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.

No injuries were reported as a fire heavily damaged parts of a home north of Rhinelander Tuesday morning.

Firefighters report going to 4475 Poplar Drive in the town of Pine Lake about 8:30 a.m.

One person was inside the dwelling along with two pets, and all got out safely.

The family is being assisted by the Red Cross. Fire Chief Brian Gehrig says the fire is believed to have started in a living room.

Heat and smoke also damaged the home.

An anti- expanded gambling advocate says a potential Wisconsin legislative bill could  put legal Internet gambling on every smartphone, which she says would be the largest expansion of gambling in state history.

Executive Director of Citizens Against Expanded Gambling, Lorri Pickens, says a similar bill died in the last legislature.

While Whooping Cough has been in the news in the Northwoods recently, quietly the number of influenza cases in Wisconsin continues to rise.

Oneida County Health Department Nurse Rob Deede says the state is reporting flu is starting to affect senior citizens...

An economist says the moves recently made by the Federal Reserve could eventually impact interest rates when we borrow money.

Last month, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates a quarter of one percent, reflecting signs that the economy was growing and to slow inflationary pressures.

Independent auditors have found Wisconsin's state forested lands are examples of being well-managed and some of the states most valuable resources.  Those assessments from a recent audit of state managed woods.

DNR forest certification coordinator Mark Heyde says the audit teams gave glowing reviews of management practices on state lands. Department owned lands are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council. Heyde was asked what this audit means for the public..

Alzheimer's Association

More than five million persons today are living with Alzheimer's Disease, 1 in 3 seniors dies of Alzheimer's Disease or another dementia, and last year, the disease cost the nation $236 billion dollars. Those figures are a back drop for a series of educational programs sponsored by the Alzheimer Association in the Northwoods.

Spokesperson Kathy Davies says all of the programs are free. There is one set for January 17 in Rhinelander...

The fitness facilities often see an influx of new customers after January 1 as many people make a resolution to improve their health. By summer, many of the attendees aren't showing up any more.

Wellness and Aquatics Director at the YMCA of the Northwoods...Stephanie Ruckheim...says keeping your resolution to get fit will be more successful if you follow a plan...

The legislature will return to session this month, and leaders are organizing the committees that will do the work.

State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst says a new state Senate committee is likely to emerge for the next session. He says with the election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress, he says the state is anticipating a change in federal-state relations and is shaping a committee to deal with the change....

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Wisconsin jobless numbers continue to fall, as the state preliminary numbers for November show decreasing unemployment across the Northwoods and the state.

Preliminary rates decreased in all 72 counties when compared to November, 2015. Unemployment numbers for the year ending in November are the lowest since 1989, and continuing unemployment claims are the lowest in 30 years.

Labor Market Economist Scott Hodek says the economy is stable and the future indicators show the economy to continue to grow.

But three counties here saw more jobs being created...

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The new year means it's likely easier to get some of your vital records.

Oneida County Register of Deeds Kyle Franson says  legislation last year allows for county officials to get most records online, even if you you weren't born in a certain county.

Say you need a birth certificate....

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An outbreak of whooping cough, or pertussis, appears to be slowing according to an update given Friday by the Oneida County Health Department. Health Department spokesperson Rob Deede outlines the cases...

The numbers include cases in Vilas county. Deede says they discovered links between the cases in the Rhinelander School District and Northland Pines school in Eagle River. Both districts shut down early for the holiday break to help stem the spread of the highly contagious disease. Both districts are scheduled to reopen next Monday.

Wisconsin DOT

Reaction continues to come in following the retirement  announcement of DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb and the naming of former Superior Mayor Dave Ross as the new Secretary. Ross has lead the state Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst thinks Ross is qualified to lead the large agency with his business and government experience....

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Law enforcement officials say a drunk driving arrest can cost a driver $10,000 when all the costs associated with the arrest are factored in.

An Oneida County Tavern League spokesperson says the popular 'SafeRide Home' program has proven successful. Patrons at Tavern League establishments ask the bartender for a voucher and the patron gets a free ride home. Aaron Schultz of  Big Daddy's in Rhinelander is the local coordinator.

He says this weekend highlights the program, but it is a program being used year round..

Wisconsin DNR

You can still get your Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey in to the DNR.

The agency is hoping hunters will record all the wildlife they have seen during the deer hunting seasons, not just deer.... says agency research scientist Jess Rees-Lohr.....

"....this year, in addition to lots of deer, lots of turkeys, Roughed Grouse, lots of our canidae species, and our new elk just reintroduced in the Black River Falls area...."

Oneida County Sheriff's Department

The Civil Service Commission has forwarded a dismissal recommendation against an Oneida County Sheriff's Department investigator charged with allegedly taking money from a fund only she controlled.

The Commission forwarded charges of dismissal against 40 year old Sara Welcenbach.

The Commission cites eight grounds for dismissal, including alleged willful neglect of duty, making a false official statement or entry in official records, and general inefficiency and incompetency.