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Four men struggle to move barrels down the dirt main street of Hustler.
Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society

We have a new selection of stories all about the feats that come out of challenging times.

We start with a Milwaukee poet who explores the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico through his creativity. Next, we find a fighter who discovers a passion for mixed martial arts after moving to Arcadia.

We meet a mother who shares her experiences bringing a new life into the world during a global pandemic. Then, we share the story of a teen trumpeter who had the opportunity to star in a musical bringing awareness to a rare blood condition. 

Finally, we visit Ripon to check out how an old bank has been transformed into a creative space for the community!

Stay creative,

-The "Wisconsin Life" Team

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and surrounding islands in 2017, it was devastating. The storm tore through communities, decimated cities and towns, and brought on widespread power outages. As Puerto Ricans living stateside watched the disaster from afar, many felt powerless.

Poet Karl Michael Iglesias wanted to help in a way only he could. So, the Milwaukee native and Brooklyn resident channeled his thoughts into a debut poetry collection, “Catch A Glow.” He shares the poem, “Shuttered New,” which he created from a series of newspaper clippings

Mixed Martial Arts Part of
American Dream for Young

Felipe Martinez Donis shares his story of coming to the United States. In 2005, Donis’ father had taken on a lot of debt to plant crops. A hurricane struck Guatemala destroying the crops and leaving the family with nothing. Unable to pay back the money, Donis’ father crossed Mexico by bus, entered the U.S. by foot and was given refugee status.

In high school, Donis joined the wrestling team even though he admits, “I didn’t know a single thing about what the sport even was.” Today, Donis completes in mixed martial arts and earned the number one spot as an amateur fighter in Wisconsin

Bringing a new life into this world is a blessing, and being able to share a newborn with family and friends is one of the biggest joys parents can have. But the coronavirus pandemic has taken those moments away from many families, leaving them with a slew of emotions to work through. WPR’s Andrea Anderson shares these feelings in a letter to her newborn, Magnolia.

Chippewa Falls Teen Performs In
New York City Musical About Hemophilia

Colin Orth dreams of being a traveling musician. The teenager plays trumpet in the Chippewa Falls High School jazz band, but Orth’s childhood wasn’t always so harmonious. After being referred to a hematologist, he was diagnosed with Hemophilia B at five months old.

In 2018, Orth had the opportunity to fly to New York City to rehearse and perform in a Broadway-style show titled “Hemophilia: The Musical.” The play raised awareness about bleeding disorders, but also encouraged the actors to take care of themselves as they enter adulthood.

There’s a place in Ripon that’s providing a space for musicians and artists to get as creative as they want to. At The Heist, organizers have converted a former bank into a community space that they hope will bring people together. Ayisha Jaffer recently spent a weekend there and introduces us to the makers at The Heist.

This newsletter was sent to <<Email Address>>. Wisconsin Life is a co-production of Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin.

Funding for Wisconsin Life comes from Alliant Energy, Lowell and Mary Peterson, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and the Friends of Wisconsin Public Television. For questions or comments about Wisconsin Life, please use our contact form.

© 2021 Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin, services of the Educational Communications Board and The University of Wisconsin-Madison 

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