local features

Jim Skibo

When Joseph and Myrtle Kretz established Kretz Lumber in 1929, it was just a small sawmill. Today the company just south of Antigo is an employee-owned global company that has expanded into other areas including forest management, education, and now a fine craftsman line, which sells directly to small commercial woodworkers along with hobbyists.

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For over a year, local historian Gary Entz has uncovered why many towns in the Northwoods are named what they are.

Some previous installments of A Northwoods Moment in History have included how the towns of Phelps, St. Germain, Sayner, and Lake Tomahawk got their names.

In this week’s installment, we hear how the town of Woodboro got its name.

Dan Murphy - macaulay library

Are you familiar with the goatsucker family of birds? In this week’s Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist examines one fairly familiar family member, the fascinating whip-poor-will.

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Enjoying a good movie has been a popular pastime in the Northwoods for many decades. Today many film goers take engaging music and dialog for granted. It was not always that way, and the transition from silent to sound films is worth remembering. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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Have you seen a deer lately that isn’t pretty? It is probably just dealing with life, as the Masked Biologist shares in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

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Many geographic regions, towns, and counties in the Northwoods have interesting name origins, but few are as intriguing as Langlade County. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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For this month’s Field Notes, Susan Knight of UW-Madison’s Trout Lake Station shares three stories about strange lakes from around the world.

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Social deviance describes an action or behavior that violates societal norms. Deviant behavior that violates established codes of conduct often lands the offender in trouble, as happened with one Northwoods transient. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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There may be few images that inspire thoughts of strength, courage, and independence more than that of the majestic bald eagle soaring in the blue sky. In this episode of Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist takes a look at our country’s national emblem.

Scouting is an important part of many young peoples’ lives. The Northwoods is a natural setting for learning the ethical and environmental lessons scouting teaches, but there is a nautical branch of scouting that had early roots in the Northwoods. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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During the first week of June, a boat sprayed chemicals into the waters of Anvil Lake in Vilas County for the first time.

It was applying an herbicide called 2,4D, targeting Eurasian watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive species whose presence in the lake has grown and grown.

The decision to use chemicals in treating the problem was difficult and often controversial for lake leaders.

But it’s a decision more and more lake groups in the Northwoods are forced to consider as invasive species spread.

In many ways, Anvil Lake is where Dr. Amy Kuhns grew up.

NMIH: The Northlands Fur And Packing Company

Jun 24, 2020
wisconsin historical society

Rabbit breeding season starts in early spring and continues through the summer. Lots of bunnies start showing up on lawns and gardens at this time of year. Some Northwoods residents look at them as pests, but others see opportunity. Historian Gary Entz has the story:

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Businesses large and small have had to make major adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the region’s largest employers, Merrill-based Church Mutual, sent almost all of its employees to work from home in March.

Church Mutual is the nation's largest insurer of religious organizations.

Now, the company has targeted Sep. 8 to allow some employees to start returning to their offices.

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The Masked Biologist saw a firefly recently, and it “sparked” an idea that turned into this week’s episode of Wildlife Matters.

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Ron L. Zabler admits Oneida County winters have been harsh on his family’s cabin in the woods.

Some of the paint may be peeling, but that makes this place no less important to him.

“Once I’m up here, I don’t want to go back,” said Zabler, whose permanent home with his wife, Carline, is in southern Wisconsin.

A lot of his attitude has to do with his family’s history on this plot of land.

“I’ve been here since I was 14. I was here when the original owner was here,” said Zabler, who is in his 70s.