We Live Up Here

WXPR's We Live Up Here series is a home for stories that focus on the people, history, and culture that make the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan such a unique place to live.

You can keep track of We Live Up Here and all of WXPR's local features on the WXPR Local Features podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.

Stormy Kromer Facebook

Instead of making its iconic Stormy Kromer hats, Ironwood-based Jacquart Fabrics is now making hospital masks and gowns.  Near Antigo, wildlife rehabilitators don’t have the luxury of staying away from work.  In this edition of We Live Up Here, we explore how COVID-19 has changed the landscape of businesses in our area.

Jim Skibo

Badger Minerals, a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, wants to begin exploratory testing in eastern Oneida County near the headwaters of the Wolf River. The area sits on an ancient volcanic deposit that often contains high concentrations of zinc, lead, copper, gold, and silver. Recently, a group met in Mole Lake, which sits a few miles from the site, to express their concerns over the proposed mining.

Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Member Nick Shepard began his speech by saying, “I’m here today in support of protecting the Wolf River, again.”

Image by Jim Skibo

If you say the name, “Stormy Kromer,” most people in the northwoods will know that you are referring to the iconic wool cap with earflaps that dates back to the early 1900s. What you may not know is that the hat is made in Ironwood, Michigan by Jacquart Fabric Products, a company that even has Rhinelander connections.

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. 

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.

White Lake Ice Fishing

Jan 24, 2020
Image by Jim Skibo

A winter ritual in the northwoods is ice fishing. This time of year, anglers take to the lakes for pan fish, northern pike, and the prized walleye pike. Jim Skibo met up with some hardy anglers on White Lake to learn more about this cold weather sport.

Few people have the knowledge, tackle, and proper boat to fish the vast and often unpredictable waters of Lake Superior. For 56 years however, one Bessemer, Michigan resident has found his calling running a fishing charter out of Black River harbor, not only providing his customers with an experience of a lifetime, but also creating lifelong friendships off the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the world.   

A Christmas Tree Story

Dec 21, 2019
Image by Jim Skibo

For decades, families in southern Wisconsin have enjoyed Christmas trees and wreaths produced on a farm in Langlade County. Many of those families know their decorations come from a different family—one of four generations held together by boughs, traditions, and laughter.

Image by bones64 on Pixabay.com

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

Photo courtesy of Wayne Valliere/Native Arts & Cultures Foundation

Birchbark canoes take a long time to make, but master artist Wayne Valliere from the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tells us that the process is an important one, and can serve as a metaphor for the value of teamwork.

Mackenzie Martin continues our We Live Up Here series with the story.

Mackenzie Martin / WXPR

When someone lives to be a hundred years old, everyone asks them for the secrets to their longevity.

Trees, on the other hand, live to be hundreds and hundreds of years old. How do they survive?

Mackenzie Martin recently headed to an old-growth forest with naturalist John Bates to learn more.

Photo courtesy of Jim Skibo

Arts and crafts style furniture⁠—first produced in the early 1900s⁠—is considered by many to be the hallmark of American design and artisanship. Original pieces can go for millions of dollars at auction and furniture made in that style today can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars.

Today WXPR contributor Jim Skibo continues our We Live Up Here series with the story of a man in Antigo who has mastered the style at a unique time in his life.

Courtesy of UW-Madison Center for Limnology

If you’re a fisherman in the Northwoods, you’re well aware of the decline in walleye populations over the last few years.

Why is this happening, though? And is there a way to reverse the trend? 

Mackenzie Martin / WXPR

There are several Masonic Lodges of Freemasons here in the Northwoods, but the network has always had an air of mystery.

Recently we received a Curious North question asking us to investigate the history of local Masonic Temples, which led us to wonder… what is the role of a Masonic Temple in a community?

Mackenzie Martin headed to the Rhinelander Masonic Temple and the former Wausau Masonic Temple to find out.

Sa magnuson33/Wikimedia Commons

We’re continuing our series on the historical influence of mining in the Upper Peninsula today, specifically in the Ironwood area, with the story of the Ironwood Carnegie Library. (Listen to Part One about how neighborhoods in the Upper Peninsula got their names here.)

There are Carnegie libraries all over the country, including in Merrill and Rhinelander. While Andrew Carnegie did a lot of good for libraries though, he was a controversial figure.

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