Ken Krall

News Director

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Ken has been  News Director at WXPR since 2000. This is his second stint with the station, having served as Operations Manager and Morning Edition host from 1987-1995.

A 1976 graduate of UW-Stevens Point, he has served in a variety of roles in radio including sports play-by-play, sales, Program Director along with an extensive background in news. Ken has also worked as an assignment editor in a TV newsroom and as a city reporter for a local newspaper.

A passion of his is the WXPR Saturday morning polka show which he brought back to the air in 1989. He loves many styles of music, especially those that DON'T include a guitar.

A native of Antigo, he likes to birdwatch, fish and read and hopes to someday publish a book he's had in his computer for 15 years.

It's time to file taxes, and a state Department of Revenue spokesperson says filers need to be wary of someone trying to steal their money electronically.

Spokesperson Stephanie Marquis says about 85 percent of all state tax filings are online. She says the Department of Revenue's system has never been compromised...

Many people without warm winter clothing will be helped as the state Department of Tourism reports a record number of items donated to their annual "Big Bundle Up" campaign.

Department of Tourism spokesperson Kristina LeVan says residents, travelers and businesses across the state were very generous...

"....we broke our collection record with more than 22,000 items donated across the state. The whole campaign over the last couple of years has collected more than 71,000 items in total..."

Legislature Favoring Private Municipal Water Owners

Feb 1, 2016

A state Senate panel has endorsed a bill that could make it easier for private investors to own public water utilities in Wisconsin.

The G-O-P measure was endorsed on a three-to-two party line vote, and it now goes to the full Senate after the Assembly earlier approved a similar bill. Right now, private out-of-state firms can buy public water supplies, but affected voters must approve the deals in referendums.

The bill from Assembly Republican Tyler August of Lake Geneva would make referendums optional.

While parts of Wisconsin are seeing very low unemployment numbers, 5 of the 15 highest numbers of unemployment come from Northwoods.

Preliminary December 2015 rates decreased or remained the same in 68 of Wisconsin's 72 counties compared to rates in December 2014. The latest rates ranged from 2.9 percent in Dane to 8.7 percent in Iron. lsewhere in the Northwoods, Vilas had the state's fifth highest rate at 7.8 percent, Forest at 7.2, Oneida 6.2, Langlade 5.9, Lincoln 4.9 and Price at 4.7 percent.

Caterpillar Inc has confirmed they will close its forest products facility in Prentice and move production to existing Caterpillar facilities in LaGrange, Georgia, and Victoria, Texas.

The company issued a statement on its reorganization today.

The transition will impact approximately 220 positions in Prentice. Those positions include office and production employees as well as agency workers.

Midwest leaders from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are reminding rural uninsured residents that the deadline to enroll for healthcare is coming soon. The next open window in the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act closes on Sunday.

Stan Gruszynski is state USDA Rural Development Director. He says prior to the the Act, rural families paid nearly 50 percent of health care costs out of pocket. He says nearly one in five farmers are in debt because of medical bills....

Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board this week approved a record number of bear harvest permits.

DNR wildlife biologist Dave MacFarland of Rhinelander told the board the goal is to maintain populations in the Northwoods. They would also like to stabilize the population south of Highway 64, and reduce the population in northwestern Wisconsin. He says bear population numbers and conflicts are the highest in that part of the state. MacFarland says the DNR would authorize 11,500 permits with a bear harvest quota of 4.750. He says interest in bear hunting continues to grow...

Seven persons have died in fires this week in Wisconsin and an American Red Cross spokesperson says it's time for everyone to check for fire hazards.

Two children in Sheboygan Falls died this week in a house fire. Another fire in Antigo injured a teenager. Several other fires have been reported in the Northwoods this winter.

American Red Cross spokesperson Barbara Behling says fires kill more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning strikes combined. She says one of the deadly fire starters is smoking in bed...

Aspirus and WPS Health Solutions announced the formation of a new health insurance company in north-central Wisconsin.

Called Aspirus Arise, the company will begin marketing individual marketplace, small and large group and self-funded plans in 16 counties in this region. A holding company owned equally by Aspirus and WPS will provide governance of the new company.

President and CEO of Aspirus Arise Brett Davis says the goal is to provide an affordable healthcare option..

Two resolutions to expand the Vilas county courthouse narrowly passed the county board this week.

An original resolution for $16 million dollars was amended after the board decided not to add the additional space for another courtroom at this time.

The board adopted a resolution first funding two phases of the expansion, known as 1 and 1B, at a price of more than $10 million. That would add just under 36,000 square feet for that cost. The board needed a two-thirds majority to pass that resolution which it did 15-4.

The DNR is taking another round of public comment on a proposed 10-year panfish management plan.

DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says the plan aims to improve panfish opportunities for anglers including restoring size structure on lakes where smaller fish have become more prevalent in recent years, improving habitat, engaging anglers and supporting research on panfish. He says other species have their own plan..

Nicolet Area Technical College

Students have another option to raise money for classes at Nicolet College as the college Foundation is accepting online scholarships now through February 26.

Foundation Executive Director Heather Schallock says they expect to award more than 250 scholarships....

"....for most of our scholarships we require a 2.5 cumulative GPA. There are a few scholarships that require a higher GPA, but for the most part, that is accurate. We also have part-time scholarships for students enrolled in part-time credits...."

Legislation has been proposed in Madison that would make some broad changes in how the state and counties administer local veterans services.

Among the provisions, it would allow counties the option to keep the current arrangement for a County Veteran Service Officer, or not have a local officer and go into a consortium with other counties. Currently the CVSO's are mandated by the Wisconsin statutes in each county. It would allow non-veterans to be that CVSO and eliminate several duties now done locally and put them under the direction of the state.

Next month high school seniors and others have a chance to get instant help filling out the forms needed to apply for college financial aid.

Each winter, College Goal Wisconsin is held at a number of places around the state.

Nicolet College is hosting a session on February 27 at the Learning Resources Center. A few days earlier, February 24, a session is scheduled at the Education Center in Lac du Flambeau.

Nicolet College Director of Financial Aid, Jill Price, says by going to these sessions, many questions about financing your schooling can get answered...

The League of Women Voters of the Northwoods is inviting citizens to a forum involving the 22 candidates for the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors. League spokesperson Jane Trotter says the event is designed for the public to meet and ask questions of the candidates...

"....its non-partisan as county board seats are non-partisan. There are 22 seats open. It's an opportunity for them to meet their constituents..."

Trotter says the audience will submit questions and there also will be questions on specific issues...