Local Historian Dives Into Capra Classic

Historian Leslie Goddard brings her It’s A Wonderful Life presentation to the Benesenville Public Library Sunday 12/16

Historian Leslie Goddard brings her It’s A Wonderful Life presentation to the Benesenville Public Library Sunday 12/16

Throughout the year, you might find Darien based historian Leslie Goddard portraying Eleanor Rooosevelt, Amelia Earhart, or Louisa May Alcott at local libraries or historical societies. For the Christmas season, Goddard developed a different presentation. Instead of focusing on a woman in history; she took a deep dive into a holiday tradition, the movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ First Light host Brian O’Keefe talked with Goddard and she reminded him the movie wasn’t always so universally loved.

Singing Along With Handel

This week in First Light’s look at stories from around the state, the holiday season is a time when many people find their singing voice. Whether it’s caroling with friends and family, singing during a religious service, or in some cases adding their voice to a classical standard. Handel’s oratorio “The Messiah” shows up on concerts regularly this time of year; and some performances call for the audience to join in. Illinois Public Radio’s Guy Stephens has the story

Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus Director Lisa Fredenburgh leads a practice in preparation for the organization’s annual ‘Sing-a-long Messiah’ (photo courtesy of Guy Stephens)

Fox Valley Orchestra Chorus Director Lisa Fredenburgh leads a practice in preparation for the organization’s annual ‘Sing-a-long Messiah’ (photo courtesy of Guy Stephens)

Celebrating The Aviary's Craft Cocktails

Sarah Hemberger, Micah Melton, and Allen Hemberger (left to right) collaborated for more than two years to create “The Aviary Cocktail Book.” The massive book (center) is one part coffee table book, one part cook book.

Sarah Hemberger, Micah Melton, and Allen Hemberger (left to right) collaborated for more than two years to create “The Aviary Cocktail Book.” The massive book (center) is one part coffee table book, one part cook book.

It’s the time of year when many people have friends, family, and neighbors over for a holiday party. A new book from a Chicago husband and wife celebrates The Aviary’s craft cocktails. The mix of coffee table book and cook book might even help you if your festivities include sharing a glass of holiday cheer

Photographer Allen Hemberger made it snow on The Aviary’s holiday cocktail Two Turtledoves

Photographer Allen Hemberger made it snow on The Aviary’s holiday cocktail Two Turtledoves

Even classics like a Gin Martini are highlighted in “The Aviary Cocktail Book”

Even classics like a Gin Martini are highlighted in “The Aviary Cocktail Book”

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A Toy Store That Let's You Try Before You Buy

Moore’s Toys & Gadgets owner Diane Moore opened the specialty toy store as a way to find some fun at work

Moore’s Toys & Gadgets owner Diane Moore opened the specialty toy store as a way to find some fun at work

If you’re looking for an unusual toy, game, or puzzle this holiday season, specialty toy stores are ready to help you check another item off your gift list. There is a wide variety of kid-friendly, family friendly, and even some adult only games at Moore’s Toys and Gadgets in downtown Wheaton. First Light host Brian O’Keefe stopped by the store earlier this week

For more than four years Moore’s Toys & Gadgets has brought fun and games to downtown Wheaton

For more than four years Moore’s Toys & Gadgets has brought fun and games to downtown Wheaton

Rivian Revives Central Illinois Auto Industry

The signature front light bar of the Rivian R1T pickup truck (photo courtesy of Ryan Denham/WGLT)

The signature front light bar of the Rivian R1T pickup truck (photo courtesy of Ryan Denham/WGLT)

This week in First Light’s look at stories from around the state. Another chapter of the state’s automotive history is being written in central Illinois. A few years ago, the electric vehicle company Rivian bought the former Mitsubishi plant in Bloomington with the promise of bringing clean car technology to the prairie. The wait is now over, earlier this month Rivian debuted its first vehicles at the L-A Auto Show. Illinois Public Radio’s Ryan Denham was there and has this story

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe speaks to the crowd  at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Behind him is the R1T pickup truck.   (photo courtesy of Ryan Denham/WGLT)

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe speaks to the crowd at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Behind him is the R1T pickup truck. (photo courtesy of Ryan Denham/WGLT)

Dr. Rondeau Wraps Up COD Tenure

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Just over two and a half years ago, Dr. Ann Rondeau made a stop at WDCB one of the first places she visited after becoming the sixth president of College of DuPage. The end of this month, marks the end of her tenure at COD. She’s leaving to become President of the U.S. Navy Post Graduate College. Before moving on to her next assignment, Dr. Rondeau again talked with First Light host Brian O’Keefe in the WDCB studios to reflect on her time at the Glen Ellyn based community college and to talk about the school’s and her own future.

