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.


Spring elections don’t get a lot of voter turnout.

For example, Oneida County has more than 27,000 people currently registered to vote.

Fewer than 2,300 voted in Tuesday’s election. That’s significantly less than 24,000 people that voted in Oneida County during the November election.

The lower turnout is usually because of the lack of Presidential or US lawmaker candidates, but these elections can play a large role in how local government is run.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly received the most votes in Tuesday’s primary election for state superintendent.

Kerr is the former superintendent in Brown Deer. She was the only candidate with widespread conservative support, but said she’s a Democrat.

Underly is the Pecatonica Area School District superintendent. She was endorsed by the state teachers’ union.

The two will square off in April in the race to become Wisconsin’s top education official.


Women who get the COVID-19 vaccine should wait a couple weeks before getting a mammogram.

That’s according to the new guidance issued by the Society of Breast Imaging.

Some people who got the COVID-19 vaccine have experienced an enlargement of their lymph nodes.

It’s temporary and not harmful.

If you’ve heard or read any stories about economic development in the Northwoods, you’ve more than likely come across the name Brittany Beyer.

Beyer is currently the executive director of Grow North, an economic development organization focused on Northern Wisconsin. She also serves on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity and currently chairs the state’s Taskforce on Broadband Access.

Now, she’s adding her name and knowledge to another organization, Wisconsin Economic Development Association’s Board of Directors.


City of Rhinelander utility customers who experienced problems with water and sewer lines freezing should start running water at your property if you are approved to do so.

People on the list can run water 24 hours a day in stream that’s about the diameter of a pencil-lead. It should be coming from just one faucet. The City Utility will adjust billing usage accordingly.


Samuel Steinhaus, a 29-year-old driver, is facing multiple charges after a deadly crash in Three Lakes Friday night.

Police responded to a 911 call of a car hitting a person on Highway X near the intersection with Medicine Lake Lodge Road just before 9:30 p.m.

According to the Three Lakes Police Department, the truck was driving north on Highway X when it went into a ditch in the opposite lane.

George Steinhaus, a 59-year-old pedestrian, was trying to pull the car from the ditch when he was hit by the vehicle.

Police say he died at the scene.


Running a successful small business is no easy feat.

“We know that having our small business community as vibrant as possible is makes sure that we thrive in the long term,” said Grow North Executive Director Brittany Beyer.

Beyer wants to make to sure small businesses in the Northwoods have every tool possible to help them succeed. That includes the Paycheck Protection Program.

“This is a tool that can help you bridge for the time being and get to the other side,” said Beyer.

Wisconsin DHS

As of Thursday afternoon, 11.1 percent of Wisconsin’s population has gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 3.4 percent have gotten both doses and completed the vaccine series. The state’s goal is to get 80 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

You can now view a breakdown of how each county is doing when it comes vaccinating. Scroll down for an interactive version. 


Name a topic involving a water-related issue and it’s more than likely going to be talked about during Wisconsin Water Week.

The annual event hosted by Wisconsin Lake Partnership is going virtual this year.

Eric Olsen is the Director of Extension Lakes based at UW-Stevens Point. He said they had to make a somewhat last-minute switch to virtual last year. Being able to plan for it with the intention of being virtual means they can bring in more speakers and reach more people.

Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center

Enrolled veterans in the Northwoods can schedule appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccine. The window to make an appointment is only open between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9.

There will be vaccine clinics set up at the VA facilities in Marquette and Iron Mountain, Michigan, and Rhinelander. Eligible veterans can call 906-774-3300 and dial extension 33115. These clinics are open to any veteran who is enrolled and participating in VA services.

Oneida County Health Department Facebook

The Oneida County Health Department has got its system down.

People make an appointment, they drive up to Grace Foursquare Church, and get handed a buzzer like you’d find at restaurants while you’re waiting for a table.

When it’s your turn the buzzer goes off, you go inside, and several tables are set up with people ready to give you your shot.

Once vaccinated, you wait for 15 minutes in a chair that’s six feet from any others and you’re on your way.

This process has allowed the Health Department to vaccinate roughly 55 people an hour.

Oneida County Sheriff's Office

The former Rhinelander City Administrator could get charges against him dismissed if he doesn’t break any criminal laws for the next three months.

Daniel Guild is facing a felony charge of misconduct in office. His arrest last March followed an investigation by the Oneida County Sheriff's Department regarding open records requests.


The Timber Industry across the US has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loggers are getting paid less for their hauls. Papermills reduced their output or shut down completely.

Verso Mill in Wisconsin Rapids was as one of them.

As WXPR previously reported, the mill used 1.5 million tons of wood each year. That’s about 25% percent of total production in Wisconsin.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Most of the Northwoods is under a Winter Storm Warning as snow continues to fall across the region. The National Weather Service expects 4 to 8 inches of snow to accumulate through Friday. Got your own photos of the snow? Share with WXPR by emailing them to news@wxpr.org or posting them to the WXPR Facebook Page. Don't forget to inlcude your name and location. 

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Volunteers with the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry started their Thursday morning unloading pallets of boxes off a Feeding America truck.

It was already snowing constantly as the maneuvered a forklift through the snow-covered parking lot.

More than a thousand 30-pound boxes sat in stacks in the parking lot while people waiting in cars lining the streets around the pantry.

“Cars were lined up quarter to 7:00,” said operations assistant Courtney Smith.

This is the first Feeding America truck to arrive at the pantry in 2021.