local features

Black Ash Baskets: Weaving Resistance to Invasive Species

Jul 17, 2014
Matthew Rethaber / WXPR News

The emerald ash borer is having a big impact on forest landscapes and some commercial interests, as it continues to wipe out ash trees in Wisconsin and other parts of the U.S.  It also threatens a traditional Native American style of basket weaving. 

It can be easy to forget that a wooden basket comes from a tree.    

Citizen Bat Monitors: Turning Up the Volume On Silence

Jul 8, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The deadly bat disease called white nose syndrome was found in Wisconsin earlier this year.  That’s bad news for bats, but it hasn’t stopped the Department of Natural Resources from investing in bat monitoring efforts.  In fact, biologists say collecting data on bats is more important than ever.  

At nightfall on the end of a pier in Eagle River, DNR Biologist Paul White is standing with his arm outstretched, rubbing his fingers together. 

How to Be A Jazz Musician

Jun 12, 2014
Weinstock via http://pixabay.com/en/piano-keys-music-instrument-old-91048/

Last month a group of jazz musicians from all over the country gathered for a long weekend outside of Rhinelander.  Eight of them were professional musicians, and a dozen of them were students…at Holiday Acres’ annual Northwoods Jazz Camp. 

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski went to talk with some of the teachers and students…and came away with a few tips on how to learn to be a jazz musician.       

 You heard from instructors Kim Richmond, John Harmon, Clay Jenkins and Scott Whitfield.  And students Connie Fellman and Joe Swierczek.  

Loons Abandon Nests Facing Droves of Black Flies

Jun 4, 2014
Mitch Mode

As many of us in the Northwoods are being driven crazy by mosquitoes, loons are being harassed by blackflies. 

High numbers of loons are having trouble staying on their nests this year due to a surge in a certain kind of black fly that only targets loons.  

Walter Piper, a researcher from Chapman University who has been studying loons in the Northwoods for twenty two years, says it’s the most abandoned nests he’s ever seen.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Piper about what that means for the loon population.

Trees for Tomorrow staff

 

The year is 1944. While WWII rages abroad, manufacturers at home strain to keep up the supply of resources. Nine paper and utility companies in northern Wisconsin look at the felled forests around them and decide to form an organization to ensure that there will still be resources for the future.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

This is the story of a special coat that currently resides in the Northwoods.  

It’s a long burgundy, double-breasted coat once worn by both John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.  It’s now owned by Rhinelander resident Ray Quicksilver.

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski sat down with Quicksilver to hear how Hendrix came to give him the coat.  It all started when Quicksilver’s father sent him to live with a relative in California…which landed him right in the middle of the countercultural movement of the 1960s.    

Technology Meets Mystery in Maple Sugar Season

May 8, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Maple syrup production in northern Wisconsin is wrapping up for the season.  For small producers a fickle weather pattern meant it wasn’t a great season in terms of syrup quantity.  But for larger producers who use more high-tech systems, it was still an above average year.  And the reasons behind these sap dynamics are still somewhat of a mystery. 

The day I visit Maple Hollow Farm near Merrill Wisconsin is muddy and cool – a typical backdrop for a process that takes place only in spring, when the sap is running. 

Antigo Astronomer Searches for Signs of Distant Life

May 6, 2014
NASA / https://flic.kr/p/jXLDrB

Maggie Turnbull lives in Antigo and works as a freelance astrobiologist.  

  It’s the study of the origin and future of life in the universe.  Turnbull has gained international recognition for her work cataloging star systems that could support life, and is now working with NASA on a telescope to better look at those systems.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Turnbull over the phone.  

She says the problem is that stars give out so much light, it’s hard to even see the planets that orbit them. 

In Mercer, A Basketball Court is Born

Apr 4, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

With the Final Four coming up this weekend, many people's eyes will be glued to the basketball courts.  But have you ever thought about where those court floors come from? Most of the country’s wooden gym floors are made here in northern Wisconsin and upper Michigan. 

Here in the small town of Mercer, Wisconsin, a gym floor starts with unloading a pallet of maple planks delivered from a sawmill.

Snow Snakes: A Lesson in Survival

Mar 18, 2014
Matthew Rethaber

A group of middle school students gathered last month in Lac du Flambeau to learn outdoor winter skills.  Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission organized the weekend camp.  As WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski reports, it’s as much about cultural preservation as it is getting outdoors. 

At Deep Snow Camp, most of the activities are focused on survival skills like building a snow shelter or ice fishing with simple materials.  But a lot of the sessions focus on another type of survival: the cultural kind. 

The Answer Is to Just Keep Pedaling

Mar 8, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

With winter still holding the Northwoods in its icy grip, most of us try to avoid going out in the cold for longer than we have to.  So you might be surprised to find that one commuter relies on his bicycle to get to work all winter long, even refusing offers of car rides and choosing instead to brave the icy streets of Stevens Point.

It’s 7 a.m. on a clear morning in March, and 20 degrees below zero outside.  Rich Sweet is in his kitchen, in the process of what he calls “gearing up.”

Nancy and Quincy: A Therapy Dog Story

Feb 18, 2014
Emily Bright / WXPR News

For many people, dogs are a source of comfort and friendship.  Nancy Diepenbrock believed so strongly in the power of a dog’s presence, she helped start a therapy dog program here in the Northwoods.  

"Everybody knows Quincy," said Diepenbrock. "They can’t remember my name. As a matter of fact last week one of the kids called me Mrs. Quincy."

Winter Farmers' Market Opens in Eagle River

Jan 28, 2014
Emily Bright / WXPR News

Eagle River is on the front end of a trend that’s becoming more popular across Wisconsin: winter farmers markets.  The new effort could make local food available all year round, even in a cold Northwoods climate.

When Al Pittelko, executive director of the Eagle River Revitalization Program, was approached about holding a winter farmers’ market, he hesitated.

“I said how can we when we don’t have any farmers’ stuff," he said, "but they do.”

Pages