Wisconsin Life # 701: Headfirst

October 3, 2019


Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald visits the yards of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to see how the legacy of shipbuilding continues in Sturgeon Bay. She talks with supervisor of skilled trades Joel Kaczmarowski, welder Gabriel Host-Jablonski and steel fitter Kylie Owen. She learns shipbuilding is an ancient trade now done with modern techniques and modern equipment involving a lot of moving parts to assemble those massive vessels that sail the Great Lakes.


Fitzgerald also shares a collection of all-new stories from our Wisconsin Life team, including a profile of maritime archeologist Tamara Thomsen who explores the underwater shipwreck of a scow schooner that sank in 1890 a few miles off the coast of Sheboygan. She and her team from the Wisconsin Historical Society have catalogued and collected data on 752 sunken vessels in Wisconsin waters. If unable to reach a shipwreck by diving, the team uses a remotely-operated vehicle with a video camera.

Next, we catch up with Middleton teenager Shruti Parthasarthy who is accomplished in Bharatanatyam, a form of traditional Indian dance. She has performed in cities across the United States and India, and is now using her talents to help others. She started an initiative titled “Calm with Kalaa,” where she teaches Bharatanatyam techniques to both children and adults in the Madison area to help them relieve stress.

Then we travel to La Crosse to meet two Irish Road bowlers. Invented during the Renaissance, Irish Road Bowling is making a comeback in Wisconsin. Luke Seielstad and Brady Hoeth are leading the way as this unique sport comes to the backroads outside La Crosse. The idea is to throw a 28-ounce iron ball down a road. Wherever the ball leaves the road is where you start your next throw. The two-person team to reach the finish line with the fewest throws wins.

Finally, “First Day of School” is an animated story written by Joe Shaffer describing the dreadful anxieties and jitters that come with his experience of the first day of every school year. Joe takes us on an emotional roller coaster through the halls of Madison’s West High School find out that this year might not be so bad after all.


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