Love Wisconsin? You'll love Wisconsin Life.
It's your place for engaging stories of the people that make Wisconsin feel like home.

Download

Motorcycle Heaven on the Mindoro Cut

A windy road makes for motorcycle paradise. Ron Davis tells us about a legendary stretch of highway near La Crosse.

Ron Davis is a writer and teacher in Central Wisconsin.

Photo: Craft Barn 

Comments
Download

Riverboat Through Time

Steamboats are embedded in the history of the La Crosse area. However, a passion for those vessels continues to bring that history to life. Producer Breann Schossow tells us more.

Photo: Breann Schossow

Comments

Photos from the La Crosse Queen.

Photos: Breann Schossow/WPR

Comments

Watch Wisconsin Life Episode 103

This week, the stories of life around Wisconsin include a trio of Lake Geneva mail boat jumpers, a woodcarver who captures delicate details, the director of Milwaukee’s Latino Strings Orchestra, a Madison photographer who documents the night skies and a roving band of “yarn guerillas” in La Crosse. 

Comments

What a Tangled Web We Weave

A crafty group moves through the dead of night to leave their mark on La Crosse’s public spaces… their cozy, soft, knitted marks. “Drop Stitch Murphy” and her renegade gang of fellow knitters engage in stealthy “yarn bomb” displays of public art. They anonymously drape library sculptures, city light posts and other public spaces in knitted forms.  

In fact, yarn “bombing” is an international craze. Knitters in Pittsburg attempted the biggest yarn bombing in the U.S. this summer by covering the Andy Warhol bridge. 

Comments
Download

La Crosse Olympian George Poage

George Poage moved to La Crosse as a young child in 1884. Locally, he was known as a scholar and remarkable athlete. He went on become the first African-American on the UW-Madison track team. But his greatest triumph came at the 1904 Olympics when he became the first African-American to medal in the 200m and 400m hurdles. WPR’s Maureen McCollum talked with UW-La Crosse retired special collections librarian Ed Hill about George Poage’s life as a student athlete in La Crosse.

Photo: La Crosse native George Poage (front, left) with the 1903 University of Wisconsin track team. Photo courtesy of UW Athletic Communications.

Comments

Do You Believe That?

La Crosse professor Brian Udermann is on a mission to debunk common health myths - many of which we may have originally heard from our well-intentioned parents. Think carrots improve your eyesight? Or that sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes? What about waiting for 20 minutes to swim after eating? According to Professor Udermann, you may want to check your facts.

After the segment, take professor Brian Udermann’s six question quiz and see how you do.

Comments
Download

Singing and Dancing Through La Crosse with Peaches

In a city that lacks celebrities and diversity, someone like Peaches stands out. She’s best known for singing and dancing all over La Crosse in incredibly bright outfits. WPR’s Maureen McCollum spent a morning walking around with Peaches, and although she’s surrounded in mystique and rumors, she shakes off the negativity by just being herself. 

Comments
Kong Mong Yang hammers out a hot piece of metal to elongate the knife Kong Mong Yang shows off a knife and tool he made in the blacksmith shop. All the parts are made from recycled materials, except for the copper handle cover. The forge's billow makes the fire flare up. Classic Hmong knife blades. According to Tong Khai Vang, knives with a nice, sharp blade belly and a perfectly straight back are ideal Kong Mong Yang hammers out a hot piece of metal to elongate the knife. Many of the tools that Kong Mong Yang uses in the blacksmith shop were made by his mentor and blacksmith master, Tong Khai Vang. Kong Mong Yang's younger brother tries blacksmithing for his first time. He places the piece of metal into the forge's fire so he can pound out and elongate it, creating a blade.

Scenes from the La Crosse Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association blacksmith shop.

Photos by Maureen McCollum

Comments
Download

Hmong Blacksmith Shop:

The Hmong community has historically been self-sufficient. In the back of the La Crosse Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association is a blacksmith shop where people melt their own metal and pound out hot, glowing orange strips of metal into knives. WPR’s Maureen McCollum recently visited the shop where she met apprentice Kong Mong Yang and master blacksmith Tong Khai Vang. Kong translates for Tong Khai.

Comments

Scenes from Rosie’s Cafe in La Crosse where Rosie Perez and her daughter, Teresa Kerns, work and cook together daily.

Photos by Maureen McCollum

Comments
Download

Breakfast at Rosie’s:

Every morning at 5:30, Rosie Perez and her daughter, Teresa Kerns, open up the quaint and cozy Rosie’s Café in La Crosse. They’ve been working together for almost 30 years. Rosie’s usually in the back making soup, pies, cinnamon rolls from scratch, while Teresa switches between serving tables and cooking on the grill. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, WPR’s Maureen McCollum spent a morning with them and found that their secret to success is working together as a dependable team.

Comments
Download

Broomball:

Broomball is just like ice hockey, except players wear shoes and use a ball instead of a puck. The game originated in Canada in the early 20th century and eventually made its way to La Crosse where bar-sponsored teams play weekly during the winter. WPR’s Maureen McCollum took to the ice in a rink along the Mississippi River.  

Comments
Download

George Edwin Taylor:

More than a century before Barack Obama’s historic run for the White House, a man from LaCrosse blazed a trail for him. Although most people today have never heard of him, George Edwin Taylor was the first black American to run for president on a party ticket. Historian Bruce Mouser recently uncovered the story.

Commentator Bruce Mouser is an emeritus professor of history at UW-La Crosse and the author of For Labor, Race, and Liberty: George Edwin Taylor, His Historic Run for the White House, and the Making of Independent Black Politics.

Comments
Download

Oktoberfest:

People in La Crosse have been decked out in lederhosen and dirndls all week for the city’s 51st annual Oktoberfest celebration. Beer-drinking is a big part of Oktoberfest, but for most festival goers, it’s primarily a celebration of German heritage with friends and family. With a thick smell of sauerkraut in the air, Maureen McCollum took a stroll through last weekend’s Maple Leaf Parade.

Comments