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

From a few yards away, a woman and four small children watch a massive machine rumble to life.

They stand, look, and point as a boat is lifted by the Burnt Rollways Boat Hoist, carried over a road and dam, and dropped gently in the water on the other side.

“It’s a novelty,” said Scott Blado, who is operating the machine. “It’s just kind of a thing that you go and do. It’s not really a ‘we’ve got to go that way’ kind of thing. It’s more of an event.”

This week, operators fired up the hoist, the only one of its kind in the state, for the summer season.

The summer tourist season has begun, but how summer visitors get to the Northwoods has always been an important part of the local economy. Air travel is a modern means of getting to a vacation destination, but air travel to the Northwoods started earlier than many people realize. Historian Gary Entz has the story:

Humane Society of Marathon County

Across the county, pet adoptions have seen a dramatic increase since the beginning of the pandemic. In areas where the virus is more prevalent, some shelters have even run out of dogs and cats for adoption. Although local Northwoods shelters still do have animals available, there has been a notable increase in the number of adoptions. Jim and Debbie Boman, of Merrill, recently adopted Delilah, a Labrador-Pitbull mix from the Humane Society of Marathon County.

image by trevor205 on pixabay.com

The Conservation Congress Spring hearing results are out, but haven’t gotten a lot of attention—that is until the Masked Biologist decided to examine the results of some very important questions in this week’s wildlife matters.

Rebecca Gotts

At first glance, the YouTube video simply shows a young girl playing with Legos at her home.

But if you listen closely, it’s something more.

Six-year-old Wren Gotts is describing her Lego creations, by color, in Anishinaabemowin, the traditional Ojibwe language.

Wren patiently holds up each piece, explaining it in the language.

wisconsin historical society

The Memorial Day weekend is nearly here. While Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer season, it is worth remembering that what was once known as Decoration Day is about so much more. Historian Gary Entz has the story of early Memorial Day ceremonies.

Pixabay

Many in the Northwoods do not have access to high speed broadband internet. That’s a critical gap in modern living, especially with the health emergency keeping people at home. State grants through the Public Service Commission have recently been awarded to some communities and counties to help remedy the situation.

image by pascalmwiemers on pixabay.com

Did you know that right now there is a restriction on which areas you are able to run your dog off-leash? The Masked Biologist does, and he shares it with us in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

As the crow flies, Wildcat Falls near Watersmeet and the Upper Wisconsin River Legacy Forest near Land O’Lakes are only 15 miles apart, on opposite sides of the Michigan-Wisconsin border.

But in some ways, these protected places couldn’t be more different.

From one, water flows north to Lake Superior. From the other, it flows south, eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.

Huge old-growth trees dominate the area near Wildcat Falls, while a young forest supporting threatened species is common near the Upper Wisconsin River.

But they do have one thing in common.

With many people currently out of work, some economists are comparing current unemployment levels with that of the Great Depression years. So far, however, the social safety net has held, and suffering is not yet at 1930s levels. Historian Gary Entz has the story of Rhinelander’s Hoovervilles.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Badger Minerals plans to begin drilling in eastern Oneida County in less than a month, according to documents filed with the county.

The mining exploration company’s plans were just approved by the DNR, the final hurdle to commence exploratory drilling.

The firm told Oneida County 24-hour-a-day drilling near the Wolf River will begin on June 1.

Image by erik_karits on pixabay.com

For this month’s Field Notes, Susan Knight talks about the elegant , but short-lived mayflies common in our lakes and streams.

Image by Ylvers on Pixabay.com

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.

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