Natalie Jablonski

Community Features Editor

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Roasting Beans on Demand
4:00 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Rio Lobo: Small Town Roaster

Rio Lobo's Sivetz roaster hails from Corvallis, Oregon.

Artisan coffee is a trend that’s has pretty much swept the nation's cities.  It’s no surprise to find local roasters in Milwaukee or Madison.  But where you might not expect to find one…is in a garage in the tiny town of Hiles, Wisconsin.  

Dave Roberts is working on an espresso blend for his company Rio Lobo coffee.  But he hasn’t always been a roaster.  At the age of 55, he made an unusual career change. 

“My family had a logging business, and a sawmill business," Roberts explained. "We were about to sell that – that’s when I kind of gravitated toward coffee roasting."

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Monday Morning Blaze
5:43 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Officials ID Fire Victim

A victim in a fatal fire earlier this week has been identified by forensic autopsy as 24-year-old Seth J. Fehr of Tomahawk. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Department responded to the call early Monday morning.  The residence at 3892 Woodland Trail in Cassian was completely in flames when firefighters arrived. 

Three others escaped from the house.  One was flown to a Madison burn center for treatment. 

Public Access Controversy
5:31 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Activists Test Limits of 600' Restricted Zone

Credit Andy Arthur

Groups of snowshoers continue to traverse areas where Gogebic Taconite is drilling and sampling.  

A new law forbids the public from coming within 600 feet of equipment and roads used for iron mining.   But those opposed to the measure say it’s designed to hide environmental damage from the public. 

Paul DeMain organized a recent trip to the Tyler Forks.  He says some activists are hoping for a citation, in hopes of challenging the law in court.

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Performer Plays Many Roles
5:24 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Familiar Voice Visits Northwoods

You might not have heard of Joshua Kane…but chances are you’ve heard his voice.

“Probably been driving your local population crazy with ‘Eight crispy crunchy carmelized corners so crispy that a team of astrophysicists could shrink themselves down to study it.’”

Kane is a New York-based actor who has done voiceover work for many commercials, including a recent Little Caesar’s ad.  Radiolab listeners may also recognize Kane as the voice of Robert Louis Stevenson from a first season episode called “Who Am I.” 

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Public School Choice Time
2:38 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Open Enrollment Period Begins

School districts hope more students enroll there, as it brings more state resources.
Credit Christopher Sessums

Open enrollment begins this week.  Wisconsin families have the option of enrolling their kids in any public school district, even if they live outside its boundaries.  

  For some districts open enrollment brings more revenue, while for others it draws resources out of the area. 

Northland Pines right now is losing about 70 students, but has a net positive gain with around 85 coming in.   District Administrator Mike Richie says they’ve been on the positive end of the equation since 2010, and he keeps a close eye on the numbers. 

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Fixing Frozen Pipes is Expensive
6:14 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Rhinelander to Run Water All Day and Night

It's cheaper for 3400 customers to run water constantly than to keep thawing frozen pipes.
Credit Scott Akerman

Rhinelander water users are being asked to run their water 24/7 to prevent frozen pipes. 

Tim Kingman, Rhinelander Director of Public Works, says the city has been thawing out dozens of households every day. 

“At a certain point in time, we have to make some hard decisions here to let this water be run on a system wide basis.  The reason we do so is it’s the best economy we can get.”

Thawing out frozen pipes for hundreds of people is very expensive.    Running water constantly is also expensive, but still cheaper than the alternative. 

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School Closed Unexpectedly
5:28 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Heat Problems Resolved at Central

In Rhinelander, Central Intermediate School is scheduled to be open Tuesday after Monday's unexpected closing.  School District officials say part of the school’s electrical system failed, affecting the heat in the building. 

Staff became aware of the problem around 6 am and called WPS. 

But the announcement software designed to alert parents of school closings also malfunctioned.  Rhinelander Schools Superintendent Kelli Jacobi says parents were notified late.

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Maintaining Bone Health
4:00 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Vitamin D Supplements May Keep Bones Strong

Vitamin D could help prevent osteoporosis and falls in older adults.  That’s the message from an aging specialist from Madison giving a talk at this week’s Science on Tap discussion.    

Winter in the Northwoods means…not a lot of sunshine.  And that means not a lot of Vitamin D.  Dr Neil Binkley is Director of the Osteoporosis Clinical Research program at UW Madison.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski talked with Dr. Binkley to find out why Vitamin D supplements might be important for preventing osteoporosis and bone fractures.    

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Cold Winter Means Big Payments
3:06 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Hundreds Seek Assistance With Energy Bills

High propane bills are squeezing budgets for lower income households.
Credit Jason Woodhead

Families and individuals struggling to pay high heat bills may be able to get help.  Northwoods state lawmakers stopped in Rhinelander today to spread the word about the nonprofit Keep Wisconsin Warm fund.

That program has expanded its income limits to 80 percent of the state median income…to try and help more working households who may be feeling the pinch. 

Senator Tom Tiffany, and Representatives Rob Swearingin, Jeff Mursau and Mary Czaja each donated a hundred dollars to the fund.  Tiffany noted donations can be routed to aid whichever county you choose.  

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Surviving Cold Temperatures
12:05 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Deer Population, Hunt Could Suffer This Winter

Deep snow and cold temperatures tap winter energy reserves.
Credit Rennett Stowe

The harsh winter we’re experiencing could affect this year’s deer hunting season.  Biologists are predicting low numbers of antlerless permits to give the deer population a chance to rebound. 

DNR Big Game Specialist Kevin Wallenfang says deer are well adapted for cold, but it still takes a toll. 

“A year like this, where we started in November – their fat reserves were being taxed very early in the year.  We’ve had very cold temperatures, very deep snow – all of the things that can hurt them kind of are going on right now.” 

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