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It's your place for engaging stories of the people that make Wisconsin feel like home.

Holocaust Dresses

In 1939, Paul Strnad sent a desperate letter to his cousin in Milwaukee in hopes the relative could help them emigrate from Prague after the Nazi invasion. The letter contained eight dress designs created by Hedy Strnad (Paul’s wife).  They hoped their cousin could find a manufacturer for the dresses.  Seventy-five years later, with the help of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater Costume Shop,  Hedy’s dresses are on display at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee in the "Stitching History" exhibit.

Take a closer look with museum director Kathie Bernstein on a walk through the exhibit design concept and content.

Read this New York Times article for more on the Strnad family’s story and the research that has gone in to the exhibit.

And be sure to check out the Wisconsin Humanities Council’s reflection on the museum’s effort to preserve the work of Hedy Strnad at the Working Lives Project page.

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Brass Rooster Hats

In this story by Litmus Pictures, meet John & Kate McLaughlin.  The Milwaukee couple runs the Brass Rooster Hat Company; and in addition to handcrafting hats, they offer full cleaning and repair services, custom fittings and customer service as traditional as the 100 year old equipment they use to make their hats.

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Running Wisconsin’s Tallest Building

13,000 volts of electricity flow into Wisconsin’s tallest building every day, and for the last 22 years, one man has been in charge of making sure the lights stay on. 

Learn more about Wisconsin’s working people on The Working Lives Project from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

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Keeping Calm in the ER

Amid the hustle of the state’s busiest emergency room, nurses have to keep a cool head. Rebecca Ramizini takes us inside a hospital on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s working people - and hear more from Rebecca Ramizini - on The Working Lives Project from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Photo: Seth Jovaag

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Cow Chip Champ

South Milwaukee’s Terry Stramowski is widely recognized as the champ to beat… in the Wisconsin Cow Chip Throw and Festival.  Terry has taken first place during 18 of the annual events – and placed second in five other years.  What is her tossing secret?  What is her driving motivation?  We head to Prairie du Sac with Terry to investigate.   Thank us now for not broadcasting in smell-o-vision.

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Queens of Harmony

Ella Ray and her friends regularly sing to the heavens.  They’re part of a seven-member gospel quartet called the Queens of Harmony, and they’ve been singing around Milwaukee for almost 50 years.  Along with the joy of singing, their music has also taken these women around the world and brought them closer to one another.

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Milwaukee Blacksmith

Kent Knapp has been studying blacksmithing since he was 19 years old.  He worked with a master blacksmith for a few years in Milwaukee and now runs a traditional blacksmithing business that involves his wife and 4 children.  A huge part of the draw to this art form for the family is Kent’s love for Milwaukee architecture and its rich history with iron.  Now Kent expresses his passion for Milwaukee’s history by designing his own ironworks. 

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Watch Wisconsin Life Episode 106

Watch this episode to meet a whole new collection of people who share their Wisconsin lives, including: Chef Tory Miller, Susan Cosgrove who operates Paoli’s one-stop-shop for anything fowl, elite gymnist Marvin Kimble, opera singer and artist Jennifer Stevens, and Lyle Anderson - the official carillonneur for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Self in the City

The ways we find and define a home depend on many different variables. Shauna Singh Baldwin has lived and worked all over the world but found something particular in Milwaukee. 

Shauna Singh Baldwin is the award-winning author of several novels, including The Selector of Souls.

Photo: Shauna Singh Baldwin

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Milwaukee Gymnast

Marvin Kimble’s travels as an elite gymnast and current member of the United States National Team have taken him far from his home in inner-city Milwaukee. And unconditional support from his dedicated mother has allowed Marvin to grow from a troubled beginner to a disciplined competitor, poising him for a shot at the Olympics. Watch as this Wisconsin athlete goes for the win.

Marvin is already competing on an international stage. Watch him in action on the parallel bars at the 2014 Winter Cup Finals

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Will Allen

As a former professional basketball player, Will Allen never thought he would trade in his jersey and sneakers for some fertilizer and a rake. But his passion for making fresh food widely accessible to people living in Milwaukee’s low-income urban areas has driven him to create Growing Power, a nonprofit organization celebrating 20 years of providing healthy, affordable food for people in all communities. 

Will’s Growing Power operation centers around aquaponics – where a symbiotic relationship is created between fish and plants. Watch Will explain how his system works.

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Irish Dance in Milwaukee

Irish dance is booming in Milwaukee, where there are seven dance schools and counting. Irish dancers typically keep their arms straight at their sides while their legs quickly leap, kick and shuffle across the floor. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, WPR’s Maureen McCollum attended a recent Irish dance competition, known as a feis, in Oconomowoc to check out Wisconsin’s dancers and teachers.

Photo: Molly McCollum

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Irish dancing in Milwaukee

Photos: Molly McCollum

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Mariachi Strings

When Dinorah Marquez moved to the U.S., she didn’t speak any English and was quite shy and scared.  She eventually found her voice through playing an instrument.  Decades later, Dinorah hopes to give other young students the same experience through Milwaukee’s Latino Arts Strings Program.

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Woven Together in Art and Life

Wence Martinez grew up in a Mexican town famous for its weaving. When he ran across a drawing by Milwaukee artist Sandra Hackbarth, the two began an artistic collaboration that grew into love. Today, Wence and Sandra Martinez share their art and their lives in Door County.   

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