Natalie Jablonski

News and Features Contributor

County deer advisory councils will be meeting again this month to help determine antlerless deer quotas. 

DNR wildlife biologist Melinda Nelson says each council will recommend a specific number anterless tags.

“Looking at a variety of metrics including winter severity, 2014 deer harvest numbers and taking public input, and deciding how many antlerless tags they want out on the landscape.”

Nelson says the local management units will make initial recommendations, and then take feedback from the public. 

Wildfire season is getting an early start in Wisconsin, thanks to the recent snow melt.

DNR Forester Ranger John Gillen in Rhinelander says April and May are typically the most active months for forest fires in Wisconsin. 

“This year seems to be coming a little bit before that time, in March.  And certainly my counterparts in the southern part of the state are already active in suppressing forest fires.”

Gillen says fire season in northern Wisconsin shouldn’t be far behind, if the warm weather continues. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

A domestic violence victim support agency is holding a candlelight vigil in Rhinelander Thursday night for the three children who survived the apparent homicide of Thomas and Jennifer Ayers.

Law enforcement believes the three young girls were locked in a room while Jennifer Ayers’ 17-year-old daughter Ashlee Martinson killed her mother and step-father.  The couple was found dead Sunday. 

Shellie Holmes, Director of Tri County Council on Domestic Violence, says the agency is holding a vigil and collecting donations for the children.

"Snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia -

Snowmobile trails in Oneida and Vilas counties are closed as of Thursday afternoon.

John Bilogan, Director of the Oneida County Forestry Department says warm weather has melted most of the snow. 

"If you get into the woods, the trails probably would still be ridable.  But it gets to the point where intersections and areas that are exposed to direct sunlight, a lot of them are bare."

Bilogan says riding on bare ground can cause safety issues or damage to trails.

Iron County’s unemployment rate went up by more than a percentage point in January, giving it one of the highest jobless rates in the state at 10.8 percent. 

Menominee, Door and Bayfield Counties did the worst, tied with unemployment rates of 11 percent…according to the preliminary unadjusted figures from the state’s workforce development agency. 

Vilas County’s unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, with Forest County coming in a 9.1.

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.”

Submitted photo

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. 

Submitted photo

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.