Local Features

In addition to the local news, WXPR Public Radio also likes to find stories that are outside the general news cycle... Listen below to stories about history, people, culture, art, and the environment in the Northwoods that go a little deeper than a traditional news story allows us to do. Here are all of the series we include in this podcast: Curious North, We Live Up Here, A Northwoods Moment in History, Field Notes, and Wildlife Matters.

These features are also available as a podcast by searching "WXPR Local Features" wherever you get your podcasts.

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.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Gary Laguna’s keyring jingles often as he sorts through the right key to the right door.

He has to open them in a variety of places as the lead water operator in Hurley, Pence, and Iron Belt, three communities in Iron County.

With 18 years of experience, Laguna is in charge of ensuring a reliable flow of water to customers’ faucets and doing near-constant water quality testing.

While he plays a critical role in water customers’ lives, Laguna says many people don’t have a clear understanding of the workings of the systems he oversees.

Nero the Lumber Camp Dog

Jan 1, 2020
Wisconsin Historical Society

Logging camp work defined the Northwoods during the nineteenth century.  It is common knowledge how difficult the work was for both animals and men during the winter months.  It is also known that the men were usually well fed for their work, but sometimes the animals helped in feeding the men in unusual ways.  

Image by Geralt on Pixabay.com

With the arrival of New Years Day comes new resolutions. Have you made yours? The Masked Biologist has, and it is the subject of this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

For part of the year, a gravel road reaches a remote piece of Vilas County land.

But in the winter, a mile-long snowshoe is the only way in.

Snow decorated an evergreen forest as Trisha Moore and Troy Walters reached their destination and greeted Bob Martini, who owns the 31 acres of wilderness northeast of Eagle River.

Forty years ago, he built an eight-sided cabin here by hand.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Christmas today is highly commercialized, and American consumers are encouraged to shop for as much as they can buy during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It wasn’t always like this, and during the worst years of the Great Depression Christmas in Rhinelander was celebrated a little differently.

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