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Wisconsin Life #405: “From the Heart”


October 12, 2016

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This collection of stories from people sharing their “Wisconsin Life” includes the story of Dana Barre and Heartland Farms, the only animal sanctuary in Wisconsin providing care for homeless farm animals. Heartland was created by Barre, a stay at home mom and actuary, who wanted a place to bring unwanted farm animals and at-risk youth together to heal, grow and have fun in a peaceful environment.

Then Wisconsin Life travels to Waunakee to meet Manfred Schonauer, a Comstock man who grew up near Cologne, Germany but only found his true passion in life decades later, after finding himself living in Wisconsin’s rural Polk County.  Schonauer channeled his love for music into a renovation of an old, secluded school house – transforming the antiquated building into an updated living space and concert hall for fellow music lovers.

Next, it’s over to Milwaukee to meet Martine Anderson, a Washington Island woman who originally lived in the Provence region in south of France and long dreamed of one day having a large, lush, lavender garden of her own.  When she and her husband Edgar moved to Washington Island as retirees, they started their own lavender farm and also brought a source of employment to the young people on the island.

Also on tap, a trip to the Janesville Senior Center where a ping pong club meets three times a week. Those mornings, the table tennis trio of Velma Burke, Larry Hynek and Mike Nelson sharpen their already formidable table tennis skills.  Burke’s competitive spirit inspired her to enter table tennis tournaments around the state, including the annual senior games in Madison, and the Senior Olympics in Milwaukee. She’s won multiple gold medals in both competitions, making her one of the most accomplished ping pong players in Wisconsin. In 2013, Burke and Hynek took their talent across state lines and qualified for the national senior games in Cleveland, Ohio.

Finally, Wisconsin Life heads to Lodi in southern Wisconsin to learn about Anita Peterson. For the last three years, Peterson has been obsessed with steampunk. She makes her own outfits and accessories and holds steampunk themed parties. All done in the small town of Lodi.

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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.