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.

image by junebab on pixabay.com

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.

image by valiphotos on pixabay.com

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.

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. 

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