Insight & The December Night Sky

College of DuPage Astronomy Professor Joe DalSanto

College of DuPage Astronomy Professor Joe DalSanto

Every month on the first Sunday at First Light…College of DuPage Astronomy Joe DalSanto joins me for a discussion of space news and a preview of what backyard astronomers can expect to see in the night sky this month. Last month we talked about a couple of NASA missions that were coming to an end…so of course this month we spent some time talking about a mission that’s just getting underway on the surface of the red planet

One of the first pictures sent back to Earth from the Mars lander Insight

One of the first pictures sent back to Earth from the Mars lander Insight

Monday Marks 200 Years of Statehood

Daniel Pope Cook led the Illinois statehood effort. (photo courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library)

Daniel Pope Cook led the Illinois statehood effort. (photo courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library)

This week in our look at stories from around the state, Illinois Public Radio’s Tara McClellan McAndrew has a story for the entire state. Tomorrow is the state’s 200th birthday. Illinois has grown to become a national force and the powerful center of the Midwestern economy; but there was a time when statehood was far from certain. From Springfield, Tara has the story of a bit of deception was the key to statehood. She talked with Sean Crawford about the story and the trickery.

The First Illinois State Capital was in Kaskaskia (photo courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum)

The First Illinois State Capital was in Kaskaskia (photo courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum)

Local Woodworkers Donate Thousands of Handmade Toys

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A few days before Thanksgiving, some of Santa’s elves gathered at St. James the Apostle church in Glen Ellyn for this year’s wooden toy give away. Members of the DuPage Woodworkers club gave several non-profits more than 2,500 handmade wooden toys. First Light host Brian O’Keefe went to the 2017 giveaway. The charity and dedication of the club and its members quickly made this one of Brian favorite holiday season stories.

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Create Holiday Memories At Abbey Farm

Abbey Farm has thousands of trees ready to be the centerpiece of your holiday decor. You just have to get out there and cut one

Abbey Farm has thousands of trees ready to be the centerpiece of your holiday decor. You just have to get out there and cut one

Heading into the woods with a saw to find the family Christmas tree is as traditional of an American Christmas image as a Norman Rockwell painting. There aren’t many places in the Chicago area where you can cut your own Christmas tree. For this ‘Farm to Table’ segment University of Illinois Extension educator Richard Hentschel and First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited the Abbey Farm at Marmion Academy. It’s one of the places where you can still ‘cut your own’ Christmas tree

Abbey Farm in Aurora has acres and acres of trees at one of the few ‘you cut’ tree farms in the Chicago area.

Abbey Farm in Aurora has acres and acres of trees at one of the few ‘you cut’ tree farms in the Chicago area.

Community Foundations Make The Most Of Philanthropy

Across the country, there are hundreds of locally administered organizations working to maximize philanthropic efforts. This month those groups celebrated Community Foundation week. The DuPage Foundation capped its recognition of the week with its annual gala, The Imagination Ball raised nearly $400-thousand to support educational, arts, and human services programs in the county. First Light host Brian O’Keefe sat down recently with DuPage Foundation CEO Dave McGowan; he says the concept of community foundations has its roots right here in the Midwest

DuPage Foundation CEO Dave McGowan

DuPage Foundation CEO Dave McGowan

Glen Ellyn Couple Rolls The Dice On Board Games

Ridiculous Expositions is the latest game offering from Gray Matters Games

Ridiculous Expositions is the latest game offering from Gray Matters Games

Throughout the holiday season, family, friends, and neighbors will get together. Figuring out how to keep everyone entertained can sometimes be a challenge. A Glen Ellyn couple has a solution…play a game; hopefully one of the games their company Gray Matters Games created. Earlier this year, Joe and Lauren Barron invited First Light host Brian O’Keefe into their home to talk about their games and the resurgence in board games

Gray Matters Games founders Joe & Lauren Barron host games nights each month at their home. It’s part social, part promotion, and part research and development for the company

Gray Matters Games founders Joe & Lauren Barron host games nights each month at their home. It’s part social, part promotion, and part research and development for the company

Encouraging Kids To Explore Art

Kids in Normal’s ‘Art Around You” program not only explore the exhibits at University Galleries, they also get to make some art of their own. (photo courtesy of Laura Kennedy/WGLT)

Kids in Normal’s ‘Art Around You” program not only explore the exhibits at University Galleries, they also get to make some art of their own. (photo courtesy of Laura Kennedy/WGLT)

