The Tiny Shop With A National Reputation

Uke-1.jpg

It’s hard to not smile when First Light host Brian O’Keefe thinks of The Ukulele Station, and it was a story that had to be part of the special 100th First Light. In the late summer of 2017 Brian got an e-mail that said a shop in north central Illinois had been recognized as one of the best ukulele stores in the country. That got his attention, and he had to know more

It isn’t hard to get Ukulele Station owner John Meola to play a tune or two

It isn’t hard to get Ukulele Station owner John Meola to play a tune or two

Just a few of the hundreds of ukuleles that are available at the Ukulele Station

Just a few of the hundreds of ukuleles that are available at the Ukulele Station

Bringing In The Whiskey Crop In Dekalb

Whiskey_Acres-1.jpg

Up next, as First Light host Brian O’Keefe remembers the first 100 episodes of the show. When you think of bourbon you might think of Kentucky, but Brian discovered a pretty unique distillery that takes the process from seed to spirit in Dekalb

The view from the combine as Jim Walter harvests the corn that will eventually become bourbon

The view from the combine as Jim Walter harvests the corn that will eventually become bourbon

There's More To Lincoln Park Than Meets The Eye

Northwestern University Art professor Pamela Bannos took people on a tour of the park that was Chicago’s first municipal cemetery.

Northwestern University Art professor Pamela Bannos took people on a tour of the park that was Chicago’s first municipal cemetery.

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. With a full moon illuminating the sky The Chicago History Museum hosted a walking tour of the park last fall and First Light host Brian O’Keefe tagged along

Art professor turned historian Pamela Bannos created a series of markers to tell the park’s story

Art professor turned historian Pamela Bannos created a series of markers to tell the park’s story

The Couch Mausoleum is one of the few visible reminders of Lincoln Park’s past

The Couch Mausoleum is one of the few visible reminders of Lincoln Park’s past

Fermi Lab's Dark Energy Camera

Brenna and Tom standing with the Dark Energy Camera in Chile

Brenna and Tom standing with the Dark Energy Camera in Chile

One of the things First Light host Brian O’Keefe has tried to include in the first 100 episodes of the show is science stories, and the researchers at Fermi Lab have been a great resource. Like the time he sat down with Brenna Flaugher to talk about her amazing camera

Brenna said, even the view looking down from the Dark Energy Camera observatory was pretty spectacular

Brenna said, even the view looking down from the Dark Energy Camera observatory was pretty spectacular

Massive Steam Locomotive Attracts Thousands

Bigboy-2.jpg

The Union Pacific Railroad says more than 45,000 people visited the rail yard in West Chicago last weekend to see the Big Boy. Thousands more lined the tracks as the gigantic locomotive made its way from the far north suburbs to western DuPage County.

Union Pacific’s locomotive 4014, better known as The Big Boy is more than 130 feet long

Union Pacific’s locomotive 4014, better known as The Big Boy is more than 130 feet long

Ed Dickens takes a closer look at the locomotive he helped to restore, and for scale, those wheels are close to five feet in diameter

Ed Dickens takes a closer look at the locomotive he helped to restore, and for scale, those wheels are close to five feet in diameter

Bigboy-4.jpg

Taking The Next Step To The Moon

COD Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto led a discussion of the Apollo 11 mission during a 50th anniversary celebration

COD Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto led a discussion of the Apollo 11 mission during a 50th anniversary celebration

Each month on the first Sunday of the month, College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto joins First Light host Brian O’Keefe for a discussion of space news, discovery, and he offers some advice for backyard astronomers. In July, Joe coordinated a special 50th anniversary celebration of Apollo 11’s mission to the moon. He says the event exceeded expectations

Close to 500 people attended the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration at College of DuPage

Close to 500 people attended the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration at College of DuPage

The Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration at College of DuPage included a display of model rockets

The Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration at College of DuPage included a display of model rockets

