian Pamela Bannos led the Chicago History Museums “Garden of The Dead” walking tour through Lincoln Park

There’s a little know story about one of Chicago’s favorite parks. It’s a story that is still part of, more specifically just below the surface of Lincoln Park. Earlier this week with a full moon illuminating the sky The Chicago History Museum hosted a walking tour of the park and pulled back the curtain on the story of its past. First Light host Brian O’Keefe took the tour.

 Artist and historian Pamela Bannos installed a series of 10 historic markers in Lincoln Park to tell the story of Chicago’s first municipal cemetery

Artist and historian Pamela Bannos installed a series of 10 historic markers in Lincoln Park to tell the story of Chicago’s first municipal cemetery

 Uncovering the story behind the Couch tomb was the impetus for Pamela Bannos to find the Hidden Truths about Chicago’s Lincoln Park

Uncovering the story behind the Couch tomb was the impetus for Pamela Bannos to find the Hidden Truths about Chicago’s Lincoln Park

Year Round Treats In Downtown Naperville

 Jars and jars of gummi candies at Naper Nuts & Sweets

Jars and jars of gummi candies at Naper Nuts & Sweets

First Light host Brian O’Keefe doesn’t know if they can take a rainbow, wrap it in a sigh, soak it in the sun and make a ruby lemon pie; but for more than 30 years, Naper Nuts and Sweets has worked to make the world taste good.

 Every flavor of jellybean imaginable

Every flavor of jellybean imaginable

 The smell of freshly popped cheese and caramel corn lures people walking down Jefferson Ave. in downtown Naperville

The smell of freshly popped cheese and caramel corn lures people walking down Jefferson Ave. in downtown Naperville

 Naper Nuts & Sweets manager Patty Faye (left) stands with one of the other candy-women at the downtown Naperville store

Naper Nuts & Sweets manager Patty Faye (left) stands with one of the other candy-women at the downtown Naperville store

Johansen Farms And Agritainment In Illinois

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Of course University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O’Keefe had to head out to the pumpkin patch for this Halloween edition of the show. Illinois produces more of the orange gourds than any other state in the country. The seasonal crop has also become the centerpiece of the relatively new sector of the agriculture industry, something Richard calls “agri-tainment.” Richard and Brian stopped by Johannsen Farm in Bolingbrook and sat down with Carol Cremeens before the day’s crowd of pumpkin hunters arrived.

 A banner welcomes pumpkin hunters to the Johansen Farms farm stand in Bolingbrook

A banner welcomes pumpkin hunters to the Johansen Farms farm stand in Bolingbrook

 Plenty of pumpkins waiting to become jack-o-lanterns at Johansen Farms in Bolingbrook

Plenty of pumpkins waiting to become jack-o-lanterns at Johansen Farms in Bolingbrook

Central Illinois Man Hears Dead People

 Eric Vogel says he’s recorded and felt the presence of ghosts, and you can too  (photo courtesy of WGLT/Laura Kennedy)

Eric Vogel says he’s recorded and felt the presence of ghosts, and you can too
(photo courtesy of WGLT/Laura Kennedy)

Each week, First Light brings you stories from around the state, this week a story from Illinois Public Radio’s Laura Kennedy. For one central Illinois man, there’s no need to wait for Halloween, any day can be spooky. He hears dead people; and says you can too. While some people collect stamps, or photograph people, places, and things, Laura says that isn’t the case for Bloomington-Normal’s Eric Vogle

Plan To Bring Tree-Hab To Kane County

 Tree-Hab creator John Gathright brought his idea to the Geneva Natural Resources Committee and the Morton Arboretum this week

Tree-Hab creator John Gathright brought his idea to the Geneva Natural Resources Committee and the Morton Arboretum this week

Do you remember climbing trees? A Kane County group wants to bring an international tree climbing program to the area. John Gathright developed ‘Tree-Hab’ after a successful career in Japanese media. First Light host Brian O’Keefe spoke with Gathright and Geneva Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jay Womack

 Tree-Hab creator John Gathright (left) and First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked in the shade of an oak forest at Fabyan Woods Forest Preserve

Tree-Hab creator John Gathright (left) and First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked in the shade of an oak forest at Fabyan Woods Forest Preserve

COD Hosts Annual Native American Symposium

When you think of native American populations, do you immediately think of rural communities of the country’s first people nations? You might be surprised to learn, there’s a large native population in the Chicago Metro area. This coming week, College of DuPage hosts its annual Native American Symposium. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with COD History professor John Paris. Paris is one of the organizers of the week long celebration of native culture.

