Our free programs are open to everyone on Mondays beginning at 6:30 PM.
If cancellation is required, an announcement will be made on WDUX and Facebook.
Past Speakers -
Feb 15, 2021
History of Gerold Opera House - Weyauwega
Ian Teal, Executive Director of the Weyauwega Arts Organization, which currently owns and operates the Gerold Opera House.
Opera Houses were a source for live entertainment in rural America starting in the late 19th century. This program covered a brief history of Opera Houses and went into depth about the history of the 1915 Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega, Wisconsin. The history of Weyauwega and the surrounding area was addressed as well as what role the Gerold plays in the community today.
Building the Green Foundry - Sustainability Initiatives at Waupaca Foundry
Bryant Esch, Director of Environmental Engineering at Waupaca Foundry, presented this program.
Waupaca Foundry, as the largest producer of gray, ductile, austempered ductile, and compacted graphite iron in the world is working to set environmental benchmarks in the metalcasting industry. Waupaca Foundry’s primary sustainable goals, and the environmental activities underway to support them include efforts in the areas of energy use, air emissions, water use and foundry byproduct recycling. The presentation reviewed these historical activities, along with a discussion of environmental successes and challenges recognized for 2021 and beyond.
Link to recording of program.
Nov 16, 2020
Earth Day:A Journalist Reflects on Earth Day at 50 and the Challenges of Today
Bill Berry, Stevens Point-based journalist and writer, has covered the environment most of his life. His 2014 book, "Banning DDT, How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way," was named the top nature book of 2014 by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. He writes a regular column for the Capital Times newspaper of Madison, frequently on environmental topics.
Berry reviewed the good, bad and ugly 50 years after the first Earth Day in 1970. He has covered environmental issues for most of those 50 years and looked at how the awareness generated in 1970 has continued to impact key environmental decisions at the state and national level. Examples included issues of local, state, and national importance, such as how the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act affected Wisconsin's natural resources and the public's understanding of environmental issues.
The western movie has been a staple of the film industry since 1903 and, while less frequently produced today, maintains a loyal following in the 21st century. The talk examined several likely reasons for this genre's enduring presence and explore several fundamental themes and plots that have been carried over from the classic westerns into other classic and contemporary film formats.
Jack Rhodes received his PhD from The University of Texas Austin and held faculty positions at Colorado College, The University of Utah, and Miami University (OH), where he served as Chair of the Department of Communication and as Executive Director of Miami's regional campus in Hamilton. While at Miami he taught a graduate class in Rhetoric of Film and has now served for several years as a seminar teacher of Film Studies at Lawrence University's Bjorklunden Campus.
Record Rain, The Hydro-Illogical Cycle: It's a Busy Time in Water
The last six years have been the wettest on record! Though the excess precipitation has driven water levels and streamflows to historic highs in some places, we’ll have to worry about how high capacity well pumping is drying lakes and streams when rains become normal. Wisconsin may be on the verge of a new era of managing groundwater pumping amounts for healthy water bodies – but don’t count on it yet – there’s politics here!
George J. Kraft, a free-range hydrologist and water policy nerd, is working on issues of groundwater sustainability in Wisconsin. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Water Resources and former Director of the Center for Watershed Science and Education at UW-Stevens Point and Extension. His three-decade long career has been honored with numerous awards, including being named a "University of Wisconsin - System Fellow" and the recipient of the 2017 UW-Stevens Point "University Scholar" award. His ongoing research and outreach has been devoted to how unmanaged groundwater pumping is drying Central Wisconsin lakes, streams and wetlands.
Kathy Fehl, artistic director of the Weyauwega Arts Organization, shared her inside view of plays and playwrights. Kathy Fehl studied theater with Lee Strasberg, one of the founders of the Actors’ Studio. She also worked with Geraldine Page for several years, and has met and worked with many other actors, directors, and playwrights. Fourteen of her plays were produced in small theaters in Manhattan, and she directed both new and classic works.
Plays are markers of the preoccupations of the American public. Though plays tell the story of a group of people, the wider society is a large factor in the rhythm of each piece of theater. All playwrights share this duality. That being said, plays vary greatly in style, and the paths to audiences vary, too.
