Jim Skibo

We Live Up Here Contributor

James M. Skibo is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University. He is the author of five books, including two written for the general audience, Ants for Breakfast, and Bear Cave Hill.

He specializes in the archaeology of the Great Lakes Region and he is currently the Director of the Grand Island Archaeological Program.

He and his wife, Becky, are junior high basketball coaches and they live in White Lake, Wisconsin with their dog, Lucky.

Humane Society of Marathon County

Across the county, pet adoptions have seen a dramatic increase since the beginning of the pandemic. In areas where the virus is more prevalent, some shelters have even run out of dogs and cats for adoption. Although local Northwoods shelters still do have animals available, there has been a notable increase in the number of adoptions. Jim and Debbie Boman, of Merrill, recently adopted Delilah, a Labrador-Pitbull mix from the Humane Society of Marathon County.

Pixabay

Many in the Northwoods do not have access to high speed broadband internet. That’s a critical gap in modern living, especially with the health emergency keeping people at home. State grants through the Public Service Commission have recently been awarded to some communities and counties to help remedy the situation.

Pixabay

Since Gov. Evers mandated the closure of schools on Mar. 13, educators have been scrambling to teach remotely. In the Northwoods, the level of instruction varies considerably based primarily on the availability of high-speed internet in the households of students.

LAMBA

If this were a normal spring, people would be starting to travel to the Northwoods to enjoy the outdoors. The state, however, is encouraging people to stay in their own communities and avoid travel for recreation. But for those of us who live up here, the Northwoods offers hundreds of miles of biking trails and country roads that make great cycling routes.

Jamee Peters, vice president of the Langlade Area Mountain Bike Association (LAMBA) describes the type of trails available in eastern Langlade County.

Jim Skibo

Many Wisconsin State Parks have closed along with National Forest recreation areas, leaving many to seek different ways to enjoy the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wolf River, which starts in Forest County and runs through the entire length of Langlade County, offers opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the Northwoods while practicing social distancing.

Bill Kallner has been fishing the Wolf River for decades. Each time he visits the river he enjoys the beauty and solitude.

Yelp

When we think of the Northwoods, one thing that comes to mind is the Supper Club. These iconic restaurants, along with all nonessential business, have been closed to in-person business as a result of the COVID-19 virus. These closures have supper club owners wondering about their future. They also have concerns about their laid off workers, the companies that supply them with food and beverages, and their patrons who are unable to enjoy the establishments that are part of their lives.

Jim Skibo

Each spring the hardwood forests of the Northwoods come alive with activity as the process of collecting maple sap begins. The people doing this work range from large commercial operations to single individuals tapping a few trees. As part of WXPR’s We Live Up Here series, we visited two very different operations before social distancing guidelines went into effect.

Jim Skibo

Badger Minerals, a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, wants to begin exploratory testing in eastern Oneida County near the headwaters of the Wolf River. The area sits on an ancient volcanic deposit that often contains high concentrations of zinc, lead, copper, gold, and silver. Recently, a group met in Mole Lake, which sits a few miles from the site, to express their concerns over the proposed mining.

Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Member Nick Shepard began his speech by saying, “I’m here today in support of protecting the Wolf River, again.”

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

On Tuesday, the Langlade County Board called on lawmakers to protect the Wolf River watershed from metallic sulfide mining pollution.

Although exploration for a possible mine by Badger Minerals would be in southern Oneida County, just north of Langlade County, the concern is the possible pollution of the Wolf River, which runs through Langlade County and eventually empties into Lake Michigan.

The resolution calls upon the State Legislature and Governor to repeal Wisconsin Act 134, which streamlined the mining permitting process.

Image by Jim Skibo

If you say the name, “Stormy Kromer,” most people in the northwoods will know that you are referring to the iconic wool cap with earflaps that dates back to the early 1900s. What you may not know is that the hat is made in Ironwood, Michigan by Jacquart Fabric Products, a company that even has Rhinelander connections.

CREDIT DAN DUMAS/KIM SWISHER COMMUNICATIONS

People opposed to mining met over the weekend in Mole Lake.  It comes after word that Badger Minerals could begin exploratory testing.  The company is a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company. The proposed drilling would happen in eastern Oneida County near the Wolf River.

A group in opposition to metallic sulfide mining met on Sunday afternoon for what they referred to as the “Wolf River Water Walk.”

Image by Jim Skibo

Our We Live Up Here series continues with a visit with John Kusz, the only current Ironwood resident who launched off Copper Peak, the highest artificial ski jump in the world. 

Image by Jim Skibo

As part of the We Live Up Here series, Jim Skibo visited with Raptor Education Group Director, Marge Gibson. She moved back to Antigo to be closer to family, research and write about birds. She and her late husband, Don, soon discovered, however, that the northwoods lacked a facility for bird rehabilitation. In 1990 they opened a facility that takes in about a 1000 injured birds per year along with providing many educational opportunities.

White Lake Ice Fishing

Jan 24, 2020
Image by Jim Skibo

A winter ritual in the northwoods is ice fishing. This time of year, anglers take to the lakes for pan fish, northern pike, and the prized walleye pike. Jim Skibo met up with some hardy anglers on White Lake to learn more about this cold weather sport.

A Christmas Tree Story

Dec 21, 2019
Image by Jim Skibo

For decades, families in southern Wisconsin have enjoyed Christmas trees and wreaths produced on a farm in Langlade County. Many of those families know their decorations come from a different family—one of four generations held together by boughs, traditions, and laughter.

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