local features

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Katy Martens looks into her computer camera and greets her virtual audience, starting a session of yoga with essential oils.

She’s in her backyard in Sayner, surrounded by a forest of changing color.

Most of her audience is where Martens lived just six months ago, the greater Milwaukee area.

She and her family moved to Vilas County, and her students stayed with her virtually.

“It was just like, I can do this from anywhere. Sayner’s awesome. It’s our family house,” she said. “It’s better for the kids. It was kind of a no-brainer then, at that point.”

Red Dot Potato Chips

Sep 30, 2020
wisconsin historical society

Many people of fond memories of Red Dot potato chips. While Red Dot was headquartered in southern Wisconsin, the company did have significant ties to the Northwoods. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

What started out as routine yardwork became a battle against unwelcome invaders. The Masked Biologist shares his tale of woe in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Image by Jim Skibo

The Northwoods has long been known for its active art community. Jim Skibo visited two local artists to learn how the COVID-19 restrictions have changed their art and the way it is sold.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

For many small businesses in the Northwoods, offering one product or service just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Especially during a global pandemic, doing two things at once is often a necessity for survival.

That’s on display in Park Falls, where last Wednesday, Linda Bukachek filled a pitcher with heated wax in a back room at Patchouli Garden.

It’s the first step in a candle-making process she’s repeated over and over. Bukachek next adds ingredients, color, and fragrances to the wax. Then, she carefully pours it into a dozen candle molds.

wisconsin historical society

David Collins, a student fulfilling a writing assignment in Ocie Kilgus’s English Comp class at Nicolet College, was curious about a bank robbery that took place in Laona during the 1950s. As it turns out, the robbery had an unusual twist. 

As air temperatures in fall fluctuate between freezing at night and sunny 70 degree days, many deeper lakes within the region experience a phenomenon known as turnover. Journeying into the science of fall turnover can lead you into a wide berth of topics including physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, and biology. While complex and varied across systems, fall turnover influences how we use and interact with our beloved regional lakes.

In past the Oneida County Fair brought in some of the biggest names in Country & Western music. These acts always drew the biggest crowds for the fair, but one year a particular singer brought her very own Rodeo to perform with her. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

image by sapto7 on pixabay.com

Did you have some hassles with wildlife in or around your home this year? Now is the perfect time of year to take steps to exclude unwelcome guests. That’s the focus of this week’s Wildlife Matters.

image by paulbr75 on pixabay.com

A logical result of the pandemic and a weakened economy would be a sluggish real estate market in the Northwoods and elsewhere. Instead, real estate purchases are booming in many parts of the country including the Northwoods. Ironically, the pandemic and stay at home orders may be behind a recent surge in local real estate purchases.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Cindy Hoffman is a grandmother.

She doesn’t have a job, but she’s not retired.

Instead, for eight hours a day, she’s a student.

“Yes. It is my job until I get my degree,” she said, sitting on her back porch in St. Germain.

Using her laptop, Hoffman showed off her Nicolet College learning portal.

“I’ve been on the Dean’s List now a couple of times,” Hoffman said. “If I do anything, I want to do it well.”

Now in her late 50s, Hoffman was named the college’s Academic Success Student of the Year last year.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Many young people today cannot name a Supreme Court Justice or identify their own Congressional Representative. Voter participation is lower in the U.S. than in any other Western Democracy. It was not always this way, and in the past Rhinelander made certain its young people were aware of their civic responsibilities. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Pete McGeshick II looked out upon Spur Lake and thought about what used to be.

“The lake was full,” he said. “The rice bed was full all the way around.”

Wild rice used to grow thick on the 113-acre undeveloped lake in eastern Oneida County.

It grew tall, too.  

“You could come out here and you could see people harvesting wild rice,” McGeshick said. “A lot of them, you couldn’t even see because the wild rice was so high.”

Pioneer Edward Walsh

Sep 2, 2020
wisconsin historical society

There are many stories of early Northwoods Pioneers. Most of us recall the lumbermen as being the first, but the tourist industry developed simultaneous to the logging industry, and early resort builders like Edward Walsh were key in the economic development of the Northwoods. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

image by ylem, public domain

Perhaps you have heard of foxfire, an ethereal glow that appears in the deep dark woods late at night. The Masked Biologist casts some light on the subject in this week’s Wildlife Matters.