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

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Rice Harvest

Wild rice isn’t actually a rice at all. It’s an aquatic grass that has been an important food for native people for centuries. Fred Ackley, Jr., from the Mole Lake Reservation learned to harvest rice from his grandmother, and he continues to harvest and process it to this day. 

This story was produced by Finn Ryan for The Ways. 

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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 107

Watch this episode to meet individuals who share a slice of their Wisconsin lives, including: dragon boat uber-enthusiasts Curt and Janine Chiaverotti, Juan Botilla and his group of Monona Grove High students, UW-Madison custom glass blower Tracy Drier, Hmong community leader Katie Thao, and David Cieslewicz who describes how a family tradition turned a deck a cards into much more.

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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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Wrestling in Wisconsin

This weekend, teams from around the state will compete in the WIAA State Team Wrestling Competition. High school wrestling is a Wisconsin institution, and Kaukauna High School is perennially one of the top-ranked programs. Seth Jovaag spoke to the man in charge about his passion for the sport.

Photo: Paul Stumpf, Jr. and P.S. Portraits

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Wisconsin’s Love of Euchre

Wisconsinites have a passion for euchre. While sheepshead and cribbage have their ardent fans in certain parts of the state, euchre seems to cross all of Wisconsin’s geographical and cultural divides. WPR’s Breann Schossow tells us the story of this simple but competitive game. 

Photo: Wikimedia

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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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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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Houdini in Wisconsin

On January 27, 1908, magician Harry Houdini debuted his sensational milk can escape. It was a challenge he described as his greatest invention. Writer Dean Robbins fell in love with Houdini as a kid, and today, he shares the story of the man who grew up in Appleton.

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

Photo: Library of Congress

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Inside the 45th Parallel Distillery in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Photos: Rich Kremer/WPR

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Drinking the Scandinavian Way

In Wisconsin we’re known for our love of beer and brandy.  But a micro- distillery in the small city of New Richmond

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Sheepshead in the Family

Dave Cieslewicz’s family introduced him as a young boy to the game of Sheepshead.  The complicated card game bonded the men in his family together; and years later, Cieslewicz carries on the card game tradition with his Wisconsin friends.

Written and narrated by Dave Cieslewicz, animated by Michael Williams

While Sheepshead is popular, Wisconsin also has a lot of rabid Euchre fans… find out what makes people so passionate about this competitive game

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The Story Behind The Capitol Christmas Tree

Every year, holiday decorations at the Capitol include Christmas trees donated by a Wisconsinite. WPR’s Breann Schossow tells us more about this tradition and the man behind this year’s tree. 

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Holiday Drink Stirs Memories of Grandpa

For many of us, the holidays aren’t complete without a favorite food or drink. Writer Julie Buckles’ grandfather was famous for the holiday cocktails he served – not necessarily because they were good but because of the memories that drinking them stirred.

For Julie’s recipe for Not Your Grandpa’s Tom & Jerrys, visit her website.

Photo: Julie Buckles

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