Fehl's presentation focused on the process of moving from writer to produced playwright. Focusing on several writers’ lives, to see the obstacles overcome on the road to production and success. Playwrights whose lives visited included Eugene O’Neill, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams,Sam Shepard, August Wilson, and John Guare.
Rev. Dr. Thomas Aldworth, author, pastor, instructor in philosophy at Moraine Valley Community College, counselor and pastoral theologian, presented Why is Critical Thinking So Critical? Dr Aldworth explored why critical thinking is such a vital skill for everyone. Certain cognitive biases were touched upon, such the Dunning-Kruger effect where people who know little about something assume a much greater knowledge that they actually possess. What gets in the way of good thinking was explored along with a few guidelines for making decisions reflective of who we really are
Mar 9, 2020
Mar 2, 2020
Climate Change & Human Health
Dr. Paul Sletten, a family practice physician at ThedaCare Riverside
Medical Center in Waupaca, is a climate activist.
The Center for Disease Control recently published a wide-ranging report
on the impact of climate change on human health. Dr. Sletten’s talk
explored how coal, oil, and gas emit pollution when burned, how that
pollution is changing our climate, and how that in turn affects our
Feb 17, 2020
Animal Use in Biomedical Research
Dr. Peter Gasper, DVM, a local practicing veterinarian and a board certified member of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine spoke on
using animals in biomedical research addressing two important emotionally-charged questions that Dr. Gasper will address. 1) How are human beings different than other living organisms? 2) What are the ethics of using animals in biomedical research?
Jimmy Olson, president of the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association and owner/president of Olson Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Sheboygan, presented an overall look into the green burial movement and how funeral homes can better serve families who choose a more natural option.
Olson helped us understand green burial options and environmental impacts associated with green burials vs traditional burials as well as the products and services available.
Nov 18, 2019
Apollo 50 Years After –
Robert Benada, PhD in Physics, worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA’s Manned Space Program brought Americans into space and ultimately to the Moon. This tremendous technical achievement happened in a time of growing social and political turmoil, particularly the Cold War, Civil rights, assassinations, and the Vietnam war. The courage and genius that built to the 1969 Apollo 11 landing was the foundation for a world fleet of Earth and planetary satellites. Currently there is little US movement towards further manned flights beyond Earth orbit (Space Station) so what will our space future hold?
Marcia Bjornerud, Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies at Lawrence University discussed how our culture has no instinct for the duration of the chapters in Earth’s past – the rates of change during previous intervals of environmental instability. We are navigating recklessly toward the future using primitive concepts of time with little hope of finding a common philosophy to bring all factions together for honest discourse about issues like climate change and economic disparity. But a clear-eyed view of our place in time, a habit of mind called 'Timefulness', might be a start.
Visual artist, musician, piano tuner and de facto art historian, Kevin
Knopp presented an overview of French painting in the Art Institute of
Chicago. He explored the cultural and historical context of French urban
life that gave rise to this extraordinary blossoming of visual art from
1869 to the end of the Great War and beyond. The talk complemented a day
bus trip from Waupaca to the Art Institute on Wednesday, November 6.
Knopp accompanied the trip and provided a guided tour through the
Art Institute’s rooms of French Art.
Oct 21, 2019
The Physics of
Art Stevenson, a bluegrass musician and Senior Lecturer in physics and astronomy at UWSP, was joined by fellow musician Professor Emeritus David Tamres, who taught Physics, including a course he developed on acoustics, at UWSP. Fascinating physical principles of woodwinds and stringed instruments were discussed and demonstrated. The pennywhistle and the guitar are examples of how musical instruments produce sound, and of how they are tuned and played. Principles of resonance, fundamental frequency, harmonics and tone were demonstrated using the guitar and pennywhistle.
