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Wisconsin Life #312: “Wunderkinds & Winter Races”


January 1, 2016

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A member of the medical team that performed the first full face transplant, a man who organizes drag races on icy lakes and a taxi cab driver are a few of the Wisconsinites who share their stories in this episode.

This collection of stories from people sharing their “Wisconsin Life” includes the story of De Pere resident Melinda Roberts.  After moving to Wisconsin for work and facing a serious health scare, Roberts set out to explore her new home state by finding and photographing historical markers and sites. Roberts talks about one of her favorite markers – Smokey the Bear signs – and how she made a connection to a city in Netherlands.

Then Wisconsin Life travels to Eau Claire to meet Eric Lee. As a trained artist with a young family, Lee channeled his creative instincts in his small detached garage. Inspired by time in industrial Superior and motivated by basic economics, Lee began building designer snare drums and exploring an “explosive” medium.

Next, it’s over to Green Bay to meet Tina Sauerhammer, a child prodigy who entered college at age 14 and is the youngest person to ever graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and then the University of Wisconsin Medical School.  Sauerhammer has experienced personal tragedy, but has persevered to also find great success is life.  In addition to her academic achievements, Sauerhammer has a long list of other, varied accomplishments… including being part of the medical team that performed the first full face transplant, winning the Miss Wisconsin pageant and becoming a role model for young women. Find out what Tina found harder… being a doctor or being Miss Wisconsin.

Also on tap, a trip to the Merrill area where during the dreariest days of winter, gearheads and racing fans take to the ice on Lake Alexander for a series of winter drag races that have continued for half a century.   Meet Bill Bunnell, who runs the show as the president of the Merrill Ice Draggers, and hear what it is about ice drag racing that revs him up.

Finally, Wisconsin Life takes to the streets of Madison with Philip Ashby – a television production designer by day and a taxi cab driver by night.  In this animated story, Ashby describes the special relationship that is shared between a taxi driver and his passengers as they share a ride through the night. 

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2018-01-19T17:52:48+00:00 Tags: |

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WISCONSIN LIFE tells character-driven stories that reveal what makes Wisconsin unqiue and distinctive through the diverse experiences of its people.