local features

Sugar In Trees

Nov 10, 2020
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In this month's installment of Field Notes Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses sugar in trees, how Mother Nature makes trees and plant with simple sugars.

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October was not a great weather month, but we had a mild start to November. Was it Indian Summer or just a rare warm week? Whatever the case, it was much appreciated as the Masked Biologist shares in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Sandy Maki looked out at rows of workstations, all of which have been empty since this spring.

“There’s usually about 35 people in here at a time with supervisors to assist,” she said.

She’s the managing supervisor here, at Global Response in downtown Iron River.

Maki is used to seeing and hearing up to 5,000 incoming calls a day to her call center employees.

“Sometimes you hear people [say], ‘Thank you for calling.’ They end a call, and they’re right on to, ‘Thank you for calling,’ starting a new one. Sometimes it can be back to back,” she said.

wisconsin historical society

A WXPR listener noted that several dogs had been mentioned in past episodes of a Northwoods Moment in History, but no cats. This cat lover was curious if there were any stories from the past about cats in the Northwoods. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

Leanne Vigue Miranda

Several times a day, one of Leanne Vigue Miranda’s daughters taps on her shoulder while she’s in a Zoom meeting.

Phoebe, a fourth-grader, or Luna, a kindergartener, has a homework question or computer issue.

“I constantly feel like my focus is being shifted every five to ten minutes,” Miranda said.

Miranda is the registrar at Nicolet College, and she’s been working from home since the pandemic started. Sometimes, her days include ten virtual meetings while her daughters learn virtually nearby.


wisconsin historical society

Halloween night is a special time for children across the Northwoods. Many people have fond childhood memories of Halloween traditions, but a lot of those traditions are more recent than most of us realize. In the not so distant past, Halloween in the Northwoods meant mostly tricks and very few treats. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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The fall colors may be past peak, but there is still a forest of color to view, you just have to know where to look. At least that’s the case the Masked Biologist makes in this week’s wildlife matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

A new storefront in downtown Rhinelander attracts few walk-in customers.

The store sells parts for commercial, business, and personal aircraft, even though it’s far from any major airport.

But although it doesn’t get much street traffic, the business plan and attitude of the owners might be a sign of a downtown on a gradual rise.

“If I was going to describe my business, I’m like the Napa Auto Parts for airplanes,” said Bob Lueder, the owner of Plane Parts Inc. in downtown Rhinelander.

Ed “Strangler” Lewis

Oct 21, 2020

Professional wrestling is a popular form of entertainment in the United States for many people, and this includes many fans in the Northwoods. Modern wrestling is a choreographed entertainment rather than a true sport, and the individual most responsible for that distinction had a Northwoods connection. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

image courtesy of Phyl Wickham

The Northwoods is known for an active music scene. Local singer/songwriters, however, depend on live performances to earn a living. Jim Skibo visited with two musicians and discussed how the pandemic has changed their lives and music.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Today many people take the Oneida County Airport for granted. In the past, however, generating interest in aviation and air travel was an important goal for local civic boosters. In 1930, Rhinelander participated in an air race that significantly advanced this objective. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

image by Arthur Meeks on wisflora.herbarium.wisc.edu

For this month's Field Notes, Susan Knight explores the ecology of Indian Pipe, spooky looking white plants that skip photosynthesis and steal sugar from their forest neighbors.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Living in Lake Superior’s shadow and walking its windy shore in Ashland didn’t sound like much of a life plan to Sara Hudson.

But 16 years ago, when her husband got a job here, the young couple moved to what seemed like a remote place.

“When we moved here, I was still like, what are we doing here?” Hudson said. “I had a friend that cried for a year straight.”

Around that time, an outsider could be forgiven for having a grim view for the area’s future.

Iron ore shipments from Ashland, a backbone of the community, had stopped in the 1960s.

wisconsin historical society

Today people living in Wisconsin’s Northwoods and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula look to each other as neighbors who share common interests. No one questions the boundary between the two regions, but in the past the border between the two states was a serious concern. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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When you ask people what they like most about autumn, usually the beautiful fall colors are near the top of the list. In this episode of Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist examines the science behind the beauty of autumn leaf colors.