Professor Stan Temple explored Aldo Leopold’s fascination with natural sounds, introduce the new field of soundscape ecology and shared his detailed re-creation of the chorus of birds at dawn that Leopold meticulously documented at his beloved shack in June 1940. Today, it is increasingly impossible to escape human-made noise, even in places designated as wilderness, making it difficult to study or simply enjoy natural soundscapes. Preserving the natural sounds of a place may be just as challenging as conserving its plants and animals. Leopold proved again to be ahead of his time by noting and studying the role of sound in the natural world.
Patrick Durkin of Waupaca is an award-winning outdoor writer & freelance newspaper columnist. Wisconsin saw its 1st case of CWD in 2002. Its prevalence in SW Wisconsin remained low until 2007. Since 2007 CWD has increased in the core area west of Madison, and spread into adjoining counties and beyond. Today it’s found in wild deer in 26 counties and in captive herds in 7 counties. The DNR confirmed CWD in a record 1,063 hunter-registered deer in 2018. Deer herds in several counties have disease rates exceeding 50%. No other state or province in North America matches our prevalence of CWD. Durkin believes CWD poses a growing danger to Wisconsin’s deer herd and our deer hunting heritage.
Sept 23, 2019
A Violin & Piano Recital In Celebration of Clara Schumann’s 200th Anniversary
Violinist Soh-Hyun Park Altino was accompanied by pianist Dr. Jeannie Yu in this beautiful musical program highlighting composers Clara and Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Amy Beach. Each piece was carefully chosen to illustrate the mutual affection and close personal connections sustained between Clara and Johannes after Robert’s sad death. The inclusion of a work by distinguished American composer and pianist Amy Beach was also shared at the program.
Sept 9, 2019
Hot Air Ballooning:
Flying the Gentle Giants
Steve Dereby, Pilot, and Jeanne Dereby, Crew Chief Extraordinaire, shared their experiences with all aspects of this exhilarating sport. Their talk covered piloting, the importance of reliable crew members, leisure/sport and competition flying as well as instruction, certification, and examination.
Aug 5, 2019
How Wisconsin Abolished the Death Penalty in the 1850S
Brett Barker is associate professor of history at UW-Stevens Point, Wausau campus. Wisconsin abolished the death penalty in 1853 only five years after becoming a state, and shortly after the gruesome hanging execution of a man who murdered his wife in Kenosha. Wisconsin has the distinction of having no death penalty longer than any other state in the nation. Barker will elaborate on the social and political forces that resulted in the historic repeal of the death penalty which at the time was the only sentence available to judges in murder cases.
Author, storyteller and historian Jerry Apps gives a presentation is based on his new book, "The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature's Army at Work." (Wisconsin Historical Society press, April 2019). Between 1933 and 1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a popular New Deal relief
program, was at work across America. Young men lived in rustic CCC camps, planting trees, cutting trails, and reversing the effects of soil erosion. Apps will share some of the rich CCC history in Wisconsin.
July 22, 2019
A Woman Like That
Soprano Krista Wozniak performs a recital presenting a woman's perspective through songs and arias. She has chosen pieces that represent female experience characterized through a woman's voice. Some are by female composers and some have lyrics written by or taken as quotes from women. The music will consist of some familiar pieces and some new compositions, including an aria written specifically for her, from the opera "Smashed: The Carrie Nation Story." It's not exactly a "Me Too" concert, but it will be uniquely female, possibly enlightening, and, entertaining!
Krista will be accompanied on the piano by Nell Buchman.
Author Rochelle Pennington discusses the factual account of the 1914 battlefield Christmas truce, remembered today as “the most extraordinary event in military history” and “the grand human moment.” Pennington's program details the amazing circumstances surrounding 100,000 enemy combatants who “met in the middle” on Christmas and halted a war. She will draw directly from the written memories of soldiers who were there, as recorded in diaries, letters home, and published in newspaper articles. Vintage photographs will be shown, including photos of soldiers exchanging gifts beside Christmas trees lit with candles on the battlefield. Authentic World War I artifacts from the author’s personal collection will be on display.
June 24, 2019
We Rise Together: Journey to embrace others as Equals
Jonathan Overby, ethnomusicologist, lyric baritone, clinician, conference presenter, lecturer, and WPR host will discuss seeking and discovering a new pathway to engaging the stranger among us even as we struggle in the face of public policies, deeply seeded religious traditions, ill-gotten privilege, and widespread hatred.
