Branch Gardens opens bit of paradise on corner lot in downtown Aurora...

Kori and Brian Kasper took an empty corner at Lake and Benton streets across from the Santori Library and made it a bit of paradise. The Kaspers, both from Wheaton, opened Branch Gardens, 77 S. Lake St., to the public on May 4.     The couple met each other in high school, later became friends, and then got married. Brian studied horticulture and Kori studied fashion design while working in a beauty salon.   Kori said Brian is the brains of Branch Gardens. He also has experience working in other landscaping companies and working on Kasper’s Trees. Kori helped him on the weekends, and she started to get into landscaping when she was 25. She was the one that had given Brian the idea to start and open Branch Gardens after a few comments coming from people who wanted to know if they did gardening. Now at 28, Kori is the one that stays at Branch Gardens, while Brian works at another job. Brian still helps out with anything that Kori needs a hand on, and he is the “tree expert.” She said, he is “(my) go-to in case I need anything.”   This spring, Branch Gardens has perennials, annuals, succulents, cacti, house plants, a new air plant that doesn’t need soil, and more. While Branch Gardens is mainly focused on plants and trees, Kori is selling decor frames for Mother’s Day, and the quaint indoor store has a nice selection of pots, outdoor art, soaps, and miscellaneous garden accessories.   Kori said her inspiration comes from Northwind Perennial Farm that is owned by Roy Diblik and is located in Burlington, Wisconsin. It made her fall in love with landscaping, and giving it a little touch of design to it.   The couple...

Original curator gets a room of his own at fire museum...

History eventually burns out, and it is up to people like Captain Charlie Goodwin to keep it alive. On May 9, Aurora Regional Fire Museum held an event for Goodwin, a former firefighter. Goodwin flew all the way from Denver to Aurora, where he was honored in front of 70 people, as one of the curators of the museum. Not only was Goodwin, 95, honored, but also his wife, Georgia. Georgia took a chance and recorded all of the unique stories that the firemen had lived through. Many of these were recorded since mid 1800s according to an employee of the museum. Goodwin served as the curator of the museum from 1966 to 1982. 2018 marks the 50th year that the Aurora Regional Fire Museum has been open to the public. The museum first opened to the public in October 1968 under the direction of Aurora Fire Department Chief Erwin J. Bauman. The museum was originally located in the basement of Station No. 4 on the city’s east side with the original exhibits researched and curated by the Goodwins. A distant relative of the Goodwins said, “I don’t think she knew how important it was to record all of these stories.” Together they made it possible for the Aurora Regional Fire Museum to be opened to the public on October 1968. The museum honored the couple by officially naming one of the rooms after Charlie and Georgia Goodwin. In this room, many can experience the life of these firefighters, where they are able to “humanize the firefighters,” who are often seen as superheroes.   Aurora Regional Fire Museum is located at 53 N. Broadway. Hours are Thursday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit them on...