Local Features

In addition to the local news, WXPR Public Radio also likes to find stories that are outside the general news cycle... Listen below to stories about people, culture, and art in the Northwoods that go a little deeper than a traditional news story allows us to do.

These features are also available as a podcast by searching "WXPR Local Features" wherever you get your podcasts.

Other Side of Ninety: Harold Ehlers

Mar 6, 2015
Matthew Rethaber / WXPR News

Some listeners might recognize the name Harold Ehlers.  He was a longtime jazz host on WXPR, and former owner of the Ehlers General Store in Cornucopia.  

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with 90-year-old Ehlers about growing up in Cornucopia and the store that shaped the town.

Ehlers also used to a host a weekly music program on WXPR called “30 Minutes of Jazz,” which he would record and mail in on a cassette tape.  He's collected thousands of records.

Susan Bronson

When the temperatures plummet below zero, there’s nothing I crave more than some good old-fashioned comfort food. Whether it’s a skillet full of macaroni and cheese, a steaming bowl of rich and thick chili, or a plate full of buttered noodles, if it’s warm and filling, I want to eat it for dinner.

The Language of Trees: Craftsman Ken Schels

Feb 26, 2015
Emily Bright / WXPR News

 

"When I grab my saw, I'm ready to carve," says Ken Schels.  "I'm hungry.  I wanna make some sawdust. I look forward to it."

Schels may not look like a poet when he’s hauling trees to his sawmill or wielding his chainsaw at a carving competition, but he thinks deeply about trees. Dressed in a plaid flannel and cap, Ken shows me around his Eagle River workshop, stopping at an 11 foot conference table he cut from a single tree from Conover. Trees, Ken says, will tell you a story.

How To Survive a Long Winter

Feb 19, 2015
en.wikipedia.org

This week’s cold front has many of us in the Northwoods ready for spring. 

But John Heusinkveld, Assistant Director of UW Stevens Point’s Treehaven, has some ideas for surviving and embracing a long winter.  

Roger And The Monolith: Photographs Of Engineered Ice

Feb 12, 2015
Matthew Rethaber

Roger Hanson, a self-taught engineer and software developer, has been putting his knowledge to use building a magnificent ice sculpture for the city of Superior; but warm weather brought it tumbling down.

Now Hanson is rebuilding his creation.  

Emily Bright / WXPR News

Eagle River claims it’s the Hockey Capital of Wisconsin, and for the 3 days of the Pond Hockey Championship, you believe it. Over 300 teams come from across the country to play, drawn by the cold winters that typically ensure good ice conditions.  It’s a tough but nostalgic sport that seems to keep teams coming back again and again. 

Rinks separated by snow banks are packed in so close it’s hard to tell where fans’ cheers and referee whistles are directed. Bill Trosien is playing for his 7th year.

Paul Skawinski

Today we debut a new series of natural history commentaries, featuring scientists from two Northwoods field stations: UW-Madison’s Trout Lake and Kemp Research Stations.

Today researcher Susan Knight asks why some aquatic plants stay green all winter. 

Susan Bronson

The start of a new year is when many people vow to make dramatic changes to their diet. Well, January is almost over – how are your New Year’s resolutions holding up?

Submitted photo

The Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend is opening a photographic exhibition this weekend featuring the work of Dick Blau from Milwaukee. 

Blau was a collaborator on a book in 1992 called Polka Happiness, and his latest public work is a series of large photographs capturing Wisconsin's polka scene. Blau and longtime polka chronicler Rick March stopped by 25 dances in 2013. That journey led to this rare photo display,  polka style. Blau talked to Ken Krall about the challenges and pure joy he experienced doing the work.

Atelier Book Bindery: Care and Concern Throughout

Jan 23, 2015

The Northwoods is full of experts and artists you might not expect to find in a rural area. If you drive along the right road in Arbor Vitae, you might find yourself in a fine book bindery called Atelier. 

Florian Bieschke’s workshop, like book binding itself, is a collection of small and precise details. 

“This is the bindery, as small as it is," he says.  "We heat it by just getting more people in – five or six people and we can turn the heaters off!”

Emily Bright

The World Championship Snowmobile Derby take places in Eagle River this weekend, with the vintage classes wrapping up last weekend.  WXPR’s Emily Bright takes a behind-the-scenes look at the camaraderie and competition of the international snowmobile races going on in our own backyard.

Courtesy of Mills Music Library, University of Wisconsin.

A UW Madison professor is producing a collection of archival field recordings performed by musicians from northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan more than 70 years ago. The music ranges from polkas to waltzes and fiddle tunes.  

A Less Processed Life: Waffles And Vanilla Sauce

Dec 23, 2014
Susan Bronson

Today we debut a new series with food writer Susan Bronson.  She keeps a blog called A Less Processed Life, and each month she’ll be sharing recipes and stories from her Northwoods Kitchen.  In honor of the holidays, today Bronson shares one of her time-tested holiday traditions…that stars a 70-year-old kitchen appliance.  

Opera Singer To Perform in Northwoods

Dec 22, 2014
Submitted photo

An opera singer is performing in the Northwoods Thursday.  

Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek has a sold-out holiday performance at the Essenhaus in Wabeno.  It’s part of a monthly program called Third Thursday Theater.  For this week’s arts feature, WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with him about his musical background.

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