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.

Oneida County Sheriff's Department

It's a busy few days for the Oneida County Sheriff's Department with tens of thousands of visitors coming to the Rhinelander area for the Hodag Country Festival.

Sheriff Grady Hartman says the department is staffed up this weekend...

"....most of our deputies end up working out there. A lot of them are on overtime, some of them are on straight time. We leave some of the deputies back to cover the calls in the county and transport if we get any prisoners back to the jail...."

Hartman says they plan for the extra staffing required...

Andrew Padgett-WXPR

Down it comes!

The former Kabel Auto Building, not far from Rhinelander City Hall on Stevens St. has come down.

The city received a grant to demolish the aging building.

Kautza Excavating did the demolition work. The site will be a city lot.


It's the peak of summer in the Northwoods and traditionally, gas prices should be at their highest. Not this year and probably not for the forseeable future says a gas price expert.

Senior Petroleum Analyst for the gas price watchdog website gas buddy dot com(, Patrick DeHaan tells us the latest prices...

"...statewide, gas prices are up just slightly in the last week across Wisconsin. Prices bottomed out right around July 4 slightly higher than $2.22 a gallon. Today the average is about $2.23 so not a huge increase...."

Wikimedia Commons

A report earlier this week by Wisconsin News Connection's Tim Morrissey with a Red Cross spokesperson found a critical shortage of blood donors in Wisconsin.

A regional rep agrees and says the public can help out soon.

Marc Sutton is regional blood representative for the American Red Cross. He says the need for blood doesn't change, but the supply does because of a a variety of factors...

Danielle Petrasky/Elle Photograph/HGTV

A Tomahawk teacher has won a national contest from the cable TV network HGTV.

On the HGTV website, it said Stacy Bolder was surprised when an HGTV host showed up at a local establishment with a camera crew to get her reaction.

Bolder won the HGTV Smart Home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Along with the home, which HGTV says is worth $1.5 million, Bolder and her husband also won a 2017 Mercedes-Benz and $100,000 from Quicken Loans.

Fire fully engulfed a residence in the Vilas county Town of Cloverland Wednesday afternoon.

The Sheriff's Department reports responders arrived at 5680 Cloverland Drive to fight the blaze.

The home has been unoccupied for some time.

Several agencies responded to the blaze. No injuries reported and the dwelling was total loss. The fire remains under investigation.

Wikimedia Commons Gourami Watcher

The 40th annual Hodag Country Festival officially begins Thursday(7/13) at the grounds north of Rhinelander in Pine Lake. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to hear some of the top acts in country music.

But aside from the event, the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce notes all the visitors have a huge economic impact on the community.

Chamber Director Maggie Steffen says state numbers crunchers have come up with an economic impact in Rhinelander....

A 20-person crew gathered Wednesday morning at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest office in Rhinelander before heading out west to help with large fires ravaging the region.

Forest Service spokesperson Hilary Markin details how the interagency crew is composed... Creative Commons

Elcho schools continue to get a makeover as construction continues toward a much different school building in 2018. Ground was broken last April after voters in November, 2016 approved an $18 million referendum.

The project will move the entrance, add additional gym capacity, and the music and band areas.

Superintendent Bill Fisher says even with the abundant rainfall they've been able to stay on schedule....

City of Rhinelander

A grant from the Rhinelander Community Foundation has improved the docks at Hodag Park in Rhinelander.

This week the city council approved a $5,000 donation.

Parks Director Jeremy Biolo says they will slide the docks northward down the beach and put boulders along the beach to slow erosion. Biolo said there wer larger docks at the park about 10 years ago, but they got old and unsafe.

Mayor Dick Johns thanked the Foundation...


Add Walmart to the Rhinelander large retailers appealing their taxes.

Large retailers are using a legal tax loophole to challenge their property tax assessments.

The "Dark Store" loophole proponents say their store may have cost $10 million to build and maybe on a thriving retail corner, but they argue that because their building is so unique, the only thing you can use as a comparable for tax purposes is an abandoned retail store, hence 'dark store' loophole.

Wikimedia Commons Max Wolfe

Tourism officials are concerned about the growth of the short term rental industry and one person says a number of concerns have surfaced locally.

Websites advertise available openings from property owners interested in making a few dollars in property not being used.

Kari Zambon is an owner of Holiday Acres in the town of Pelican and a member of the Oneida County Tourism Council. She says some people selling property are telling potential buyers that if they buy the property they can rent it out.

But Zambon says Oneida county has rules about short term rentals...

Wikimedia Commons

Vilas county is the latest location in Wisconsin to report a dead bird with West Nile virus.

Vilas County Health Department officials report the dead crow found June 29 has tested positive.

This is the first bird to test positive in Vilas county this year. West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. Oneida County reported a dead crow last week.

Officials say always use precautions such as insect repellent and proper clothing, especially at dawn and dusk.

Charges are likely to be filed soon concerning a stabbing incident Saturday near Tomahawk.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department reports a man was stabbed about 1:30 Saturday afternoon in the town of Bradley.

Law enforcement was able to take an unidentified suspect into custody without incident.

The injured person was taken to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau and no condition was available. Deputies say it was an isolated incident. The suspect will make an initial court appearance next Monday in Lincoln County court.

The name of the man whose body was recovered July 3 from a Vilas county lake has been identified.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department reports the person who drowned was 71 year old Michael Manicke of Waterford, Wisconsin.

Pending a toxicology report, the death has been ruled an accidental drowning.

Authorities were notified on July 3 of a boat without a person in it anchored on Razorback Lake in the town of Plum Lake. Manicke's body was recovered from 7-10 feet of water by the Oneida County Dive Team.

Officials said Manicke was not wearing a life jacket.