Natalie Jablonski

News and Features Contributor

Many northern Wisconsin counties could see zero-level quotas for antlerless deer for the second year in a row.

County deer advisory councils in Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Iron, and Langlade counties have made preliminary recommendations to give out zero permits for antlerless deer.

Vilas County Deer Advisory Council chair Ken Anderson says the council weighed the fact that even with restrictions…youth, disabled and active military hunters can still obtain an antlerless permit.

Pete Rondello

A plan for a bike trail to connect Phelps and Conover has gotten a financial boost.

The DNR’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund is awarding the project $120,000.  That's about $40,000 more than it initially gave. 

Great Headwaters Trail spokesperson Jeff Currie says it will help fund the second portion what should eventually be 11 miles of trail. 

“The section it was applied for is the middle section that goes from Muskrat Creek Road, to where Songhill Lane meets County Highway K, on railroad grade that runs north of Highway K.” 

Two people who died in a car accident and fire in Tomahawk early Sunday morning have been identified as 58-year-old Mark A. Nelson and 57-year-old Lani H. Nelson, both of Merrill.  

It happened near the intersection of East Somo Avenue and Charlotte Street, where police found a vehicle engulfed in flames around 1:30 am Sunday morning. 

Tomahawk police believe the vehicle left the roadway, struck a tree and caught fire.

The occupants of the vehicle were both pronounced dead on the scene.

The accident closed part of the roadway for about 12 hours. 

A Mercer ice fisherman fell through the ice on Squirrel Lake in the Minocqua area Thursday.

The Minocqua Police Department says it got the call just after 1 pm, reporting that 56-year-old Jay Taylor had fallen through about 100 yards from shore. 

While emergency rescuers were on their way, another man pushed aluminum boat out to Taylor and pulled him out of the water. 

But the two needed help from the Minocqua fire department to get the boat back to shore. 

Taylor was transported by ambulance to the Howard Young Medical Center.  

Royalbroil via

A Rhinelander native is helping launch a new theater company in the Bayfield area. 

Sidekick Theatre will put on its first season this summer at Stage North in Washburn.   

Co-founder Brian Pekol says it will coexist with The Groundlings, a community theater group that performs at Stage North during the off season.

Steven Thomas / US Fish and Wildlife Service

A declining species of bat will be federally protected throughout its range.  But the US Fish and Wildlife’s decision to list the northern long-eared bat as threatened, is drawing criticism from wildlife advocates who wanted stronger protections. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened due to the impacts of the deadly white nose syndrome.  But the agency withheld the more dire designation of endangered.  It’s also exempting activities like forest management from rules that prohibit incidental killing of the bat. 

Mitch Mode / WXPR News

As the days get longer many migratory birds are returning to the Northwoods.

Geese and robins have been reported, and birder Bob Dall says sandhill cranes have been back for a few weeks now. 

“They don’t need open water, they are more likely in search of open fields or areas where they can find food.  Some of them come back when there’s still snow and ice.” 

The annual spring Midwest Crane Count happens in a few weeks, on April 18th. 

U.S Geological Survey via

Science on Tap this week is looking at water quality in the Great Lakes.

Director of UW Madison’s Aquatic Sciences Center Jim Hurley says the nature of Great Lakes pollution has changed over the years, now coming from more diffuse sources instead of point ones. 

“We might have mercury, that used to be discharged directly from industrial sources, where dilution was the solution.  And now we’ve pretty much eliminated most of those, but we find that mercury enters the lake based on rainfall, and from the atmosphere.”

A proposal to disband a board that oversees for-profit higher education is getting some pushback from those in the field. 

The Educational Approval Board, or EAB, oversees about 250 Wisconsin institutions.  Governor Walker wants to shift its duties into other agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. 

But some educators think that’s a bad idea. 

Steven Thomas / US Fish and Wildlife Service

A decision over whether to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered is no more than a week away. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the listing because bat populations face devastation from the deadly white-nose syndrome. 

But some farmers and loggers have argued the bat is still too numerous to warrant an endangered listing. 

Great Lakes Timber Professionals Director Henry Schienebeck says it would bring too many restrictions.