June 17, 2019
Arab-israeli conflict: major challenge in the modern era
Tim Crain, Director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University, presented on how the conflict between the Israelis and the Arab world has continued for 100 years and there is no solution in sight. Over the past fifty years, the struggle has degenerated into more of an Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as most of the Arab nations have lost interest. What has made resolution all the more difficult, is that both sides have legitimate claims to the same territory. In the presentation he reviewed the past and present relationship of the two entities, and projected to the future in an attempt to review what steps could be taken to resolve the ongoing strife.
June 10, 2019
How Does a Film Mean? Style and Substance in the Classic Hollywood Movie
Jack Rhodes, professor emeritus at Miami University (OH) advanced the theory that the essential success of a classic movie is not necessarily its subject matter alone but rather the craft and style with which the film is put together. He reminded us that the key question to ask ourselves in evaluating a film is not WHAT it means but HOW it means.
APR 29, 2019
Dead Presidents: Strange Deaths, Surprising Afterlives
Thirty-nine of our presidents are gone, but there's a world of monuments, memorials & more around our departed leaders. Brady Carlson calls this the world of the 'post-post-presidency,' and for his book, Dead Presidents, he set out to see it all. Carlson traveled to each presidential gravesite, finding stirring - and occasionally stupefying - ways Americans remember and honor their former heads of state. He talks about why presidents sometimes plan out their funerals in elaborate detail, why some late presidents have had their remains buried and reburied and why there's a town in Iowa that plays a sport named for Herbert Hoover.
Music & Meaning: Isadora Duncan, Modern Dance Pioneer
In a collaborative program with dancer, Pam Luedtke, and pianist, Nell Buchman, the life and work of Isadora Duncan is celebrated through historical and modern choreography, slides, costuming and classical piano repertoire. Isadora Duncan, known as the “mother” of modern dance, lived a unique life and was truly ahead of her time. Hear and see how Duncan’s creative output affected the future of modern dance through six distinctive phases: lyrical, dramatic, heroic, inspirational, studies for children and other dancers.
APRil 15, 2019
Poverty Awareness for Community Engagement
Christi Gabrilska is coordinator of the FoodWIse program in Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca and Winnebago Counties while Amanda Miller is coordinator in Fond du Lac & Sheboygan Counties. This program offers a basic introduction to poverty and hunger as community issues. Information will be shared on accessing localized data and resources on poverty and hunger, increasing audience awareness of the issues. The program will end with ideas for continuing the conversation and mobilizing change.
Dr. Theresa Kaminski, award-winning author of women’s history, returns to Winchester with details about the life of Dale Evans (1912- 2001), one of the most beloved entertainers of the mid-20th century. She co-starred with Roy Rogers, her future husband, in a series of "singing cowboy" films during the 1940s. They made the move to TV in the early 1950s, creating The Roy Rogers Show, one of the most popular programs of the decade. Dale, an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, penned the show's theme, Happy Trails. But exactly how happy were those trails? What did fame cost Dale Evans? This program, complete with music and clips from movies and TV, provides a behind-the-scenes look at Dale's private life and professional career.
Wisconsin’s First Scientist: Increase Allen Lapham
Co-authors Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes explore the remarkable life and achievements of Increase Lapham (1811-1875). His ability to observe, understand, and meticulously catalog the natural world marked his work, from his early days as a surveyor on the Erie Canal to his last great contribution as state geologist. Self-taught, he mastered botany, geology, archeology, limnology, mineralogy, engineering, meteorology, and cartography. His 1844 guide to the territory was the first book published in Wisconsin. Asked late in life which field of science was his specialty, he replied simply, “I am studying Wisconsin.”
Role of Newspapers & Digital Media in Small Communities
Patrick Wood is the CEO and Publisher of Multi Media Channels and publisher of the Waupaca County Post. National media, many regional publications and broadcast media have retreated in serving the local news needs of smaller communities, resulting in a significant void in any generation of local news exposure. When daily newspapers cease to address local news, community newspapers and their affiliated digital sites need to fill this role. A community loses much of its quality of life without the reporting of activities such as high school sports, school board meetings, village council meetings and other important events.
