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.

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Fire season is in full swing here in the Northwoods, as the Masked Biologist will share in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Pixabay

Since Gov. Evers mandated the closure of schools on Mar. 13, educators have been scrambling to teach remotely. In the Northwoods, the level of instruction varies considerably based primarily on the availability of high-speed internet in the households of students.

Wisconsin Historical Society

James Randi is one of the most famous living magicians in the United States today. In his late career he has become famous for debunking fraudulent paranormal claims, but in his youth, he was an escape artist. Back in 1959, the Amazing Randi thrilled Northwoods residents with his feats of daring. Historian Gary Entz has the story in this weeks Northwoods Moment in History.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

A WXPR investigation has found over a seven-year period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the City of Rhinelander spread almost 400 tons of sewage sludge at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport. 

Later, the city built two municipal water wells near the place where some of the sludge was spread. Last year, those wells were found to have high levels of PFAS, a chemical with known health risks.

Now, a nationally-recognized expert on PFAS and sludge says the contamination in the city’s water could have come from sludge spread three decades ago.

Pixabay

More than 150,000 Wisconsin homes, businesses, schools, and daycares get their water through lead pipes, according to data newly compiled by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Consuming even small amounts of lead can lead to behavioral, learning, and cognitive problems in children.

Furthermore, for 300,000 water lines, Wisconsin cities don’t even know what the pipes are made of.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The current Covid-19 crisis is a difficult experience for everyone, but not the first time something like this has happened. The Influenza Epidemic that started in 1918 and lasted into 1920 can be instructive for what is going on now. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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An unfamiliar sound can be frightening; an unknown sound when you are in the dark woods can be terrifying. In this week’s Wildlife Matters the Masked Biologist shares some experiences and explains why sound identification can be challenging.

LAMBA

If this were a normal spring, people would be starting to travel to the Northwoods to enjoy the outdoors. The state, however, is encouraging people to stay in their own communities and avoid travel for recreation. But for those of us who live up here, the Northwoods offers hundreds of miles of biking trails and country roads that make great cycling routes.

Jamee Peters, vice president of the Langlade Area Mountain Bike Association (LAMBA) describes the type of trails available in eastern Langlade County.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

On Wednesday, a mining exploration company got a step closer to drilling into the earth near the Wolf River in Oneida County.

The county’s Planning and Development committee unanimously approved a permit for Badger Minerals to drill up to ten exploration holes on a private plot of land.

The company wants to find out if the area could be a good place for a metallic mine.

But, if it wasn’t clear before, public backlash demonstrated there’s plenty of opposition in the Northwoods.

Muscular Christianity is a philosophical interpretation of Christianity that centers on the moral and physical beauty of athleticism. It has had many proponents over the years, but few as colorful as the Reverend Frederick Wedge. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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Did you know that Earth Day has its roots in Wisconsin? The Masked Biologist takes a glimpse back at the origins and early years after the original Earth Day in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Scott Bowe

In this month's installment of Field Notes, Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses how maple trees produce sap for real maple syrup.

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Have you had the opportunity to get outside? The Masked Biologist gives us some ideas for nearby outdoor activity destinations in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Yelp

When we think of the Northwoods, one thing that comes to mind is the Supper Club. These iconic restaurants, along with all nonessential business, have been closed to in-person business as a result of the COVID-19 virus. These closures have supper club owners wondering about their future. They also have concerns about their laid off workers, the companies that supply them with food and beverages, and their patrons who are unable to enjoy the establishments that are part of their lives.

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