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.

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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Nicolet College

A new organization is working to help support and grow businesses throughout the Northwoods.

The GRID was recently awarded nearly $100,000 in grants to help with its launch. GRID stands for Guiding Rural Innovation and Development.


The sidewalks of Rhinelander will be more colorful this weekend.

Downtown Rhinelander is holding its annual Chalkfest. The event has grown over the last four years.

It started out as something to go along with the city’s block party and grew from there.

Chalk artists locally and from all over the state come to create people pieces of artwork on the sidewalks along davenport street.

Because of the positive response to the event, Chalkfest Co-Chair Audrey Thurn said they didn’t want to lose the event entirely this year.

A Wisconsin man is in the Gogebic County Jail on an Assault with Intent to commit Murder charge. Police believe Benjamin Bazile, 30, of Gillet, Wisconsin tried to stab a man to death.

The Ironwood Department of Public Safety responded to a stabbing at a motel on Cloverland Drive on Tuesday, September 1. Officers found a man laying in the parking lot bleeding.

Police said the 36-year-old victim had been stabbed several times. He also had a slit across his throat. The man was airlifted to Aspirus Wausau Hospital. He is in serious but stable condition.


More than 40 school districts in 31 Wisconsin counties are getting behavioral health grants for this school year.

The b.e.s.t. program has been around for years but may be more important than ever with the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

b.e.s.t. stands for behavioral emotional social traits. It’s online screening tool designed to help educators identify and build the emotional health of students.

More than a dozen school districts in the Northwoods were awarded grants for the program from Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan.

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  • Rhinelander mural celebrates city’s industrial history

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

There’s a new mural in Rhinelander that gives people a snapshot of the city’s industrial history.

The artwork takes up the entire side of the Airpro building facing Sutliff Avenue across from the papermill.

“I love murals,” said Airpro and Fan Blower Company President and Founder Keith White.

White loves murals so much, he put one on the side of his office off Davenport Street.

The background depicts well-known sites in Rhinelander like the courthouse and high school.

Gears are prominent in the foreground of the mural.