Respiratory Patients Create A Beautiful Noise In Central Illinois

Harmonica-2.jpg

This week in the First Light look at stories from around the state, we have a story from central Illinois. Every month, a handful of people gather in Bloomington to make music together. As Illinois Public Radio’s Willis Kern reports, the tunes they produce aren’t headed to the top of the charts, but they are improving lives

Lynn Scott of Bloomington (left) says she enjoys being with others who have breathing problems. Mary Jo Bragg of Lexington (right) attended her second session. (photos courtesy of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center)

Lynn Scott of Bloomington (left) says she enjoys being with others who have breathing problems. Mary Jo Bragg of Lexington (right) attended her second session. (photos courtesy of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center)

100th Anniversary of Deadly Chicago Race Riot

red_drops.jpg

Saturday marked the 100th anniversary of a deadly race riot in Chicago that left nearly 40 people dead. The riot in late July 1919 is documented in a book that came out in the spring of last year. First Light host Brian O’Keefe spoke with author Claire Hartfield about her hope that the book will give a new awareness to an event that has been forgotten by many

Author Claire Hartfield reads from her book ‘A Few Red Drops’

Author Claire Hartfield reads from her book ‘A Few Red Drops’

Sculptures Built One Brick At A Time

lego-1.jpg

In each of the past three years…Morton Arboretum has brought an art exhibit onto the outdoor museum. Giant trolls started to attract big crowds last summer and the wooden sculptures still stand…sit and hide at locations across the Lisle based property. This summer the arboretum brought in another group of sculptures…and these are brightly colored nods to the real world

lego-2.jpg

From Territorial Hub To State Capital To Sleepy Hamlet

kaskaskia_book.jpg

This week…in our look at stories from around the state, we have a story from the state capital, the current state capital. Historians David MacDonald and Raine Waters took a fresh look at the story of the state’s first capital city in a new book called “Kaskaskia: The Lost Capital of Illinois.” They put together what they say is a comprehensive account of the town including tales of a centuries-old curse. Illinois Public Radio’s Sam Dunklau talked with the authors about a town that went from being a bustling territorial hub to a virtual ghost town.

The first Illinois Assembly met in this building in Kaskaskia

The first Illinois Assembly met in this building in Kaskaskia

Goat Yoga Arrives In Elgin

Kerrs_logo.jpg

Travel to any community in the region and you’ll find any number of yoga studios. The practice has become more and more common, with a variety of styles available. One style of yoga has seen a surge in popularity in the past couple of years; and it’s that style that took First Light host Brian O’Keefe to Elgin earlier this week

Yoga instructor Danielle Kerr and one of the goats that takes part in ‘Goat Yoga”

Yoga instructor Danielle Kerr and one of the goats that takes part in ‘Goat Yoga”

Goat-3.jpg
A portion of the herd of goats that take part in yoga classes every Friday and Saturday at Goat Yoga Chicago

A portion of the herd of goats that take part in yoga classes every Friday and Saturday at Goat Yoga Chicago

Rodeo For A Cause

A summer tradition continues this week in Wheaton. The DuPage County Fair opens the gates at the Fairgrounds on Manchester Road on Wednesday. Over its five day run, the fair will include many of the events people have come to expect, and some new additions. A Wheaton resident is putting a new twist on what has been a staple of the Fair’s more than 60 year run. First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with Justin Burau about his rodeo debut

Wheaton’s Justin Burau will ride in the DuPage County Fair rodeo to raise awareness and month for brain cancer research and awareness

Wheaton’s Justin Burau will ride in the DuPage County Fair rodeo to raise awareness and month for brain cancer research and awareness

Garden Maintenance During The Heat of Summer

richard.jpg

Every few weeks at First Light University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O’Keefe get together for ‘Farm to Table’. They discuss everything from agriculture and agri-business to your back yard garden and home landscape. For this month’s segment Brian met Richard inside one of the greenhouses at Shady Hill Garden, and they talked about maintaining and even enhancing ornamental plantings during the warmest months of the year

