Local Features

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.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The President of the United States endures a demanding schedule.  But it wasn’t always this way. In today’s History Afield writer Bob Willging tells the story of the summer of 1928 when President Calvin Coolidge moved the center of American politics to the quiet shores of northwest Wisconsin’s most famous of trout waters, the Brule River.

Raising Bigger, Stronger Weevils for a Better Tomorrow

Aug 26, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

As many property owners and lake groups know, Eurasian water milfoil is a problem without a great solution.  It’s an invasive plant that grows in dense mats in lakes throughout Wisconsin.  It can be treated with chemicals to keep the growth down, but that comes with side effects as well as a hefty price tag.  But some researchers think there could be a way to use tiny bugs called milfoil weevils as a biocontrol on some lakes.  But the idea is more complicated than it seems. 

In the U.P., Dreaming Up a Place for Artists

Aug 18, 2014
Ann Sahlstrom

In the small town of Ewen in the Upper Peninsula, a wilderness art camp is well underway.  

It’s called the Visitors Center Artists Camp.  This week about fifteen artists are gathered for the camp’s first run.  They’ll be firing ceramics and pouring metal using simple and sustainable methods, and having an arts festival at the end of the week.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski sat down with two of the organizers behind the project to hear about how it began.  

  

Mike Morbeck / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green_Bay_Packers_huddle_3.jpg

Jessie Garcia is a veteran Wisconsin sports reporter, known to many from her years as a sideline reporter for the Green Bay packers.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski caught up with Garcia when she stopped in Three Lakes this week to talk about her new book, called “My Life with the Green and Gold.”

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