Natalie Jablonski

News and Features Contributor
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Oneida County Sheriff’s office says its investigation into a pair of deaths in Oneida County is far from complete. 

At a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff Grady Hartman said his office would be careful about any further information released to the public. 

“This is an ongoing investigation that only began three days ago.  There is still a great deal that needs to be accomplished before the investigation is complete.  Releasing any more information may compromise the case, and hinder Martinson’s right to a fair trial.”

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A Madison-based songwriter is performing on the Nicolet stage on Friday.  WXPR is hosting the Corey Mathew Hart band.

Hart grew up in Wisconsin lived for some time in North Carolina before returning to Madison. 

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Hart to find out more about his life and music.

Arts organizations from the Northwoods and around the state are headed to Madison Wednesday for a statewide arts conference. 

Arts Wisconsin Director Anne Katz says the advocacy group is gathering people in Madison for Arts Day.

‘We’ve been doing it for almost 20 years, and people come from all over the state.  They’re going to learn from each other, talk to each other, get some ideas, talk to their elected officials.”

Investigators have determined the causes of death for two people found dead in Oneida County Sunday.

The Oneida County Sheriff’s office says 37-year-old Thomas Ayers died from firearm injuries, while his wife 40-year-old Jennifer Ayers died from knife wounds.

The suspect in the killings is Jennifer Ayer’s 17-year-old daughter.

The Rhinelander area teen will be charged in Oneida county with two counts of first degree intentional homicide and three counts of false imprisonment when she and another person return here from Indiana. 

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Rhinelander High School’s Mock Trial team took third place at the state tournament this weekend.

It’s only the third time in more than ten years that it hasn’t made the final round of the state competition. 

Rhinelander lost to Shorewood High School in the semi-final, and that team took second place while Appleton Xavier ended up in first.

Coach Kathy Vick-Martini says each round was incredibly close. 

With a total of 17 state titles, Rhinelander’s Mock Trial team has won more state championships than any other team combined.  

The woman and man found dead in Oneida County were the mother and step-father of the 17-year-old suspect arrested Sunday in Indiana.

The victims have been identified as 37-year-old Thomas Ayers and 40-year-old Jennifer Ayers.

They were found dead Sunday morning at 1625 County Highway C, after a 911 call from a juvenile female reported an emergency at her residence.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office got the call at about 10:40 a.m. Sunday morning.  

Matthew Rethaber / WXPR News

Some listeners might recognize the name Harold Ehlers.  He was a longtime jazz host on WXPR, and former owner of the Ehlers General Store in Cornucopia.  

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with 90-year-old Ehlers about growing up in Cornucopia and the store that shaped the town.

Ehlers also used to a host a weekly music program on WXPR called “30 Minutes of Jazz,” which he would record and mail in on a cassette tape.  He's collected thousands of records.

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Wisconsin’s tribes are asking for dual-language signage and more power over public education in their communities.

Chairman Chris McGeshick of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community gave the State of the Tribes address Thursday in Madison. 

McGeshick emphasized the need for respecting government-to-government relationships between the tribes and the state, including the realm of education.

MSA Professional Services

The city of Rhinelander’s finance committee has signed off on a plan for building the first part of a nonmotorized trail near the Pelican River.

The committee agreed to put forward about $130,000  if matching grant money comes in.

Council member Alex Young says the a ten-foot wide paved trail would connect hotels along Kemp Street, the Chamber of Commerce, and the new boat landing on Boyce Drive.

Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

A state-run fish hatchery in Woodruff is getting some major upgrades.

The state has allocated more than four million dollars for improvements to the Art Oehmke hatchery.  They include new disinfection systems for fish eggs and for the water coming into the hatchery.

As DNR Fish Cultures Section Chief Dave Giehtbrock  explains, the changes will help achieve goals set by the Walleye Initiative. 


  espite the loss of a significant donor, the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry is holding its annual spring fundraiser with help of new matching funds. 

As Director Guy Hansen explains, the Feinstein Foundation typically provides matching money for food pantries nationwide.  But that isn’t happening this year.

Ten people have been arrested in Forest County as a result of a narcotics sting.

The Forest County Sheriff’s Office and North Central Drug Enforcement Group are wrapping up a five-month undercover investigation. 

Officers executed search warrants at three residences in the Crandon area. 

Charges against those arrested include possession and delivery of narcotics. 

A 19-year-old woman from Beaver Dam has died after crashing her snowmobile.

The accident happened in St. Germaine, near Highway 70 just south of East Holiday Drive.

The Vilas County Sheriff’s office says Emily Lyons went off the trail and struck a tree.  She was airlifted to Wausau hospital for her injuries, but died Sunday.

The accident is under investigation by the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office and the WI DNR.

It’s the 11th snowmobile fatality so far this winter.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Proponents of an iron mine in northern Wisconsin are disappointed that Gogebic Taconite has closed its Hurley office and appears to be backing away from its plan to mine the area. 

State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst blames federal EPA regulations that he says make wetland remediation cost-prohibitive. 

“Whereas at the state level, we set certainty into our bill so they knew what our costs are going to be, they’re not sure at the federal level what those costs are going to be.  So that’s certainly had a chilling effect and impacted their decision.” 

An iron mine in the Penokee Range seems less likely, now that mining company Gogebic Taconite is closing its Hurley office.

In a statement company President Bill Williams says wetland issues make further major investment too expensive.

He adds that environmental concerns could lead to U.S. EPA intervention, in light of the agency’s recent halting of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska. 

The company is leaving the door open to further exploration, saying it will continue to look into the possibility of a mine permit.