Escape The Heat At A Central IL Snowmobile Museum

A model T conversion created one of the first snow mobiles

A model T conversion created one of the first snow mobiles

This week in our look at stories from around the state, let’s take a break from the heat. Russel "Huck" Willis has been riding snowmobiles for 40 years...and he’s been collecting them for nearly that long. Illinois Public Radio’s Charlie Schlenker visited Willis’ antique snowmobile museum in the Tazewell County. Willis says the pursuit of old machines accelerated when he became aware of the Antique Snowmobile Club of America

Russel "Huck" Willis will be hosting the annual summer meeting of the Snowmobile Club of America at his museum in Hopedale, Illinois. (photos courtesy of Charlie Schlenker/WGLT)

Russel "Huck" Willis will be hosting the annual summer meeting of the Snowmobile Club of America at his museum in Hopedale, Illinois. (photos courtesy of Charlie Schlenker/WGLT)

Summer's Colorful Garden Visitors

butterfly-3.jpg

Periodically at First Light, First Light host Brian O’Keefe likes to get out of the office and go ‘Into the Woods’ with show friends at the DuPage Forest Preserve District. With this week’s blistering heat and humidity, instead of actually going into the woods, Brian met up with Dupage Forest Preserve District naturalist Stephanie Touzalin at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn

the orange and black Viceroy is Frequently confused with Monarch butterfly, both are common to Dupage county

the orange and black Viceroy is Frequently confused with Monarch butterfly, both are common to Dupage county

Amusement Parks of The Chicago Area's Past

Wonder-3.jpg

For many families, summer isn’t complete until there’s a trip to an amusement park. This summer the Elmhurst History Museum is celebrating that tradition, with a local focus. First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited the museum’s Worlds of Wonder exhibit earlier this year.

Wonder-1.jpg
Wonder-2.jpg

Exploring The Trend In Illinois Inmate Numbers

prison_puzzle.jpg

This week in our look at stories from around the state we have a story from the Illinois Public Radio capital bureau. For decades, the number of men and women in the state’s prisons appeared destined for permanent growth. Then, several years ago, the population began getting smaller. Today, it’s more than 20% below the high-water mark. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey looks at what’s behind the trend

The Illinois prison population from 1975 to the present. The population number is based on the final day of each year listed. (Brian Mackey/WUIS)

The Illinois prison population from 1975 to the present. The population number is based on the final day of each year listed. (Brian Mackey/WUIS)

Illinois Adventures: The Eternal Indian

While Lorado Taft’s "Eternal Indian” is currently wrapped in plastic awaiting repair a team of leaders in Oregon, IL hope to restore it to the splendor in this photo (photo courtesy of Blackhawk Restoration Team)

While Lorado Taft’s "Eternal Indian” is currently wrapped in plastic awaiting repair a team of leaders in Oregon, IL hope to restore it to the splendor in this photo (photo courtesy of Blackhawk Restoration Team)

Periodically over the spring and summer, First Light host Brian O’Keefe has hit the road to visit some of the region’s great road side attractions. The road trip vacation distractions came into their heyday before the arrival of the interstate highways, and they’re still out there ready to break up a long drive. For this Illinois Adventure, Brian went to learn more about what may be the state’s original roadside attraction

A kiosk at the Eternal Indian statue site tells the story of the concrete statue, its designer, and the people that made it possible

A kiosk at the Eternal Indian statue site tells the story of the concrete statue, its designer, and the people that made it possible

The Eternal Indian statue is wrapped in plastic awaiting a complete restoration project

The Eternal Indian statue is wrapped in plastic awaiting a complete restoration project

The Eternal Indian has enjoyed this incredible view of the Rock River Valley for nearly 110 years

The Eternal Indian has enjoyed this incredible view of the Rock River Valley for nearly 110 years

Celebrating Apollo 11's 50th Anniversary

COD Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto

COD Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto

It’s the first Sunday of the month, and that means it’s time for College of DuPage Astronomy professor Joe DalSanto’s regular visit to First Light. He and First Light host Brian O’Keefe get together to talk about space news and backyard astronomy. This month marks a significant bench mark for the U-S Space program, July 20th is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s arrival at Tranquility base and man’s first steps on the moon.

apollo-americanflag.jpg