local features

Wisconsin Historical Society

The town of Hazelhurst, like so many others in the Northwoods, got its start through the logging industry. 

But unlike other Northwoods communities with origins in logging, Hazelhurst’s ties to the Yawkey Lumber Company gave it a slightly different trajectory.

It was a path that shapes the community to this day.  


There seem to be more red foxes than usual this year across northern Wisconsin. In this week’s Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist takes an in-depth look at these fascinating canines.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

To Ryan Hanson, the proposal for a new building just west of Rhinelander just isn’t that complicated.

“The actual transfer station is really nothing more than a pole building,” Hanson explained. “It’s a metal-sided, metal-roofed building with garage doors on one side, and then a handful of dumpsters.”

It would sit about 600 feet off of Highway 47, hidden by a buffer of trees from that road, Highway 8, and Highway K, which are all nearby.

Even so, the neighbors don’t like it.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Nicolet is a familiar name in the Northwoods. There are many small businesses that carry the name, a college, and perhaps most important, a National Forest.  Most Northwoods residents have heard of Jean Nicolet, but how many know who he really was? 

Steve Gerrish

Making national headlines, the 17-year cicadas were making a ruckus throughout eastern parts of the US leaving me to wonder, why don’t we see cicada swarms in the Northwoods of Wisconsin?

Cicadas have a limited and mostly eastern distribution in the United States, reaching as far north as New York state, down to Louisiana and Georgia in the south and barely extending into Kansas and Oklahoma in the west. They hatch on 13- or 17-year cycles and specific cohorts, which are also known as broods, hatch in offset years.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Another Fourth of July holiday has come and gone.  It was a happy experience for almost everyone in the Northwoods.  A few people, though, yearn for the good old days when more potent fireworks were available. But did that make the holiday any better?  Historian Gary Entz looks back at early earlier Fourth of July celebrations.


One of the benefits of having experts like the Masked Biologist as a WXPR contributor is that you get the latest breaking wildlife news, good or bad. Unfortunately, this week’s Wildlife Matters has some bad news, and the Masked Biologist is asking you to keep your eyes open for birds with their eyes pasted shut.

Leanne Vigue Miranda

Last October, the end of the school year seemed a long way off for Rhinelander mother Leanne Vigue Miranda.

“I live day by day because, otherwise, that prospect of, oh my gosh, I have to continue this for eight more months is super scary,” she told WXPR back then.

Miranda is the registrar at Nicolet College.

Rhinelander's Girl Scouts

Jun 30, 2021
Wisconsin Historical Society

Summer is camping season, and Summer Camps in the Northwoods are guiding young people to embrace an appreciation for the outdoors.  One of the more storied camps in the area is Camp Birchrock, which was founded by the local Girl Scouts.  How the Girl Scouts and Camp Birchrock came to be is worth remembering.  


Are we ready to give our children the tools they will need to face environmental challenges in the future, or are the tools we’ve always used good enough for them? The Masked Biologist tackles the toolbox question in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Last week, Diane Dodge closed her doors for the last time as the owner of Diane’s Frame Shoppe in downtown Rhinelander.

She’s owned and operated the frame shop since setting out on her own in 2005, struggling through a lean first few years.

“There were a few times we had to borrow to keep everything going, but we felt that it was going to be worth it, so we just kept going,” she said. “It was worth it.”

Through Diane’s work and the help of her husband, Ray, the successful business has now served thousands of customers.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Indigenous people have made significant contributions to every war the United States has ever fought.  In twentieth-century conflicts, we often hear about the heroism of individuals like Ira Hayes, or of groups like the code talkers.  What we rarely hear about are contributions from indigenous people on the home front. 

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Facebook

Here in Wisconsin, almost all our snakes are non-venomous, and rely on deceptive defense measures to scare off potential threats. The eastern hognose is one such snake and has slithered onto center stage in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Blades of helicopters slice incessantly through the western Wisconsin sky.

“Security Forces is finding people in a search and rescue exercise. They’re finding people and they’re evaluating their needs and they’re sending them out on helicopters, in case they need medical care,” explains Lt. Col. Sarah Ashley Nickloes of the U.S. Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard.

National Guard soldiers and airmen, alongside civilian emergency crews, lift mannequins and live actors onto stretchers.

Wikipedia Public Domain

Summer is baseball season, and many Northwoods residents enjoy playing the game in local leagues or watching professionals on television.  A few of those professional players have found the Northwoods equally appealing, and more than one has called the town of Three Lakes home.  One of them was first baseman Fred Luderus.