Katie Thoresen

News Director

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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.

Almeda Fire

The west coast is experiencing some of the most catastrophic wildfires in history.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate. Thousands of homes have been destroyed. At least 35 people have died.

American Red Cross Communications Officer for Wisconsin Justin Kern said he’s never seen destruction quite like this.

“This is my first wildfire. It’s extremely surreal,” said Kern. “[It’s] really eye opening how powerful and catastrophic these things can be and how quickly they can do a lot of damage and destroy a lot of people’s lives.”

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  • UW-Madison Considers Canceling Spring Break
  • Michigan Launches “Spread hope, not COVID” campaign to encourage people to wear masks
  • “Tour de Briq’s” Raise Money for Cycling Without Age
  • C.W. Caywood Memorial Shooting Range Closed Temporarily Due to Safety Concerns

SBA

More than 89,000 businesses in Wisconsin benefitted from the Paycheck Protection Program. This was part of the funding available to small businesses through the CARES Act at the start of the pandemic.

Wisconsin businesses received $9.9 billion through the program.

SBA Great Lakes Administrator Rob Scott visited some of the businesses that benefited from the program.

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

The C.W. Caywood Memorial Shooting Range in Arbor Vitae closed in August.

The DNR said it found rounds leaving the range and entering a gravel pit operation down range during an inspection of the pit.

The DNR immediately closed the gravel pit and the shooting range.

PIXABAY.COM

A second person from Oneida County has died because of COVID-19, according to the Oneida County Health Department.

It reported its first death on September 4.

The latest death was of a person in their 70s. The health department said the person had underlying health conditions.

To date, 260 people in Oneida County have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 86,000 people in the state of Wisconsin have tested positive. 1,197 Wisconsinites have died.

PIXABAY.COM

The Forest County Health Department is reporting COVID-19 cases linked to a couple of businesses.

Two employees at Charlie’s Lake Metonga Resort have tested positive for the virus. They were working at the resort on September 4th and 5th.

The health department said it’s not possible to specially identify all close contacts from an exposure in this instance. The Health Department is asking anyone who thinks they have been exposed to stay home and quarantine for 14 days and call your health care provider to get tested.

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

As cars drove past with people getting along with their morning, a group of about 40 gathered at Memorial Park in Tomahawk Friday morning.

Fire trucks from Nokomis and Tomahawk lined River Street as the Tomahawk Veterans Honor Guard prepared the Posting of Colors.

Every year for the 18 years following the events of 9/11, Tomahawk has held a ceremony to honor the victims and first responders that gave their lives that day.

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  • Crandon School District announces two unrelated cases of COVID-19
  • President Trump to visit Mosinee
  • Lawmakers deciding on visa bill that could bring more health professionals to U.S.

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

On a beautiful fall-like day a small group gathered in Ramsay Township Thursday afternoon.

They met at the end of paved trail off Ramsay Road where a new sign reads ‘Iron Belle Trail’ and shares some of the history of the region.

The mayors, volunteers, health group, and members of the trail authority that came out are just some of the many people that made this latest section of the Iron Belle Trail possible.

WPVGA

Frosty nights and intense rain can be detrimental to potato harvests.

The Northwoods is experiencing record low high temperatures for September and there’s a frost advisory for part of the region Wednesday night.

“No one is panicking. I think everything is pretty on schedule,” said Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Tamas Houlihan.

Houlihan said harvest is wrapping up for potato farmers in central Wisconsin. It’s just starting for farmers in the northern part of the state.

PIXABAY.COM

The School District of Rhinelander is reporting a positive case of COVID-19 at Pelican Elementary School.

We don’t know if the person is a student or staff member.

In a Facebook post, the district said the person has been excluded from school until the Oneida County Health Department determines they are no longer infectious.

Oneida County 4-H

The Oneida County 4-H program is still finding ways to connect with kids even during the pandemic.

Junk drawer robotics, a Star Wars-themed LEGO camp, and fishing skills are just some of the programs Oneida County 4-H is offering this fall.

4-H is going virtual to keep people safe during the COVID-19. Program coordinator Anne Williams said while the programs go virtual kids are still learning the same life skills.

Three Lakes School District

The Three Lakes School District said a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. In a Facebook post, the district said that person is self-quarantining and will not return to work until the local health department determines that person is no longer infectious.

The school district is working with the Oneida County Health Department to contact students and staff who were identified as close contacts. They are being instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days per health guidelines.

PIXABAY.COM

One person is dead and another is hurt after a single-car crash in Minocqua.

The Minocqua Police Department said it responded to the car crash just after midnight early Sunday morning. The crash happened on Willow Road near Indian Point Road.

Police believe Kent Herbert, 30, of Winnecone was driving at the time.  He was taken to Howard Young Medical Center with serious injuries.

Colton Marx, 28, of Butte Des Morts was in the car with Herbert. He died in the crash.

The crash is under investigation.

PIXABAY.COM

Update: The Sokaogon Chippewa Community reports additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified.  That comes after the first positive case was identified in the community on Monday.

As of Tuesday, three positive cases had been identified in the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, with two positive cases identified off reservation.  Results from 32 tests are still pending.

43 people on the reservation have been asked to quarantine, and another 13 who are off reservation.

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