Wisconsin Life # 708: Driving Passions

November 21, 2019


In Kenosha, the library comes to you! Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald renews her love of reading by checking out the Kenosha Public Library Bookmobile. To learn about how this program got its start, Angela talks with the library’s outreach coordinator, Jill Miatech. Having the library travel to them is important for Camille, a patron of the bookmobile, who requested the bookmobile make a stop near her home.


Fitzgerald also shares a collection of all-new stories from our Wisconsin Life team, including a visit with Florian Bieschke. He lives on a small tract of land in Arbor Vitae where he is keeping the art of hand bookbinding alive. Originally from Chicago, he now enjoys the company of deer, squirrels, and chipmunks while he creates, repairs and restores books using 15th Century tools such as a sewing frame to stitch pages together.

 Next, we meet Joey Smith of Kaukauna. He did not always feel comfortable growing up, and a chaotic time in high school brought him to the Challenge Academy, a six-month reform school run by the Wisconsin National Guard. The program was a last-chance option for Smith to get his life back on course, and it worked. Years later, he recommended the program to a colleague who had a son struggling in a similar way Smith had. Smith was tapped to be a mentor in the program to help guide the next generation.

Then we travel to Chippewa Falls. There Colin Orth is chasing his dream of being a professional musician while managing life with hemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder. As a teen in 2018, he auditioned for a role in a New York City play titled “Hemophilia: The Musical.” He sent in a recording of himself singing some of his favorite songs. He got a part in the Broadway-style show that raised awareness about bleeding disorders, but also encouraged the actors to take care of themselves as they enter adulthood.

Finally Wisconsin Life meets Ms. Miele. A self-described publisher, editor, social worker, activist, and general hell raiser. After only seeing stereotypical images of black people, she founded UMOJA magazine in Madison in 1990 to portray the positive attributes of the black culture. She did everything: took photos, interviewed people, and wrote up their stores. She explains tha t in the Swahili language, moja means “one.” When you add u, it becomes “together.” All of us.


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