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.

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Wisconsin's frozen road law took effect today in roughly the northern half of the state.

The declaration applies to all numbered state and federal highways. The law does not apply to Interstate highways except to portions of I-39 and I-41.

The frozen road law allows heavier loads for trucks carrying peeled or unpeeled forest products cut crosswise (not including wood chips), and salt and sand for winter maintenance until approximately early March.

Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce

The new Executive Director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce is someone already well known in the community and the search committee announced Maggie Steffen has been named to the post.

It has been vacant since the departure of Bill Clow in the fall.

Steffen is a Rhinelander native and most recently was Executive Director of Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. before cutbacks there caused her position to be terminated.

pixabay

An annual report issued by Citizen Action of Wisconsin shows the Affordable Care Act slowed the cost of health insurance increases in Wisconsin, though the long term trend is toward rapid inflation.

Executive Director Robert Kraig says they have data going back to the year 2000 to juxtapose with the recent numbers...

Wikimedia Commons

The holiday Grinch has arrived at the gas pumps, as prices are rising before two travel weekends coming up.

Senior Petroleum analyst at the website gasbuddy.com, Patrick DeHaan, says the recent cold weather was a factor in prices going up a few cents at the pump....

"....the extreme cold over the last week has resulted in at least temporarily refinery 'glitches' that should be resolved in the next week or so. At least for now it's impacting the price of gasoline locally...."

Wikimedia Commons

Administrators say it's a preventative measure, but Northland Pines has joined the Rhinelander School District in closing for Christmas vacation early because of whooping cough in the area.

On the Northland Pines webpage, they report that the closure is preventative in nature to avoid the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Director of Pupil Services, Emily Rhode says some cases have arisen..

GHTRAILS.ORG

Due to a surge in donations, the trail connection between Conover and Phelps looks to be moving closer to reality.

Jeff Currie is the President of Great Headwaters Trails, working to get the work going next summer on the next 5.5 miles section of trail. He says the project is more than 85 percent toward its funding goal.

He says they were $250,000 short of their funding goal one year ago...

Rhinelander Area Food Pantry

Donations are welcome at area food pantries as the holiday season is upon us.

Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen says leading up to the holidays people have been generous. He says they will always accept donations of food, and people have been giving items that often aren't available like pie filling.

But, he says, there's one way that provides more purchasing power to feed those less fortunate...

en.wikipedia.org

More Northwoods trails are opening for the winter season.

Trails on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are open for the season.

Forest county snowmobile trails will open at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, December 23. Vilas and Oneida county snowmobile trails have opened for the year.

wisconsin.gov

State Senator Janet Bewley says a change implemented by the Walker Administration will hurt rural seasonal workers and businesses who traditionally use unemployment when seasonal work ends.

Bewley says many jobs in rural Wisconsin are seasonal...

PIXABAY

Over the next 18 months, all 3,100 public housing agencies in the U.S. will be required to go smoke-free.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development released new rules late last month.

Oneida County Community Health Specialist Corie Zelazoski says the rule requires agencies enact smoke-free policies applying to all living units, indoor common areas, offices and within 25 feet of buildings...

Wikimedia Commons

The new fallen snow will help snowmobile riders itching to get out in the Northwoods. Oneida County has announced the state funded snowmobile trail system administered by the county will open for the season at noon on Tuesday.(Dec. 20)

Oneida County Snowmobile Council President Jim Wendt says the late warm fall weather postponed the hard freeze necessary to get the land under the trails in good shape for snowmobiling. But that has changed with the recent cold. He says the trails can't hold grooming equipment yet, but they can hold sleds.

Public Domain Pictures

Northwoods Transit Connections is hosting a special bus ride Tuesday night around Rhinelander for Seniors and disabled people to see the holiday lights.

Transit Manager Jim Altenburg says so far they have about 50 riders and more are welcomed...

"....December 20, we are putting on a Christmas light tour. Our drivers are volunteering their time from 6-8 p.m. We're going to be taking Seniors and disabled folks on a short 15-20 minute ride around town to see some of the Christmas lights..."

Wikimedia Commons

Whooping Cough, or Pertussis, has closed the School District of Rhinelander early for Christmas break.

The announcement below is from the district website.

KK

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A joint decision between the School District of Rhinelander (SDR)and the Oneida County Health Department(OCHD)announces the closing of Schools in the School District of Rhinelander due to the high incidence of a variety of illnesses among students and staff. Presently, the main illness emerging is Pertussis (Whooping Cough).

PIXABAY

The weather is making the news this weekend and Dawn Robinson from Oneida County Emergency Management says make sure you're prepared for lots of snow, and bitter cold Sunday and Monday.

Robinson says don't assume the power will stay on, especially if there are  high winds...

"....start looking at ways for alternate heat sources. Make sure everything is vented properly...refer to owners manuals if you need to use any type of electronics such as a generator and stuff...."

Dawn Robinson says if you must travel, check 5-1-1 and local broadcasts.

Wikimedia Commons

A former Prentice contract rural route mail carrier has entered a guilty plea to one count of mail theft.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin says 47 year old Belinda Chizek pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Madison.

Last September , a federal grand jury in Madison returned a one-count indictment against Chizek.

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