Fair Maps: Redistricting Reform
Sachin Chheda is director of the nonpartisan Fair Elections Project, a campaign to make American elections meaningful again. The Project launched Whitford v Gill that challenged Wisconsin’s legislative district maps for being an unfair, unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The Project also helps to lead the fight to end maprigging and political gerrymandering in Wisconsin and countrywide. A 3-judge panel in U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the Whitford plaintiffs in late 2016, declaring Wisconsin’s legislative district maps violated the 1st and 14th Amendments. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court and continues with additional proceedings in federal courts in April 2019.
Jennifer Angus is a professor in the Design Studies department at
UW – Madison. She composes patterns using thousands of insects, placing them in arrangements that suggest wallpaper and textiles.
She has exhibited her work internationally and been the recipient of numerous awards including Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Wisconsin Arts Board grants. Angus’ exhibition In the Midnight Garden, was part of Wonder, the inaugural exhibition to reopen the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Angus will discuss the evolution of her work and the importance of insects to the environment and our wellbeing.
February 11, 2019
15,000 Years of Human Adaptation
Dr. Ray Reser, Director of the UWSP Museum of Natural History, shares discoveries that detail how early people adapted to rapid changes in climate and food sources as our state rebounded from the ice age and became the place and environment of today. Some of the oldest megafaunal butchering sites in the US are located in Wisconsin. Additional locations are recorded under gravel and clay layers left by glacial advances. Abundant evidence reveals that Native Americans were tracking the edge of the glacial ice as it advanced and retreated through our area, exploiting rapidly changing ecosystems in post-glacial landscapes across the region we call Wisconsin today.
April 23, 2018
John Gurda - Writer, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Rising from roots in a district so tough it was called the `Bloody Third,` Irish Milwaukeeans have scaled the city`s social and economic heights, becoming a fixture on the cultural scene and a perennial power in local politics. Historian, John Gurda will tell the group`s story through the lens of its neighborhoods, its tragedies, and its celebrations, filling out the rich Celtic dimension in a city more typically known for bratwurst and beer.
April 9, 2018
It`s `Reigning` Cats and Dogs – Cougars & Wolves in Wisconsin
Eric Anderson - Professor, UWSP Wildlife Ecology
Carnivores, especially large ones, live at the center of concern and controversy in Wisconsin. This presentation will focus on the current status and future of wolves and cougars in our state. It examines the effects of having them around and looks at what the future holds for them. Professor Anderson will also include some advice on what to do if you encounter them.
March 26, 2018
Courtesy, a Brief History or, What`s the Matter with Kids Today?
Douglas Northrop - Retired Professor of English & Cultural Studies
Retired Professor of English & Cultural Studies at Ripon College. His scholarly interests started with English Renaissance literature, specifically Spenser`s poem, The Faerie Queene, becoming intrigued by Book Six, the Book of Courtesy. That study of courtesy led to an examination of courtesy manuals and courtesy novels of the18th century, and into modern times, touching on Jane Austen, Dickens, Virginia Wolff and Oscar Wilde. He explores what courtesy has meant historically and what changes in gender roles, class structure, and economic circumstances impact our ideas and practices concerning courteous behavior.
March 19, 2018
The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry: View from Riyadh
Beth K. Dougherty - Professor of Political Science
Professor of Political Science, Beloit College, examines the political, economic, demographic, and religious aspects of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry and how it impacts U.S. foreign policy. Since 1979, Saudi Arabia and Iran have competed and currently back opposite sides in regional conflicts. Saudi foreign policy is driven by its fears of Iranian domination in the Persian Gulf, reflecting geopolitical concerns and fundamental worries about its own domestic stability. The pending transfer of power from King Salman to his son and the rapidly changing socio-political context in Saudi Arabia have increased the volatility of the Saudi-Iranian struggle for regional dominance.
