Local Features

Choir Members Find Community in Northwoods Singers

Dec 11, 2014
Submitted photo

If you love to sing with others, where do you go? Church choir perhaps? What if you want to sing more challenging music, or nonreligious music? For some people living throughout the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the U.P., the answer is the Northwoods Singers.

It’s a snowy evening, and about 40 choir members ranging in age from their 40s to 80s are waming up in the Congregational church in Eagle River for their last regular rehearsal of the season. Northwoods Singers co-founder Norma Yaeger said it’s quite a commitment for some of the members to make the drive.

NaNoWriMo Not For the Faint of Heart

Nov 25, 2014
Submitted photo

November is National Novel Writing Month—or NaNoWriMo—the time when people of all ages and walks of life commit themselves to writing a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. WXPR’s Emily Bright sat down with Beckie Jokie, municipal liaison of the Northern Wisconsin chapter.

Beckie Joki is a competitive bass fisherman and a freelance writer living in Woodboro, and the month of November--

"It’s been a little bit busy," she says.

But that’s normal.

Joyce Bong Erickson

Saturday is opening day of Wisconsin’s annual gun deer season.  For many families the hunt is about much more than taking a deer - it’s a time of family bonding, camaraderie and tradition.  In today’s History Afield, Writer Bob Willging has the story of a famous World War II combat pilot, who made deer hunting with his family a priority while home on leave in 1943.

James Lake Cranberry Marsh

Returning to civilian life after military duty can be a shocking adjustment.  WXPR’s Emily Bright talked to one veteran who made that transition and is now doing something that seems totally different, growing cranberries in the Northwoods.

Benjamin Riker served two tours in Kuwait and Iraq with the Wisconsin National Guard. When he returned home in 2009, he finished up his degree in early elementary education. He was married with a young son, and they had to figure out what came next.

Matthew Krusack

The Northwoods is home to its very own children's museum, a place where the interactive exhibits are designed to stimulate children's creativity.  But as WXPR's Emily Bright reports, it takes the efforts and creativity of an entire community to keep it running.

Cindy Thompson gets down on her knees to explain the rules of the Northwoods Children’s Museum to my two-year old.

“Okay my friend, look here. See this red line, and the red light way up high? What does red mean?

A UW Madison researcher says close to forty percent of the state’s lakes could contain invasive species. 

According to the Wisconsin DNR, that figure is currently documented at less than ten percent. 

But Jake Vander Zanden of the UW Madison’s Center for Limnology says his team surveyed a random sample of Wisconsin lakes to estimate how many might be affected by invasive species statewide, and came up with a much higher number. 

Lake Gordon Clear of Yellow Floating Heart

Oct 30, 2014
Submitted photo

It’s been over a year since monitors found Wisconsin’s first inland lake invasion of a plant called yellow floating heart in Forest County. The latest inspection did not reveal any new plants. 

It’s chilly grey day in late October, and it’s the last time this year that Forest County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss will check for yellow floating heart. 

“What I look for is the shape of the leaf.  And when it’s flowering…and the seed pods are kind of tear dropped shape.” 

Cutting Mercury Emissions Likely to Help Loons Reproduce

Oct 23, 2014
Mike Baird via https://flic.kr/p/JAwGP

New state mercury emissions rules for power plants could have significant benefits for loons.

A Northwoods researcher is hoping to quantify those benefits over the next decade. 

Wisconsin DNR Toxicologist Mike Meyer says when loons consume mercury through eating fish, it can inhibit the birds’ reproduction.

Wisconsin Historical Society

It’s duck hunting season in the northwoods and while plenty of artificial decoys will be used by waterfowlers to lure birds within gun range one thing they won’t be using is live decoys.  

  This technique of waterfowl hunting was regulated out of existence in 1935, partly because of the severe drought of the early 1930s that devastated waterfowl populations.  But the practice was once common and even celebrated. 

Landscapes of Light and Dark: Swedish Watercolorist Bjorn Bernstrom

Oct 21, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The watercolor artist Bjorn Bernstrom is well-known in his native Sweden for his landscape paintings.  Yet his style is somewhat different from traditional watercolor methods.   

It’s October when the trees outside are bursting with color, and Bjorn Bernstrom is painting an early autumn scene of a road curving into bright trees. A circle of students watches with rapt attention as he creates the trees with short stabbing motions of his brush. 

“What’s the difference between the way you paint and traditional watercolor technique?" I ask him.

Ed Jacobsen / Northwoods Petroleum Museum

The summer tourism season is over, but for one Northwoods museum, that doesn’t change much.  WXPR Contributor Emily Bright reports on one man’s singular passion for gasoline...that led to an unusual museum.  

The gas station. It’s a familiar place, but when you’re filling your tank, how often do you stop and think about where you are when what you’re doing?

Listen: Kaustinen Fiddlers Play Unique Finnish Style

Oct 9, 2014
Submitted photo

A pair of Finnish musicians are in town and stopped by the studio Wednesday. 

Arto and Antti Jarvela are from the western part of Finland called Kaustinen, which has a well-known fiddling tradition.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with the two cousins about their music.

The Unlikely Pull of the Cranberry

Sep 30, 2014
Andrew Leahy

  My town of Eagle River has a population of 1398. If our town’s population were a year, we’d still be in the Middle Ages. So it’s that much more amazing that every year 40,000 people show up on the first weekend of October for Cranberry Fest. 40,000 people drive across the state and beyond to engage in a frenzy over a little red berry that hardly anyone eats raw.

Fab Lab Debuts in Three Lakes

Sep 17, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Three Lakes School is now home to a Fab Lab.  It’s an educational workshop developed by MIT…that brings high-tech manufacturing and design techniques into the classroom. It’s an initiative that many hope will spur the future of manufacturing in the Northwoods. 

Standing next to a whirring laser cutter, science teacher Al Votis gives a tour of the machines and equipment that make up the Three Lakes School District’s brand new Fab Lab. 

Oneida, Vilas Counties Hotspots for Bald Eagle Recovery

Sep 2, 2014
Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It’s no longer uncommon to see a bald eagle in the Northwoods. 

Oneida and Vilas counties have the highest number of pairs of bald eagles in Wisconsin, according to the most recent DNR survey in 2013.

After disappearing from most areas of the state in the mid-20th century, there are now more than 1300 pairs of eagles in Wisconsin. 

Ron Eckstein, a retired DNR Wildlife Biologist, worked on eagle conservation efforts for more than 25 years.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Eckstein to hear more about bald eagle success story.

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