Natalie Jablonski

Community Features Editor

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Prices at five-year high
3:52 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Propane Supply Under Pressure

Propane prices are up, and supply is under pressure.
Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/59641171@N08/5468335363/in/photostream/

With the cold winter we’ve been having, those heating with propane may be wincing at the cost of filling a tank.  Prices this winter are up more than 60 cents since this time last year.

A gallon of propane in Wisconsin right now costs an average of $2.15, according to the US Energy Information Administration.  Last January, that price was closer to a dollar fifty.

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Carnivores in the Northwoods
4:00 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Wolves, Cougars and Bears, Oh My

Bear hunting is popular in Wisconsin, with record numbers being harvested last year.
Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/lazymonkey/348519518/

Dave MacFarland is a large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin DNR.  He coordinates the state’s wolf and bear management plan, plus its cougar response team.  

He’s also the guest at this week’s Science on Tap discussion at the Minocqua Brewing Company.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with him about what carnivore management looks like in the state.  

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Frost May Bite Your Fingers
5:05 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Keep Warm on Cold Days

In a cold snap like this one, it doesn’t take long for temperatures to become a health risk. Amy Lavin is a nurse practitioner at the Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff.   She says in weather this cold, exposed skin can become frostbitten in about 5 minutes.  If you’re exercising or have certain medical conditions, you might not even notice it happening. 

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Cold Times for Canines
5:00 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Keeping Warm a Challenge for Some Animals

Horses can survive a cold winter, as long as they are kept out of direct wind.
Credit Aonghus Flynn

With temperatures expected to stay well below zero for several days, humans are not the only ones suffering.  Animals kept outside may also be having a hard time. 

Dr. Ron Reupert at Animal Health Care Center North in Rhinelander says most pet owners know how to take care of their animals.  But he says many dog breeds like hounds aren’t built for weather this cold. 

“Short haired dogs I have seen not do well.  If they are kept outdoors, they need to have a supplemental heat source, and a lot of people do do that.” 

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Fifteen Extra Holes
3:56 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

GTac Applies for More Exploratory Drilling

Gogebic Taconite has proposed drilling 15 exploratory holes in Iron and Ashland counties.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Gogebic Taconite wants to drill more exploratory holes in the Penokee Hills this winter.  The mining company has applied for a permit to drill an additional 15 holes. 

The holes would be about 2 and a half inches in diameter, with depths ranging from 280 feet to almost 1500.   GTac drilled eight similar holes last summer.    DNR mining project lead Larry Lynch says these holes would be in different areas of the Penokee Range.

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Annual Winter Tradition
4:51 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Ice Castle Rises Again After Two-Year Hiatus

Eagle River's 25-foot ice castle is complete.
Credit Eagle River Fire Department

Eagle River’s legendary ice castle has been built once again by the area fire department.  

The design is new every year, but the method isn’t:  Eagle River deputy fire chief Jim Bonson says the ice harvesting saws and other tools date back more than 80 years.   

 “We’ve been doing it since 1933 as a community and it just has become a tradition.  When we don’t have it, like the last two years due to weather conditions, people get excited when all of a sudden it appears.”

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Expanding Job Opportunities
2:31 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Construction Training Program Welcomes Less Traditional Workers

Construction is a male-dominated profession, but a local jobs nonprofit is trying to broaden the pool.
Credit S Lampkin / US Air Force

A job training program is looking to help women and minorities join the construction trade.   

The Transportation Alliance for New Solutions- or TRANS program - starts later this month.  Coordinator Kim Kircher says the 120-hour course will cover everything from math skills to hands-on use of tools.    

“We try to prepare them for a trade in the construction field.  They have speakers come in – we have contractors come in, they have mock interviews, they do a resume.”

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Over Two Months On the Water
4:00 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Mississippi Paddler Returns from 70-Day Trip

Eleven paddlers traveled down the Mississippi to get a new perspective on the river.
Credit Paddle Forward

A Northwoods paddler has returned from a canoe trip down the Mississippi.  

Eric Immeler and ten others left in September to paddle from the Mississippi headwaters to New Orleans.  The group interviewed the people they met along the way about the role the river plays in their lives.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Immeler about his reflections on the journey that ended two days before Thanksgiving.

The trip was organized by the environmental education group Wild River Academy. 

Eric Immeler grew up in Woodruff and now lives in Minneapolis.  

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Source of Crime
10:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise

Unused and outdated prescriptions are the source for significant drug abuse.
Credit Bradley P Johnson

The Vilas County Sheriff says drug abuse continue to be a growing problem in the area.  Sheriff Joe Fath says the department works closely with Lac du Flambeau tribal police in its investigations. 

“Prescription medication, synthetic THC, heroin, those are the three big ones that we see affecting our communities.” 

Lac du Flambeau tribal leaders declared a state of emergency last spring to address a growing drug problem on the reservation. 

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Eighteen Years As Chief Deputy
2:03 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Governor-Appointed Vilas County Sheriff Says He'll Run For Election

Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath says he’ll run for election to the office next year.  Fath was appointed sheriff upon the death of Frank Tomlanovich in June.  To remain sheriff, he’ll have to be elected in November. 

Fath says he has been planning to run for over two years – even before his appointment. 

He says during most of his 18 years as chief deputy, federal law required chief deputies to abandon their posts before running for sheriff.  That provision was recently changed.

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