Natalie Jablonski

Community Features Editor

Natalie came to the station in 2013.  She moved to the Northwoods from Providence, Rhode Island where she worked at Rhode Island Public Radio.  She studied Environmental Studies at Brown University, and learned radio production at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. 

As Community Features Editor, Natalie spends time reporting, interviewing, and working with volunteer contributors.  She also hosts All Things Considered on Friday afternoons. 

When she's not rushing to and from an interview, she enjoys cooking, eating, playing music, and skiing to survive the winter.

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Room to Grow
5:48 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Crowd Attends Opening of Boulder Junction Community Center

State and local dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

A new community center in Boulder Junction opened its doors today.  For supporters of the project, it was a long time coming.

It was standing room only at the ribbon cutting as more than 200 people packed the new community center.  But five years ago it wasn’t clear if the center would ever be built.  Voters rejected an earlier proposal for a more expensive building.  With the final price tag coming in under budget at around $2.1 million, Town Chair Charlie Spencer says the investment will pay off.   

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Arts & Life
5:55 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Vintage Racers Hit the Track

Vintage snowmobiles race in the qualifying rounds at the Eagle River Derby Track.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Vintage snowmobile racers compete this weekend in Eagle River in the world championship.  

The world championship may be a week away…but spectators at the vintage race are all about the here and now.  The qualifying rounds for the vintage championship are filled with sleds from the 70s and 80s…or older.  They’re smaller and more antique looking than today’s ultrafast monsters.  And though next weekend’s races will draw a bigger crowd, more people enter the vintage categories.  Elmer Jensen is a longtime volunteer at the derby. 

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With All Five Senses
4:00 am
Thu January 9, 2014

In the Woods: What Halfpenny Sees

Credit Natalie Jablonski

Earlier this week, we brought you a story about the state’s volunteer carnivore tracking program.  Every winter, over a hundred people volunteer to help track wolves for the Wisconsin DNR.

Today we’ll hear more from Jim Halfpenny. He says he can track anything, even a fish, but he specializes in tracking rare mammals...like wolves or grizzly bears, depending on location.  Halfpenny lives in Montana, but every winter he visits Wisconsin to teach a workshop on animal tracking and wolf ecology.    

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski tagged along on a walk in the snowy woods.  

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Signing Up For Care
4:10 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Helping With Insurance Enrollment

A health insurance sign-up session was fully booked Wednesday in Rhinelander.  Application counselors from Bridge Clinic in Wausau were on hand to walk people through the process of enrolling in the online exchange. 

Though a fickle internet connection was a frustration, at mid-day AyLee Her said he’d already helped three people sign up. 

“We are gonna be on the clock every hour.  So we’re hoping we don’t have any technical issues.  We should be able to get individuals enrolled within that hour and go on to the next individual.”

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Single-Stream Recycling
4:04 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

New Recycling Sorter Opens in Eagle River

Single-stream recycling may become more common, now that a new sorting facility has opened in Eagle River.
Credit Michael Cote

Recycling may be getting easier, for some in the Northwoods.  Eagle River Waste and Recycling has completed a new sorting facility, that separates different kinds of recyclable materials.

Jenni Raats is the company’s account manager.  She says customers in Eagle River…won’t have to sort their recyclables any longer.

“We’ve made recycling so much easier for all our customers.  You can take all materials, glass, plastic, tin, aluminum, paper, cardboard – even small kitchen appliances, toasters and things like that.  Put them all loosely in one container.”

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More than Just Footprints in the Snow
9:27 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Wolf Trackers: Gathering All the Clues

Wisconsin’s rising wolf population has sparked controversy over the years.  It’s also sparked a one-of-a-kind program for keeping tabs on those wolves…a volunteer carnivore tracking program run by the DNR. 

These citizen trackers are quietly helping create one of the best tracking datasets on wolves in the world. 

"So the idea is, pattern on the ground, visualization in the mind, any questions on that?"

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More than two feet of snow
4:11 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Ski Conditions: Like February in December

Cross country ski trails are in great shape this winter.
Credit Tim Gillin

The frigid weather may have kept skiers indoors for a few days…but otherwise this season’s conditions have been prime for cross country skiing. 

Tim Collins, Director of Minocqua Winter Park says the park had its biggest day ever the Saturday after Christmas. 

“We had over a thousand people out at Winter Park, on Saturday December 28.  And the numbers before and after were very close.  So all of our trails, 100 kilometers of ski and snowshoe trails have been groomed to perfection this season.”

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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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