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.

Wisconsin DHS

Wisconsin is seeing another day of 7,000-plus COVID-19 cases.

The Department of Health Services is reporting 7,048 new cases.

It’s also reporting 62 more deaths and 277 more hospitalization.

Pepin County is reporting its first death due to COVID.

That means all 72 counties in Wisconsin have had at least one person die because of the virus.

Here’s a breakdown of where local counties stand as of Wednesday:

Forest County has had 613 cases since the start of the pandemic. 11 people have died.

School District of Crandon Facebook

Every year, Crandon Elementary students have put on a Veterans Day program.

It usually involves breakfast, songs, and poems as a thank you to Veterans.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made an event like that too risky, but the School District of Crandon still felt it was important to do something to show their support of veterans.

  • Wisconsin breaks record for COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations
  • Governor Evers issues new executive order regard pandemic
  • Hospitals in eastern Wisconsin at capacity
  • Wausau approves mask resolution
  • Iron Mountain VA Medical Center expands
  • Two-thirds of Wisconsin Counites finished with canvass

Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center

The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain now has an additional 12,300 square feet.

The $12.1 million project added 11 more single-occupancy rooms for residents.

It now has more dining and recreation space and even barber shop.

John Jamison is a public affairs officer for the medical center. He says the addition also gives the facility a more home-like quality that will be especially nice once visitors are allowed again.

On the day Wisconsin broke records for number of new COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations, Governor Tony Evers gave an address regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called for unity and working together in the fight against COVID-19 as he issued a new executive order.

The order advises people to stay home. It follows many of the restrcitions put in place under the Safer at Home Order back in March. 


Update: The opening of the exhibit has been pushed back one week to Thursday, November 19. 

In this day and age, almost everyone is used to seeing manipulated photos. Images that couldn’t be physically possible in Earth’s reality but come to life through an artist’s vision and skills in photoshop.

One of the things that makes Les Klug’s photos unique is they were created before photoshop, before the computer was even invented.

Wisconsin DHS

Wisconsin broke records for new COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations on Tuesday. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Service is reporting another 7,073 COVID-19 cases.

66 more people have died.

Another 291 people have been hospitalized.


Schools districts in the Northwoods continue to navigate and further education through the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have offered families options when it comes to their child's education this school year. It includes in-person, virtual, and a hybrid of the two. 

The following is a list of the impact COVID-19 has had on local districts. This list will be updated regularly. 

Oneida County

School District of Rhinelander:

Businesses, schools and other organizations are all feeling the impact of the COVID-19 impact one way or another.

For non-profits, the pandemic has made it difficult to hold fundraisers.

The annual budget for the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing is around $280,000.

That money helps NATH provide safe housing and basics needs to people and families experiencing homelessness.

About $20,000 to $30,000 its budget comes from state and federal governments.


With no Veterans Day Ceremony at the Oneida County Courthouse this year, the County Veterans Service Office is hosting an open house.

Veterans will be able to learn more about different programs designed for them.

“There’s a lot of things that we can do for them that really literally can change their lives so it’s important that they know that,” said Oneida County Veterans Service Officer Tammy Javenkoski.

Members from area veterans service organizations like American Legion, AMVETS, and the VFW will be there.


Wisconsin health officials reported a new daily high of more than 7,000 new COVID-19 cases — another new daily record. Saturday’s total of 7,065 confirmed infections is more than 900 cases higher than the previous record, set Friday with 6,141 cases.

The state first passed 6,000 daily cases on Friday, and Tuesday and Wednesday of this week also saw record-setting numbers of new cases.

Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin is now a couple months into archery and crossbow deer seasons and the gun deer season is coming up later this month.

The DNR is urging hunters in the Northwoods get their deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.

It’s been found on some deer farms in the Northwoods. More recently, five wild deer along the Oneida/Lincoln County Border tested positive.

DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor Chuck McCullough says CWD said that outbreak is small enough that there is a chance


The next time you’re shopping at the Trig’s in Eagle River, you can help feed kids in Vilas County.

Trig’s Round Up Program is supporting Feed Our Rural Kids or FORK.

“Frankly, pennies do make a difference, they do add up,” said FORK President Perry Pokrandt.

People shopping at the store can round up their total to next dollar.

That extra change will be donated to FORK.

State Assemblyman Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) has been elected to his fifth term.

Swearingen’s race against Democrat Kirk Bangstad made national headlines in the past couple of weeks.

Swearingen said he’s excited to continue to represent the Northwoods.

He told WXPR he’ll be focused on the budget this next term.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

As of Election Day morning, 2,032 people had cast their ballots in Rhinelander via absentee voting. 4,378 people were already registered to vote, and people could still register to vote in person on Election Day.

Despite the high number of early voting, election workers at Rhinelander’s polling place said they saw a steady stream of people coming in all day.

“Even accounting for the absentee ballots which are a record, I think turnout has been high on top of that,” said Rhinelander Co-Chief Election Inspector Joel Knutson.