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

After a winter of heavy snow blanketing the woods creating a peaceful silence, the sounds of spring can be almost deafening.

Birds return. Frogs wake from their frozen slumber. The ice melting on the lakes creates its own unique sound.

“Some people tell me it sounds like a groaning whale or like a laser gun, a Star Wars noise, or like you just said a Doctor Who noise,” said Emily Heald, Water Program Coordinator at the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters.

Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

 

Oneida County Health Department Director Linda Conlon is proud of the vaccination effort in the county.

Nearly 45% of residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine which is above the state average of 37%.

“We’re pretty happy about that,” said Conlon.

She also impressed with the 65 and older age group getting nearly 83% vaccinated.

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The Wisconsin Conservation Congress wants your input.

“We’re hoping to hear from anybody and everybody that has interest in Wisconsin’s natural resources,” said Kari Lee-Zimmerman, DNR liaison to the WCC.

The Spring Virtual Hearings survey opened Monday night.

“It’s gone very smoothly. There were no problems with the with launch of the survey, we’re steadily increasing in the input, so I think people are sort of taking their time getting to it knowing that they have 72 hours and it’s not necessarily a mad dash since the beginning, but a slow and steady pace.”

Michigan.gov

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is instructing vaccinators in the state to stop using the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for now.

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Clean air, safe drinking water, and secure shelter can all impact a person’s health. They’re also all threatened by climate change.

Beyond that, it’s the impacts we don’t know that has some medical experts in Wisconsin worried.

“We have folks that are in our field or are scientists, they don’t often know the links climate and health. It’s one of those things that’s a global problem that has local consequences,” said Dr. Chirantan Mukhopadhyay. He’s on ophthalmologist and chair of Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action.

Wisconsin DNR

The Wisconsin DNR is focusing on its next wolf hunt planned for this fall.

The last hunt in February faced a lot of criticism for being hastily thrown together following a judge’s order and going nearly 100 kills over the quota.

The states’ Wolf Harvest Committee held the first of two planned meetings on Thursday to determine the quotas and next steps for the for the fall hunt.

The first meeting of the Wolf Harvest Committee was largely informational.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Jeff Currie and his wife Ann took advantage of the early snow melt to get a look at the latest progress on the Great Headwaters Trails.

“I must say this is the first time we’ve taken a look at it,” said Jeff. “It’s definitely dramatic.”

They’re exploring the corner of Song Hill Lane and County Highway K, west of Phelps. That’s where the 8.5 mile stretch of trail from Conover ends and the work on the last segment of trail is beginning.

Over the winter, loggers came through and took down trees that are still strewn over where the path will wind through the woods.

Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

The Iron Mountain VA Medical Center has roughly 18,000 veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare in its service area which covers the Upper Peninsula the parts of northern Wisconsin.

Of those a little under half have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine through the VA.

“We are generally scheduling appointments every day for veterans to get the vaccine, so although it has slowed, it hasn’t stopped,” said Public Affairs Officer John Jamison.

Living in northern Wisconsin on the Manitowish River, artist Mary Burns has always felt a connection to water.

“It’s just been part of my life since I was born,” said Burns.

Burns wants to use her artwork to shed light on issues facing water today.  

“Our water globally is in crisis and we need to address this issue,” she said.

The fiber artist is currently working on her next series, ‘Women and Water, a Global Exhibit.’

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Voters in Lincoln and Oneida County were not in support of raising taxes to pay for road maintenance and other projects in Tuesday's election.

Oneida County had two road funding referendum questions on the ballot.

One called for $500,000 tax increase. The other was an advisory question asking if the county should cut costs elsewhere to pay for road maintenance. Only 46% of voters supported the first question, with the second getting just 41% of support.

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It was a mixed response from Northwoods voters on whether approve tax levy increases to help fund schools.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Wisconsin voters are selecting a new State Superintendent of Public Instruction and choosing candidates in many local elections across the Northwoods, including town boards, school boards, and referenda. WXPR is your source for election results and information. See below for the updated numbers in the races getting the most attention, and click the links to see the results for contested races in your community.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

This time last year, Stormy Kromer was churning out masks and hospital gowns rather than its classic plaid wool cap.

Stormy Kromer President Gina Thorsen is proud of the work her employees have done this past year with all the changes.

That work recently got the recognition from state and local lawmakers as the company received the 2021 Impact Award from Michigan Works!

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As the last of the ice is quickly melting, many people look forward to getting their boats back in the water.

This also means groups will once again head to boat launches in an effort to keep Aquatic Invasive Species [AIS] out of the lakes.

AIS can be determinantal on a lake’s a health.

Eurasian Water Milfoil, Curly-Leaf Pondweed, and Spiny Water Fleas have all been found in lakes in Vilas County.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Tuesday, April 6 is another election day in Wisconsin.

If you haven’t mailed back your ballot yet, you can drop it off at your polling place at most locations in the Northwoods. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You can register to vote at your polling place and then immediately cast your ballot.

Visit myvote.wi.gov for ballot and polling place information.

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