This week in our look at stories from around the state, we have this story from Illinois Public Radio’s Laura Kennedy. A new grant to the Children's Discovery Museum in Normal lets curators open the doors to let the kids go out and about to find new artistic experiences. The new program is called ‘Art Around You.’ The explorations take children to the University Galleries at Illinois State University where they discover the art on display. Laura Kennedy went along on a recent exploration

“Art Around You’ is a chance to expose children to the various art exhibits on display in and around Normal (photo courtesy of Laura Kennedy/WGLT)

“Art Around You’ is a chance to expose children to the various art exhibits on display in and around Normal (photo courtesy of Laura Kennedy/WGLT)

Looking For Wild Turkeys In DuPage County

DuPage Forest Preserve Senior Ranger David Sima (left) and First Light host Brian O’Keefe went looking for wild turkeys at St. James Farm in west Wheaton

DuPage Forest Preserve Senior Ranger David Sima (left) and First Light host Brian O’Keefe went looking for wild turkeys at St. James Farm in west Wheaton

This week, First Light host Brian O’Keefe went into the woods with DuPage Forest Preserve ranger David Sima. It has become increasingly common over the past 10 to 15 years for people to encounter wild turkeys in a number of forest preserves. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, David and Brian met at the St. James Farm Forest Preserve in west Wheaton in hopes of finding one of the county’s flocks of wild turkeys

There are wild turkeys in the DuPage Forest Preserves, but Forest Preserve Senior Ranger David Sima and First Light host Brian O’Keefe weren’t able to find them

There are wild turkeys in the DuPage Forest Preserves, but Forest Preserve Senior Ranger David Sima and First Light host Brian O’Keefe weren’t able to find them

Empowering Young People With Bikes

West Town Bikes Resource Development Director Garth Katner (left) talks about the program with First Light host Brian O’Keefe

West Town Bikes Resource Development Director Garth Katner (left) talks about the program with First Light host Brian O’Keefe

For all but the most dedicated riders, the arrival of the first snow flurries of the season signal the end of the cycling season. Despite that, a group of Chicago cyclists and philanthropists didn’t let a blast of cold air deter them earlier this week. First Light host Brian O’Keefe visited with them at ‘Bike-citement’

Ulana Coutts is one of the young people to benefit from the West Town Bikes youth training program. Ulana works on bikes at Ciclo Urbano while studying to become a welder

Ulana Coutts is one of the young people to benefit from the West Town Bikes youth training program. Ulana works on bikes at Ciclo Urbano while studying to become a welder

Creating A Centerpiece For Your Thanksgiving Table

College of DuPage Floral Design instructor Denise Walden takes listeners through the steps of creating a festive centerpiece

College of DuPage Floral Design instructor Denise Walden takes listeners through the steps of creating a festive centerpiece

A lot that needs to be done this week to prepare for Thursday’s family feast. Of course there’s the food, preparing the table, and for goodness sake don’t forget to pick up a bag of ice…that was usually First Light host Brian O’Keefe’s Thanksgiving job. If you want to add a personal touch to your table, College of DuPage floral design instructor Denise Walden has a few tips

Rows and rows of poinsettias at the College of DuPage greenhouse are close to being ready for the holiday season

Rows and rows of poinsettias at the College of DuPage greenhouse are close to being ready for the holiday season

Researchers Track Migration Patterns With Bird Banding

This week in our look at stories from around the state…we check in with Illinois Public Radio’s Connie Kuntz in Rockford. 2018 is the Year of the Bird…a year of education and outreach by bird enthusiasts. Bird banding is one way researchers track a bird's migration pattern. It's done by placing a small identification tag on a bird’s leg. Connie followed a Rockford University professor and took part in this seasonal ritual

After having a small identification band placed around its leg, this little bird was sent on its way (photo courtesy of WNIJ/Connie Kuntz)

After having a small identification band placed around its leg, this little bird was sent on its way (photo courtesy of WNIJ/Connie Kuntz)

A very fine ‘mist net’ is used to catch birds. Researchers carefully remove them from the net, band them and release them to continue migration (photo courtesy of WNIJ/Connie Kuntz)

A very fine ‘mist net’ is used to catch birds. Researchers carefully remove them from the net, band them and release them to continue migration (photo courtesy of WNIJ/Connie Kuntz)

A downy woodpecker was among the species caught and banded during a recent migratory bird study near Rockford (photo courtesy of WNIJ/Connie Kuntz)

A downy woodpecker was among the species caught and banded during a recent migratory bird study near Rockford (photo courtesy of WNIJ/Connie Kuntz)

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.