Katie Thoresen

News Director

Email Katie

Katie Thoresen joined WXPR as the News Director in August of 2020. While new to WXPR, she's not new to Rhinelander. Katie previously worked for WJFW and has spent the last five years working in TV. She covers the news that matters to people in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula and takes a special interest in environmental and health care related stories. 

Katie is happy to be back in the Northwoods after living in Oregon for two years. She grew up in Illinois and has spent her entire life visiting the area. Katie is a graduate of Central Michigan University. Outside of work you can find her on the hiking trails or out on the water.

  • Ironwood Area Elementary School & Pelican Elementary temporarily switch to virtual learning
  • COVID-19 cases continue to rise in northern Wisconsin
  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

When the pandemic first hit, calls to Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault dropped off dramatically.

“It was pretty silent here. Our phones were not ringing,” said Angela Shields, a victim advocate for Tri-County Council. The organization provides support to victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Forest, Vilas, and Oneida Counties.


It’s been called a lot of different things: COVID fatigue, quarantine fatigue, pandemic burnout.

No matter what you call it, it is real.

“This kind of widespread and this is everyone’s reaction. And what we’re talking about is really kind of a normal reaction to very abnormal events,” said Jessica Schiek is the Regional Director of Behavioral Health Services for Ascension St. Mary’s Koller Behavioral Health.

Feelings of fear, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping have all come with the pandemic.

Wisconsin Public Service Facebook

Update: As of 4:00 p.m. there are fewer than 100 customers without power according to the WPS outage map. 

Original Post: The heavy October snow is weighing down on powerlines throughout northcentral Wisconsin. As of 6:30 on Wednesday morning, the Wisconsin Public Service outage map was showing more than 3,000 customers without power. 

You can report an outage online or by calling  800-450-7240. 


Before you can get your license to hunt in Wisconsin, you need to go through a hunter education course. This applies to everyone born on or after January 1st, 1973.

For the last five or so years, the Wisconsin DNR has offered an online version of the course for those who are 18 years of age or older.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNR is temporarily expanding the program to allow students of all ages to take the online hunter education course.


The Minocqua J1 School District is the latest school to temporarily switch to remote learning.

In a letter to families of students, the district said the decision was made because of the increase in COVID-19 cases, related close contacts, and a shortage of available substitute teachers. The district doesn’t have enough the capacity to safely or effectively provide in-person instruction.

School District of Rhinelander Facebook

The Rhinelander Dome is the in final phases of construction.

The dome was inflated over the weekend. It’s taken years of planning and fundraising and months of construction to get to this moment.

Wisconsin National Guard

Local County Health Departments are coordinating with the Wisconsin National Guard to increase COVID-19 testing throughout our region. 

Several counties are now offering weekly coronavirus testing sites. The testing is meant for people who are symptomatic or close contacts of people who have tested positive. 

Oneida County


The Oneida County Health Department said there is a shortage of influenza vaccines this year. 

Due to the shortage, it's canceling its drive-thru flu clinic scheduled for Tuesday. All future flu clinics have been postponed unitl further notice. 

There are a limited number of flu vaccines for children still available. You can take your child to the Oneida County Health Department in Rhinelander, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointments are neccessary, but it's a good idea to call ahead and make sure vaccines are still available, 715-369-6111.

Black Forest Pub & Grille Facebook Page

The order limiting bars, restaurants, and other indoor places to 25 percent of capacity is back in place. It's the latest in a long line of coronavirus-related restrictions to be challenged in courts. 

Black Forest Pub and Grille in Three Lakes has made a lot of changes this summer some based on orders, others of its own volition. 

“Limited seating, we followed 50% capacity guidelines. We pulled bar chairs away from our bar area,” said owner and manager Health Biro. “Our staff were wearing masks at all times.”


The Lincoln County Health Department will offer free weekly COVID-19 testing.

It’s collaborating with the Wisconsin National Guard, Merrill Area Public Schools, and the Merrill Fire Department. 

People will be able to get tested every Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Starting this week, the drive-thru testing site will be at the MAPS building at 2004 East 10th Street in Merrill. 

The testing is meant for people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been identified as close contacts.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Every five years the U.S. Forest Service conducts visitor use surveys.

It looks for things like where you’re visiting, how many people are with you, how long is your visit, and how many sites you plan to visit.

Tim Vetter is the Recreation, Wilderness and Lands Program Manager on the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest. He says the information collected helps shape the future of the forest.


Price County is reporting its first death due to COVID-19. The Price County Health Department said the person was an elderly resident.

“We are saddened by the loss of one our community members,” said Michelle Edwards, Health Officer. “We extend our sympathies to their loved ones and all impacted.”

State COVID -19 Update

The latest death comes as Wisconsin breaks its record of daily COVID-19 cases for the third time this week.

The Department of Health Services is reporting 3,861 new COVID-19 cases Friday.

Wisconsin DHS

The Department of Health Services is upgrading its Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

This is the system the state uses to collect and share data related to COVID-19.

The upgrade will improve tools for contact tracing, automate data entry, enhance security features, and strengthen the system to accommodate the increase in cases.

It will be upgraded this weekend starting Friday night.

During the upgrade, data on the DHS website will not be updated.

Wisconsin National Guard

The Marathon County Health Department will be offering free COVID-19 testing weekly.

It will be on Tuesdays with the help of the Wisconsin National Guard. The event will a be a drive-thru, nasal swab testing.

People can get registered online ahead of time. It’s being held at the Marathon County Emergency Management Office, 1308 West Street, Wausau.

The health department said the testing is open to people who are symptomatic or close contacts of a positive test.