Natalie Jablonski

Community Features Editor

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Looking for Volunteers, Donations
2:56 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Food Pantry Says Holidays Are Peak Time

Canned food donations are good, says the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry, but monetary ones go further.
Credit Salvation Army USA West

Grocery stores and shopping centers aren’t the only places seeing heavy traffic this time of year. 

Rhinelander Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen says demand goes up during the holidays.

“Our business increases – we have a lot of people that come in, when they wouldn’t come in other times of the year, because they’re preparing for holidays, company and so on.  And money’s always a little short at this time of the year.” 

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Arts & Life
5:10 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Christmas Bird Count May See Fewer Seed-Eaters

Black-capped chickadees are common at Northwoods bird feeders in winter.
Credit Tashiarr via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Black-capped_Chickadee_eating_seed.jpg

Manitowish Waters will hold its annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count Saturday. 

Groups throughout the Northwoods and across North America help track long term trends in winter bird populations. 

It’s the twenty first year of the Manitowish Waters count.  Coordinator John Bates says over that time he’s seen significant change in bird populations.  This year he’s expecting low numbers, especially of seed-eating birds that often travel here from Canada.              

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Good Snow Means Tourists
2:56 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Holiday Snowmobile Traffic Brings Good Tidings for Businesses

This weekend, snowmobile riders can hit the trails in most of Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties.
Credit Manfred Werner

Snowmobile trails are opening across the Northwoods.  Phelps trails open Thursday, and Forest County trails open Friday.

Most Oneida County trails opened Wednesday.  Minocqua Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Baltus says wintry conditions this early in the year is a big deal.

“It’s been several years since the trails have been open before the holidays, and a very long time since we’ve been able to really invite tourists to come and spend their holiday vacation hopefully between Christmas and New Years in the Northwoods.”

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Three More Hearings to Go
4:59 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Rural Schools Task Force Hears From Superintendent, Administrators

Transportation costs have been cited by many rural school districts as a big challenge.
Credit John O'Brien

The Assembly Speaker's Rural Schools Task Force held its third hearing Tuesday in Madison. 

  

Legislators heard more than three hours of testimony from educational groups and administrators.   State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers spoke about the financial challenges facing rural schools.

"We need to do something about fixing our funding system for all the schools in the state.  We need to find ways to allocate resources that take into account the income levels of families, and not just the community's property value." 

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A Look At Insurance Premiums
4:47 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Rhinelander Healthcare Costs Rank Average Statewide

Rhinelander health care premiums are falling somewhere in the middle as compared to the rest of the state.  That’s according to a new report from progressive group Citizen Action of Wisconsin.  It compares health insurance rates in different regions statewide.

It finds Madison tends to rank lowest, while the highest premiums are found in the Milwaukee area and in far Northwestern Wisconsin. 

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Controversy Over Indian Team Names
4:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Mascot Bill Could Become Law Thursday

A bill relating to race-based mascots is still sitting on Governor Scott Walker’s desk.  He until the end of the day Wednesday to sign or veto the bill, before it automatically becomes law.  The bill changes a process established in 2010 for how to handle complaints about race-based school mascots and team names. 

Supporters of the new process say it’s more fair – a person has to prove a mascot is discriminatory before they can get it changed.  And that person needs a petition of signatures to file an initial complaint.  Here’s Representative Steve Nass, who authored the  bill. 

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Running for Congress
2:31 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Democrat Westlund Campaigns in Rhinelander

Kelly Westlund spoke in Rhinelander Tuesday, after declaring her candidacy for Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

A Democratic challenger to Representative Sean Duffy paid a visit to Rhinelander Tuesday.  Kelly Westlund declared her candidacy last week.

About thirty people gathered at the Rhinelander Days Inn to hear from the newest candidate to represent Wisconsin’s 7th  Congressional district.  The 30-year-old Kelly Westlund has served for two years on the Ashland City Council.  Her background is in environmental and sustainability work.  And she says she’s not worried about being relatively new to the political game. 

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Upgrading All Lighting
5:18 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Crandon Schools Net Thousands For Energy Upgrades

WPS and Focus on Energy presented Crandon Schools with a substantial check Monday.
Credit Wisconsin Public Service

Crandon School District is getting a financial boost to pay for energy conservation measures.  Wisconsin Public Service and the statewide Focus on Energy program presented Crandon Schools with a $34,000 check Monday to help pay for energy-efficient lighting. 

District Administrator Jim Asher says the school was looking to save money on costly energy bills.

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Treaty Rights Tested
3:37 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Tribes Begin to React to Night Hunting Ruling

Night hunting of deer has long been banned in Wisconsin, but some of the state's tribes argue it's a federally protected treaty right.
Credit Oregon Department of Transportation

One of Wisconsin’s tribal leaders is expressing disappointment at last week’s federal ruling against night hunting.  

Six Chippewa tribes had filed suit, arguing that night hunting in ceded territory is a federally protected treaty right.  But Judge Barbara Crabb ruled against the practice Friday, citing a risk to the public.

Lac du Flambeau Chairman Tom Maulson says it’s a traditional practice that hasn’t resulted in any incidents.

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Item Removed From Agenda
12:05 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Iron County Won't Evict Harvest Camp, At Least Not This Month

Several flags of supporting tribes stood outside the entrance to the Harvest Camp in summer 2013.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp in Iron County won’t be going anywhere for the time being.  The Iron County Board has taken the camp’s eviction off its Tuesday agenda. 

Harvest camp residents have been staying on county forest land since the spring in response to Gogebic Taconite’s mine proposal.  But the Iron County Forestry Committee voted last week to evict them.

Iron County Clerk Mike Saari says this week’s delay doesn’t mean the issue is gone for good. 

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