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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Recent Study Finds that Lessons from Tribal Forestlands could Help to Improve the Health of Public Forests in the Northwoods.

Jim Skibo has the story

Ben Meyer/WXPR

In the late 1990s, when Patrick Taylor moved back to his Merrill hometown, he bought a house on the water.

It was one of more than a hundred homes on a mill pond created by the old Ward paper mill dam.

“It was a great area for duck hunting,” Taylor said.

Other people on the water fished, swam, or canoed.

Then, Taylor learned the water was about to disappear.

“The day after we closed on the house, they announced the removal of the dam,” he said in an interview this week.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders was one of the most famous touring shows in American history.  When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show toured the Northwoods in 1900, one of his performers fell in love with the area and decided he wanted to call it home. 

Image by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay.com

This is the time of year when mice invade your home. Well maybe not yours, but definitely the home of the Masked Biologist, as he shares in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Jim and Ruth Brennan thought the days of iron ore mining in northern Wisconsin were over.

So when Gogebic Taconite started drawing up plans about earlier this decade for a massive mine near their home in southern Ashland County, they were surprised, to say the least.

“A three- or four-mile ditch that would actually come within about a mile of our house,” said Jim Brennan.

Jim and Ruth live in the town of Morse, near Mellen and Copper Falls State Park.

Their unique house overlooks Lake Galilee.

Library of Congress

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders was one of the most famous touring shows in American history.  What few people today remember is that Buffalo Bill Cody brought his show to the Northwoods and thrilled the local area with feats of skill and daring.

Pixabay.com MabelAmber

Botany of Thanksgiving Everyone has their own list of things to be grateful for at Thanksgiving. Along with your thoughts of turkey and football, take a minute to appreciate the plants, yes, the plants, that originated in the Americas, that add flavor, color and nutrition to your Thanksgiving table. T

Image from Pixabay

Earlier this summer, parts of the forested North were devastated by wind storms and tornadoes, and work to clean up the aftermath is ongoing.

In this week’s Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist reminds us that while it is tragic to see trees broken and lying down, sometimes messed is best for wildlife species.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Records of water levels on many Northwoods lakes often only go back a few decades, if they exist at all.

But one researcher has figured out a way to see the story of lakes going back hundreds of years.

That history, and a clue about the future, is as simple as tree rings themselves.

“We’re proposing using these trees as an Excel spreadsheet, as a way to get at [the history of] these lake levels,” said Dom Ciruzzi, a UW-Madison graduate student working at Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction.

Rhinelander's Playwright

Nov 6, 2019
United Press International

Many notable people have lived in the Northwoods at one time or another in their lives. Sometimes some very accomplished people that listeners may not have known about started out right here in the Northwoods. Dale Wasserman was one such person.

Image by Mickey Estes from Pixabay

Do hummingbirds ride the backs of geese to escape our winter weather or is that another old wives’ tale?

The Masked Biologist has the answer in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Simple parts of life make Mary Watkins happy.

She kayaks on her lake, hosts football parties, and enjoys time with her yellow lab, Ruby.

“I have a dog.  I like to walk my dog.  I would be afraid to go out there.  You came down that road.  It’s narrow.  I think it would disrupt the quiet.  It would disrupt the whole reason everybody’s here,” Watkins said.

Watkins is talking about a company’s proposal to send three tanker semis daily down the one-lane road to her home on Carlin Lake near Presque Isle in Vilas County.

Wisconsin Historical Society

In the early morning gloom, it is easy to imagine what might the thing be that goes bump in the night.  Sometimes the thing that is really there turns out to be so unusual that it is hard to believe.  Such an event happened at Rhinelander’s Paper Mill in 1935.

Image by Peter Hoare from Pixabay

This week’s Wildlife Matters was inspired by a Curious North question, which piqued the interest of the Masked Biologist who shares several interesting facts about otters with all of us.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Alyssa Ullrich and her husband love life on the water.

“We have the two docks.  Our ski boat goes on this lift, and then we’ve got a fishing boat that goes over on that lift,” she said, standing on her dock on a channel of the Manitowish Chain in Vilas County.

Her nine-month-old boy, Baxter, squirmed in her arms.

For weeks, Ullrich has watched the water level on the ten-lake Manitowish Chain, including her channel between Rest and Stone lakes, go down.

It does every year to protect permanent docks, lifts, and seawalls like hers from ice damage in the winter.

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