 Rapper Tall Paul is among the Native Americans taking part in College of DuPage’s annual Native American Symposium

Rapper Tall Paul is among the Native Americans taking part in College of DuPage’s annual Native American Symposium

Turning The Focus To The Fox

 Conservation Foundation President and CEO Brook McDonald

Conservation Foundation President and CEO Brook McDonald

More than 25 years ago, First Light host Brian O’Keefe and Conservation Foundation President and CEO Brook McDonald paddled a canoe down a stretch of the West Branch of The DuPage River. It was an opportunity to see the effect of an annual clean-up project along county’s namesake stream. Thanks to the DuPage River Sweep, land preservation efforts along the river, and a massive project to restore the natural flow of the stream water quality has been greatly improved. This week, the Naperville based Conservation Foundation kicked off an awareness campaign to address concerns along the Fox River. Brian and Brook didn’t get the canoe back on the water; but they did talk about the new effort

 The dam in St. Charles is one of 19 on the waterway between the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and Ottawa

The dam in St. Charles is one of 19 on the waterway between the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and Ottawa

Living Through Changes On The Farm

 Three generations of Oxley farmers, 87 year old Gary Oxley (center) has been farming in Illinois for more than 70 years.

Three generations of Oxley farmers, 87 year old Gary Oxley (center) has been farming in Illinois for more than 70 years.

This week in our look at stories from around the state, this from Illinois Public Radio’s Jaclyn Driscoll. There have been a lot of changes in agriculture through the years—from the equipment used to the amount of land needed to sustain a livelihood. In this story, Jaclyn learns more about the changes through the eyes of an Illinois man who’s been farming for more than 70 years

25 Years of Wolves Hockey

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The fall and early winter of 1993 was a tough time for sports fans. A players strike meant there wasn’t a World Series; then team owners in the National Hockey League locked players out before the 93-94 season even got started. Locally, there was a bright spot in Rosemont.

 The Chicago Wolves are ready to celebrate 25 years on the ice in Rosemont at the Allstate Arena. (photo courtesy of the Chicago Wolves)

The Chicago Wolves are ready to celebrate 25 years on the ice in Rosemont at the Allstate Arena. (photo courtesy of the Chicago Wolves)

Correcting The Record Through Years of Research

 COD Anthropology instructor Dale Simpson Jr.

COD Anthropology instructor Dale Simpson Jr.

Off the west coast of Chile, far out into the south Pacific, is a speck of an island. Despite its remote location and tiny size, studying Rapa Nui, or Easter Island has been the life work of College of DuPage Anthropolgy instructor Dale f. Simpson Jr. First Light host Brian O’Keefe sat down with Dale to find out what he’s learned about the South Pacific island, its culture and its people.

 The Moai, ancient sculptures on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) served as a genealogical record and a link to the past for the island’s people (Photo courtesy of Dale Simpson Jr.)

The Moai, ancient sculptures on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) served as a genealogical record and a link to the past for the island’s people (Photo courtesy of Dale Simpson Jr.)

Helping Entrepreneurs With A Community Kitchen

 A look inside Freeport’s Pretzel City Kitchens, the community kitchen gives students and start-up businesses access to a full commercial kitchen.

A look inside Freeport’s Pretzel City Kitchens, the community kitchen gives students and start-up businesses access to a full commercial kitchen.

Each week at First Light, First Light host Brian O’Keefe takes a look at stories from around the state and WDCB’s Illinois Public Radio partner stations. This week, IPR’s Guy Stephens looks at how one northern Illinois community is empowering small and start-up businesses. For years, people around Freeport dreamed of creating a commercial-grade kitchen for students and entrepreneurs to share. This year, the dream became a reality.

Illinois Supreme Court Celebrates 200 Years

 Former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Thomas presided over the ribbon cutting of a bicentennial exhibit for the Illinois Judicial branch.

Former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Thomas presided over the ribbon cutting of a bicentennial exhibit for the Illinois Judicial branch.

This is a big year for Illinois. In August of 1818, the state’s founding fathers voted to approve the first Illinois Constitution. The vote created the framework for state government. The bicentennial year has prompted a variety of celebrations, including one at College of DuPage. First Light host Brian O’Keefe was on hand this month for the debut of an exhibit that celebrates 200 years of law in Illinois.

 Visitors can review the Illinois Supreme Court Bicentennial Exhibit at College of DuPage through the end of October

Visitors can review the Illinois Supreme Court Bicentennial Exhibit at College of DuPage through the end of October

 An exhibit of the Illinois Judicial system’s bicentennial debuted at College of DuPage this month, it will travel the state through 2019

An exhibit of the Illinois Judicial system’s bicentennial debuted at College of DuPage this month, it will travel the state through 2019

A Lonely Traveler Cruises Through Our Solar System

Every month here at First Light College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe to let you know what you can see in the night sky in the coming weeks. Joe and Brian also take some time to talk about space science. This month, the Night Sky segment includes a discussion of a lonely traveler, a rock from outside our solar system that was first observed about a year ago

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 An artist rendering of Oumuamua, a visitor to the Solar System, the first object from outside our solar system to be observed and tracked by astronomers (photo courtesy of Space.com)

An artist rendering of Oumuamua, a visitor to the Solar System, the first object from outside our solar system to be observed and tracked by astronomers (photo courtesy of Space.com)