March 12, 2018
Bats Under Attack: Threats to the Wisconsin Bat Population
Christopher Yahnke - Professor of Biology
Christopher Yahnke is a Professor of Biology at UW-Stevens Point, in his 17th year in the Department of Biology. Wisconsin is home to eight species of bats, all of them insect eaters. Some migrate hundreds of miles south for the winter while others hibernate locally, within a hundred miles of their summer feeding area. Each of these bats faces unique perils during this period when we enjoy the lack of insects. In addition to the bats of Wisconsin, he will share research on acoustic monitoring of bats and relate how the public can help our bats through citizen science initiatives.
March 5, 2018
The Science of Smiles
Paula Niedenthal - Professor of Psychology
Paula Niedenthal is a Professor of Psychology, UW – Madison, shares her research into emotions. The smile may be the most common and flexible expression. It is used to reveal some emotions, cover others; it manages social interactions that have kept communities secure and organized for millennia. How do we tell one kind of smile from another? Dr. Niedenthal and her international colleagues ran a set of experiments seeking to expand understanding of the human smile. This showed three distinct expressions: smiles of reward, affiliation and dominance. She further describes the facial muscle combinations that make these expressions.
Arctic Raptors Visit Wisconsin
Gene Jacobs - Raptor Biologist
Gene Jacobs is a Raptor biologist with Raptor Services, part-time instructor for UW-Stevens Point`s Outreach Program. Jacobs has spent the past 45 years studying Wisconsin raptors and has banded over 17,000 individuals. He will discuss migration routes and winter habits of a Wisconsin Golden Eagle and several Snowy Owls that he has tracked using GPS transmitters. Jacobs will relate interesting facts about what these birds do during their visit to Wisconsin. A live Great Horned Owl will be present for viewing at the end of the program.
Forest Insect & Disease Issues in Central Wisconsin
Linda Williams - DNR Specialist in Forest Health
Linda Williams Forest Health Specialist for the Wisconsin DNR with degrees in Forestry and Entomology from Michigan State University. An 18 year veteran with the Wisconsin DNR, Williams will talk about forest insects and diseases that were seen in 2017, and what to expect in 2018. Some of the issues include emerald ash borer (first identified in Waupaca County in 2017), oak wilt, problems seen with white oak in 2017, how the wet weather impacted trees, and other forest health issues.
February 5, 2018
The Road to the Higher Ground
Jonathan Overby - Ethno-musicologist, Public Radio Host
Jonathan Overby is an award-winning Wisconsin Public Radio host, ethnomusicologist, singer, conductor, world traveler and member of the doctoral faculty at Edgewood College. This program expands on Dr. Overby`s study of world music and how it can bring a better understanding of the human condition. He feels that the varied traditions of sacred world music may have the potential for building bridges between diverse groups, while illuminating and celebrating cultural diversity and the inclusion of marginalized groups. He states, `Such understanding, may, in fact, reduce human hatred.` New Location for this event: Trinity Lutheran Church
December 4, 2017
Why Poetry Matters: Discussion and Reading
Karla Huston is the author of eight chapbooks of poetry, the latest Grief Bone, and a full collection of poetry, A Theory of Lipstick. Her work has garnered many awards, including a prestigious Pushcart Prize for the poem `Theory of Lipstick.` She received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, three Jade Ring awards from Wisconsin Writers` Association and won the Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest for Flight Patterns. Huston lives and teaches poetry in Appleton, Wisconsin.
December 4, 2017
Who are the Hmong – How are they Doing
Mary Cayford & Jim Vang bring the story of Hmong settlement in Central Wisconsin. The Hmong people were recruited by the CIA to assist the Secret Army in Laos. The US commitment was `Whether we win or lose the war, we will take care of the Hmong`. The program introduces the life of Hmong people before the Vietnam war, how they left their homeland, the dangers endured, and gives a glimpse of the difficulty of complying with INS rules when you are not literate in your own language and can`t speak English. Learn about the struggles and successes of the Hmong as they proudly became American citizens and raised successful children, while winning the hearts of Americans who have come to know them.