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.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

In the winter, snowshoes are the best way to navigate a swath of undeveloped, wooded, privately-owned land between Monico and Pelican Lake in Oneida County.  The simple forest roads that exist are snow-covered and unplowed.

In late January, Badger Minerals, a Michigan-based subsidiary of a Canadian company, announced plans to drill several holes on this tract, seeking to learn more about minerals under the snowy surface. 

Image from the Wisconsin Historical Society

The high cost of living and how much of our income is devoted to purchasing the necessities of life weighs heavily on the minds of many people. In this week's Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz looks back at how the cost of living has fluctuated over time.

image by madelamber on pixabay.com

Planting a tree is an act of love and sacrifice, knowing that depending on the species, you may not live long enough to see it reach maturity. In this episode of Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist reflects on the meaning behind the act of planting an oak tree.

Image by Jim Skibo

Our We Live Up Here series continues with a visit with John Kusz, the only current Ironwood resident who launched off Copper Peak, the highest artificial ski jump in the world. 

Erika Warning-Meyer

Note: WXPR’s Ben Meyer celebrated his honeymoon in New Zealand this month with his wife, Erika.  This week’s edition of The Stream is inspired by their visit to one of New Zealand’s mountain glaciers.

Every day the weather cooperates, a helicopter delivers hikers onto Fox Glacier in the mountains of New Zealand’s South Island.

Guides lead groups wearing boots and crampons across the ice sheet, which sparkles white on the surface and bright blue in its many crevasses and ice arches.

Image by the Wisconsin Historical Society

Ice fishing is hardly controversial today, but in decades past there was a real question about whether it should even be allowed in the Northwoods. Here’s Gary Entz with this week’s Northwoods Moment in History.

Local League Mobilizes Voters

Feb 18, 2020
Stephanie Kuski

Today is the day to cast your vote for the District 7 Representative in Congress, Justice of the Supreme Court and a variety of other local elections.

While today might be the first and last time you ponder this election, the League of Women Voters of the Northwoods (LWVNOW) has been working tirelessly over the past several months to ensure local citizens were registered in preparation for today’s election.

Image by wild0ne on pixabay.com

No doubt we are in the middle of winter here in the Northwoods. At the same time, though, wildlife is looking forward to spring, and we can do some advance work to prepare for its arrival. The Masked Biologist shares some timely reminders in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau/Susan Hedman

Wisconsin is the home of its own conservation hall of fame, the home of the founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, and the home of John Muir.

It was the first state in America to ban DDT.

“Wisconsin has had such a long tradition in the conservation area and protecting the environment,” said Susan Hedman, the former Great Lakes Region Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hedman says Wisconsin used to a leader in the field.  But now, it’s a leader in something else.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Few people today associate the Northwoods with pearl buttons, but for a short time, Rhinelander and other Northwoods towns along the Wisconsin River experienced an economic boom similar to that of a small gold rush. Gary Entz has the story in this weeks Northwoods Moment in History.

Image by carl bowser

In this month’s Field Notes, Susan Knight looks at the thin ice situation this year, and discusses why ice is so cool.

Image by counselling on pixabay.com

We may have our share of challenges to face during Wisconsin winters, but at least we don’t have to deal with falling iguanas. That’s the topic the Masked Biologist chose for this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Image by Jim Skibo

As part of the We Live Up Here series, Jim Skibo visited with Raptor Education Group Director, Marge Gibson. She moved back to Antigo to be closer to family, research and write about birds. She and her late husband, Don, soon discovered, however, that the northwoods lacked a facility for bird rehabilitation. In 1990 they opened a facility that takes in about a 1000 injured birds per year along with providing many educational opportunities.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Michael Anderson uses a long bit on a drill to bust through the ice on Silver Lake in Eagle River.

“That would be a good depth for an ice castle right now,” Anderson says, measuring about 15 inches of ice.

That’s plenty for harvesting and forming into blocks for ice-castle building.

But there’s a problem.  A deep layer of slush on Silver Lake makes it inaccessible to the machines and trucks needed to transport ice blocks.

Without the ice blocks, there’s no ice castle downtown, and that means Anderson has to break the bad news to a lot of people.

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