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

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Wisconsin Monsters

Legendary monsters and spirits live wherever there are people to tell their tales – including Wisconsin. Artist Mike Bass tells us about the Wisconsin folklore that inspires his artwork.

Photo: Mike Bass

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Claw Foot Tub

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Responding to an ad for an old tub, writer Nickolas Butler found both a tub and a sense of connection.

Nickolas Butler is the author of the novel Shotgun Lovesongs.  

Photo: Andy Chase 

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Abraham Lincoln in Wisconsin

Abraham Lincoln was born on this day in 1809. While he’s most commonly associated with the state to our south, writer Dean Robbins tells us the little known story of Lincoln’s 1859 visit to Wisconsin. 

Dean Robbins is the editor of Madison’s alternative weekly, Isthmus

Photo: Travel Wisconsin

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Historical Fencing

Fencing for sport and combat as existed for thousands of years in many forms and in many cultures. Appleton police officer Aaron Pynenberg is a medieval combat specialist. He’s traveled the world teaching and demonstrating his craft, and is the lead trainer for the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association. Producer Aubrey Ralph went to check out Wisconsin’s historic fencing community. 

Photo: Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association

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Birchbark Canoe

As a young boy, Wayne Valliere’s grandmother said to him, “Your grandfathers are written throughout history. I challenge you and your brothers to think, what will your grandchildren say about you someday?”  That inspired Valliere to pass on his Native American culture to young people in his community.  One of the ways he does that is by teaching them how to craft traditional birchbark canoes.

Interested in learning more? Follow this link to a blog about Wayne Valliere’s work on the birch bark canoe.

 

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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.

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Voyage of Discovery

15-year old Brianna Thom isn’t being shanghaied into serving on a ship like in days of old, but has voluntarily signed up to join the only all-female tall ship crew in the world.   The Green Bay teen boards the Unicorn to spend a week as part of the “Sisters Under Sail” program.  The program’s goal is to help young women learn that they can be self-resilient… on board the ship and in life. 

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Clan Mother

Molly Miller is a clan mother among the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans. Historically, clan mothers were decision makers in their communities. Today, Miller works to revitalize her culture and community, motivated, in part, by the tragic loss of her son. 

This story was produced by Finn Ryan of the Wisconsin Media Lab for The Ways. Learn more and see the video at theways.org

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Marilyn Rinehart and Angie Kauffman take us on a tour of Pier Natural Bridge Park.

Photos: Larry Sanders

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A Walk Through Time at Pier Natural Bridge Park

Wisconsin’s landscape is dotted with spectacular geologic formations. Producer Nancy Camden happened on one in Richland County where she met Marilyn Rinehart and Angie Kauffman who walk us through time at Pier Natural Bridge Park.  

Photo: Larry Sanders

Music: Kathy Fry, “Summer’s End”

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Bayfield’s Maritime History

Tourists have flocked to Bayfield for more than a century. But it was fishing that brought settlers and prosperity to the area in the 19th century. Writer Dennis McCann tells us the story.  

Dennis McCann is a retired journalist and the author of several books, including This Superior Place: Stories of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands.


Photo: Don Albrecht

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Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouses have guided navigators through the Apostle Islands for more than century. Commentator Dave Cieslewicz has spent his last few summers in the lighthouse on Sand Island, helping to preserve and share Wisconsin’s rich maritime history.

Dave Cieslewicz teaches at the UW-Madison and is the former mayor of Madison. 

Photo: Travel Wisconsin

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Saving Kewaunee’s Clock

If you leave Kewaunee in a hurry, it’s easy to miss the world’s largest grandfather clock sitting on a hill north of town.  The company that built the clock moved three years ago, leaving it behind.  Producer Joe Hardtke takes us to meet the man who’s trying to save time. 

Special thanks to WFRV-TV in Green Bay for the archival clock story from 1984. 

Learn more about Jason’s efforts to save the clock.

 

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River Rat:

Today we meet Kenny Salwey, one of the last of Wisconsin’s “river rats” — people who once made their lives and their living along the Mississippi River.

The last of Wisconsin’s river rats, Kenny Salwey is a storyteller, educator, and the author of "Muskrat for Supper."

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Martial Arts Elvis:

August 16th marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis’s death. And while many people will make the pilgrimage to Graceland to mark the occasion, commentator Dean Robbins tells us about a place a little closer to home.

Dean Robbins is the editor of Isthmus, Madison’s alternative weekly.

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