Katie Thoresen

News Director/ Vice President

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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.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Construction Manager Dick Logan is proud of the progress at the YCC Lodge at the North Lakeland Discovery Center.

“There was no heat in the building before,” explained Logan as toured the space in the midst of a renovation.

Logan is a retired DNR employee who has always wanted to find a way to support the Discovery Center.

“I told my supervisor at the time, ‘When I retire I’m going to get really involved’ well I had no idea,” said Logan.

He is now overseeing the renovations at the lodge and construction of the new nature center, Discovery Hall.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Sitting on the southern shore of Trout Lake in Boulder Junction, the UW Trout Lake Station is the home base for many researchers studying water in the Northwoods.

The station works in collaboration with the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

For the 10th year, Trout Lake Station is holding an open to house to invite people to come learn what research projects are taking place.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

The remains of a World War II sailor from Antigo have been accounted for.

Navy Fireman Kenneth Doernenburg was 23 years old when he died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

Doernenburg was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma. He and 428 of his fellow crewmen died in the attack on December 7, 1941.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

Department of Health Services

Wisconsin is experiencing in uptick in new COVID-19 cases.

The state is now averaging 221 new cases a day. Last week, the 7-day average was 138 new cases per day.

The 7-day average for deaths from covid has dropped from 2 per day to one.

Health officials attribute the rise to lack of vaccinated people and the increase in the Delta variant.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Ryder Fox pushes a wheelbarrow full of gravel down a path through the Argonne Experimental Forest near Hiles.  He dumps it into a frame where his fellow conservation crewmembers are waiting to pound it down, adding to the interpretive trail.

The 15-year-old from Milwaukee is part of the Cream City Conservation Corps.

All summer they’ve been working on conservation work in the city, but for two weeks they’re visiting the Northwoods to see what conservation work looks like in rural areas compared to urban.

This experience has been a mixed bag.

Lincoln County Health Department

Right now, more than 45-percent of Lincoln County’s population has gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fewer than 350 teens under the of 18 have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine in Lincoln County.

The County Health Department is hoping the Youth Night Vaccination Clinic Thursday night will help bring that number up.

It’s with the Pfizer Vaccine, which is the only one approved for 12- to 15-year-olds.

It means that teens can get their first shot now, their second shot in August, and have full immunity by the time school starts.


The timber industry was having issues before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tariffs from China were putting a strain on the industry.

Then the pandemic hit, and mills slowed production or closed altogether.

While lumber prices shot up during the height of the pandemic, timbers harvesters and haulers weren’t benefiting from it.

It’s that cumulation that makes the relief funding for those harvesters and haulers so critical, according to Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin).

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Wildfire smoke is causing the air quality in the Northwoods to drop.

Most of the smoke is moving in from Canadian wildfires.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the smoke will be moving from the northeast to southwest during the day.

As of 1:30 p.m. the DNR’s Air Quality Index had Forest County in the Unhealthy Air Quality category. Vilas County dropped to Moderate.


Every Fall, hundreds of volunteers fill the common area of Lakeland Union High School.

Each takes a different task to re-package bulk food into nutritious meal-sized packets for families.

“Each shift takes about 250 to 300 volunteers to be able to accomplish the goal of somewhere between 175,000 and 200,000 meals that are packaged at the event,” said Laura Berth, Lions Hunger Committee Chair and organizer of this year’s Food for Kidz event.

Right now, the Lions are looking for volunteers to help with this year’s event which will be Saturday, October 23rd.


It’s been a hard year and a half for a lot of people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant high stress and fewer healthy outlets for that stress.

During those stretches of hopelessness, there are some that turned to drugs and alcohol.

“We come out of one pandemic and go right into another one,” said John D. Johnson Sr., President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

He said drug overdoses are taking their toll on the community.

Oneida County 4-H

No County Fair is complete without a 4-H exhibit.

It’s a time for kids and teens in the program to display their hard work, whether it’s an animal they’ve raised, a piece of art they’ve made, a vegetable they’ve grown or anything in between.

But Oneida County 4-H also wants to give any kid, whether or not they’re involved with 4-H, the opportunity to learn at this year’s Oneida County Fair.

4-H educator Anne Williams said getting them together is even more important this year.  


Several apartment fires in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula have displaced dozens of people this year.

Getting those people back into permanent housing has been a challenge in the current housing market.

After police and fire fighters, American Red Cross volunteers are usually one of the first to respond to a house or apartment fire.

When a person or family isn’t able to get back into their home, the Red Cross makes sure they’re taken care of.

The Delta Lake Fire, Eastern Area IMT

Fire crews from Wisconsin are working on a couple fires burning in northern Minnesota.

Dry conditions have led to a couple of small wildfires near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

They started popping up after a lightning storm moved through the area.

Two of the fires are about 20 acres and are under control.

The Delta Lake fire is more than 60 acres, located just east of Ely.

Fire crews are having a harder time getting this one under control because it’s harder to get to.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault knows the difference a victim advocate can make.

They’re the person the victim can count to put them first and make their needs a priority.

Now, Tri-County Council is hope make advocates more easily accessible by having offices at the Oneida County Courthouse and the Minocqua Police Department.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Wisconsin is investing $130 million in workforce development programs.

Governor Evers stopped at Nicolet College Wednesday to make the announcement.

He said the goal of the money to invest in three programs that are meant to help both train employees and also find solutions to regional workforce challenges.

“While employment in Wisconsin continues to grow our economy is facing a workforce shortage. A shortage that quite frankly existed well before I became governor but has been made exceedingly more difficult for us by this pandemic,’’ said Evers.