Ben Meyer/WXPR

Heather Berklund never envisioned herself as the Chief State Forester.

She had worked for the DNR forestry division for two decades in the Northwoods, but didn’t have her mind set on the top job.

“I would say it was never on my radar that I would ever be talking to you in this role or be in this position,” Berklund said on a recent interview, conducted while snowshoeing through the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest near Woodruff.

Gary Kramer / USFWS

  Hunters and trappers have blown past Wisconsin's wolf kill target, forcing an early end to the hunting season and angering animal rights activists and conservationists.

The Department of Natural Resources opened a season Monday that was supposed to run through Sunday, with a kill target of 119 animals.

It became clear Tuesday that hunters and trappers were on pace to exceed the limit, so the agency moved up the season's end to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The department reported around midday Wednesday that hunters and trappers had already 162 animals.

Parade Gains Support From Rhinelander Council

Feb 24, 2021

The Rhinelander Common Council threw its support behind the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled to take place Saturday, March 13. The parade was canceled last year as COVID-19 was entering the state.

“Our people have had one year now to live in COVID conditions, make decisions, to be adults, to wash our hands, wear a mask – do what they feel is needed,” said Mayor Chris Frederickson when introducing the topic. “I would suggest moving forward and holding the parade.”

  • Wisconsin plans to enter next phase of COVID-19 vaccine rollout next week
  • Wisconsin National Guard testing stations can now administer COVID-19 tests to children
  • Wisconsin Assembly passes bipartisan unemployment bill
  • Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development Chief Economist Dennis Winters will speak about the COVID economy at next month’s Science on Tap

Oneida County Sheriff's Office

An Ascension-St. Mary’s Hospital employee is being charged after police found a video of a patient taken without their consent.

Evan Sheedy, 31, of Three Lakes was arrested Tuesday. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office was serving a search warrant based on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Police didn’t find any child pornography, but they did find the single video of the patient. The patient was an adult and has been notified.

Wisconsin Historical Society

In the nineteenth century, people believed Wisconsin’s forests to be inexhaustible.  Lumber production proceeded at an unsustainable pace, but few cared as it was assumed that farming would naturally follow.  Successful farming never came on a large scale, and the damaged land needed repairing.  This is where the Trout Lake Nursery comes in.  

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Chief Economist Dennis Winters says the state has never experienced anything like what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to economy and workforce.

“The economy just tanked or crashed or just went south in the course of a month or two. And then immediately recovered, though not to the whole extent,” said Winters.

Winters says usually when the economy declines it’s over an extended period. In 2020, the U.S. economy dropped 31% in a single quarter and then rebounded 33% the next quarter.

Lexi Buntrock

Wisconsin National Guard testing stations can now administer COVID-19 tests to children as young as 12 months old, giving people more options for keeping their families safe.

“Up until February 8, no National Guard testing site was authorized to test anyone under the age of five. Now we can conduct testing for anybody that’s 12 months or over,” said Maj. Joe Trovato. “It did take some training to ensure that our servicemembers were prepared for what could be something that’s a little bit scary to a young child.”

LUHS Goes Extra Step in Weapon Prohibition

Feb 24, 2021
Wikimedia Commons

The Lakeland Union High School board of education has adopted a more stringent policy toward prohibiting weapons on school grounds in Minocqua.

Adopted on a 7-1 vote Monday, the new policy forbids anyone from “knowingly possessing a firearm” in a personal vehicle parked on school property or at a school sanctioned event or activity.

Previously, the district allowed weapons to be in locked vehicles parked at the school if the driver was in legal possession of a weapon

Department of Workforce Development

The Wisconsin Assembly has overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill designed to jump-start updates to the state’s antiquated unemployment claims processing system. Gov. Tony Evers has promised to sign the bill which the Senate passed last week on a 27-3 vote. The Assembly passed it Tuesday 89-0. Evers has taken intense criticism for months over a backlog of unemployment claims stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. He has largely blamed the state’s antiquated, 50-year-old computer processing system for handling the claims.

  • Access to the Apostle Island National Lakeshore ice caves is becoming increasingly rare
  • Wisconsin’s wolf hunt season has started, with more than 2,000 harvest permits approved
  • Gov. Evers proposes $2.4 billion for building projects across Wisconsin
  • Advocates for older residents support Gov. Evers’ state budget proposal

Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin wildlife officials plan to end the state's wolf season on Wednesday after hunters and trappers filled nearly 70% of the state's kill quota in less than 48 hours.

The Department of Natural Resources opened the hunt on Monday morning.

It had been scheduled to run through Sunday, but hunters and trappers had already killed 82 of the 119-wolf quota as of Tuesday afternoon.

Department officials say the season will end Wednesday.

Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

Wisconsin will open four more community vaccination clinics across the state amid a a push to inoculate people for the coronavirus in underserved areas.

One clinic is already running in Janesville. Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that new community clinics will be in La Crosse, Racine and Marathon counties, with a fourth split between Douglas and Barron counties in northwest Wisconsin.

They are all expected to open within the next two months.

Oneida County Seeing Increase in Elderly Deaths

Feb 23, 2021

Oneida County is seeing an increase of deaths involving the elderly this winter.

The deaths come from falls both inside and outside the home, as well as from natural causes.

The sheriff's office posted on their Facebook page asking for people to check on their senior neighbors and family members who may live alone.

Erin Gottsacker/WXPR

Wednesday marks the start of the largest cross-country ski race in North America – the Birkebeiner.

Alongside the 43k Birkie and the 14k Prince Haakon is the Barkie Birkie, a skijoring race where competitors ski while strapped to their dogs.

It’s a frigid winter day in Manitowish Waters, WI, but Tim Fitzgerald wears only a light jacket.

“Normally we don’t wear very many clothes when we’re skiing,” he said.

At a snow-covered trailhead, groups of fat-tire bikers and solo skiers take off through a network of interconnected paths.