local features

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

It’s not difficult for Norm Pestka to picture what used to be here.

After all, the land that’s now underwater was dry just a few months ago.

“It’s been fine here for years.  They lost 45 feet in one storm.  The beach was out there, literally,” Pestka said, motioning to a patch of Lake Superior now submerged.

Pestka is standing on private land just outside Ontonagon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Lake Superior stretches out before him.  It’s mostly open water, save for some ice, snow, and floating ice chunks near the shore.

The Sheriff and the Bank

Jan 29, 2020
Wisconsin Historical Society

In this week’s Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz tells the story of William Clawson, once a forest ranger, a county sheriff and finally, a bank robber.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Charlee Krueger finds her backpack and coat, and her mother Renee scrapes ice from the windshield of their car.  By 7 a.m., they’re ready to go.

Charlee is a second grader at Maple Grove Elementary School in the Merrill Area Public School District.

She’s one of just 80 students enrolled in the far-flung school about 15 miles from the city.  She could be one of the final 80 to attend school there, as Merrill contemplates closing it before next year.

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.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

The waters of the Biron Flowage are no more than ten feet from the porch of Mike Spranger’s second home.

“This is the reason we bought it,” he said.  “The water is right there.”

The 1,500-square-foot house is just ten minutes from Spranger’s main residence in Wisconsin Rapids.  He and his wife bought it in 2015, mainly as a refuge for their four grandchildren, who took to the water 

immediately.

Gypsies in the Northwoods

Jan 22, 2020

In this week’s Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz talks about who the Romani people are and tells of their history in the Northwoods.

Few people have the knowledge, tackle, and proper boat to fish the vast and often unpredictable waters of Lake Superior. For 56 years however, one Bessemer, Michigan resident has found his calling running a fishing charter out of Black River harbor, not only providing his customers with an experience of a lifetime, but also creating lifelong friendships off the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the world.   

Ben Meyer/WXPR

An amphibious vehicle called an Argo has eight wheels, two treads, floats on water, and can go just about anywhere.

Has Noah Lottig found a place it can’t access?

“Not yet.  We’ve tried.  We have not found a place where this will not go yet,” said Lottig, an assistant scientist at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction.

A fifteen-minute ride on the Argo allows Lottig and two graduate students to access an undeveloped, frozen bog near Sparkling Lake in Vilas County.  Lottig has been here plenty with the Argo, hooking a snowplow to its front.

Wisconsin Historical Society

How many stories about cows in Wisconsin history can you think of? In this weeks Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz reveals that the most memorable stories regarding cows, are usually dramatic ones.

If you are a winter enthusiast, we are off to a great start this year. Snowshoers, skiers, and snowmobilers have had excellent snow conditions. To add to the great snow conditions, we have enjoyed relatively mild temperatures. So how does snow form and what are the different types of snow?

image by gamagapix on pixabay.com

Snow and trees are plentiful in the Northwoods this time of year, which made the Masked Biologist select a Curious North question to answer as part of this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

For Northwoods artists Mary Burns and Debbie Jircik, creating art is sometimes more than putting paint on canvas or throwing clay to be fired.

Instead, it’s pulling on waterproof boots, slogging into Northwoods bogs, and collecting large pails of water.

“We didn’t see anyone doing any of this kind of work, where they were actually going out in the field, collecting water from bogs and lakes, and comparing how…that affects those dyes,” Burns said.

Burns is from Mercer, and Jircik is from Eagle River.

Library of Congress

Native Americans have been making maple syrup and maple sugar in the Northwoods for a long time now.  The methods have changed a little over the millennia, but the process is largely recognizable. 

image by publicdomainpicutres on pixabay.com

Have you had an increase in trouble with squirrels chewing on your holiday lights? The Masked Biologist has, as he shares in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Harry Resch still remembers every play of basketball games from more than 40 years ago.

Resch was Crandon’s boys basketball coach for 15 years in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.  He can still tell you how one of his guards drove into the lane, what kind of defense an opponent played, or his team’s scoring average for a given year.

He remembers packed gyms and conference championships, having won five in a seven-year stretch.

Resch’s teams were high-pressure and hot-shooting, averaging 88 points per game during one title season.

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