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.


The School District of Tomahawk is reporting a positive COVID-19 case within the district.

The person was at Tomahawk High School on Friday, September 11.

Five staff members and seven students have been identified as close contacts by the Lincoln County Health Department. They’ve all been asked to self-quarantine.

In a letter to staff and families, the district said exposure was limited to just one classroom in the building. That area is being cleaned and disinfected.

Wisconsin DHS

The Forest County case rate or burden is now at 1002. On Tuesday, it was at 544.5 which was the highest in the state at the time. Now it’s nearly doubled the next highest burden.

For persepctive, this is the burden for other counties in the region:

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Getting your flu shot at VA locations is going to look a little different this year. This year the VA is administering the shots in a drive-thru clinic.

The VA is offering free flu shots for veterans enrolled in VA Health Care.  

“Our veterans can stay right in their cars. Just roll down the window. Wear a short sleeve shirt or slip your coat off and we’ll be able to give the vaccine that way,” said R.N. Infection Control Nurse Ann Mattson. “We don’t want to bring people into the medical facility or to the community-based clinics if they don’t really need to be exposed.”


The Oneida County Health Department reports that a horse in Oneida County has tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), which is caused by the EEE virus.

Several other EEE cases have been reported in counties in northern and western regions of the state.

There have also been two cases of the virus found in humans. Prior to 2020, only three human cases of EEE had been reported in the state between 1964 and 2019.

EEE virus is spread to humans, horses, and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.


Boy Scouts of America teaches scouts everything from outdoor skills to leadership skills.

There are different programs available for boys and girls in kindergarten all the way through age 20.

Samoset Council District Director Amanda Flannery said joining a pack or troop is a great program, especially right now.  

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Voters will have a couple different options when it comes to casting their ballots this November.

You can vote in person at the polls or you can request an absentee ballot.

Voting at the polls will be fairly straight forward and similar to previous years, just with more safety precautions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you request an absentee ballot you have different options on how you return it. You can mail it back.  You can go to your city clerk’s office and put it right in their hands.


Wisconsin hit a record on Sunday.  21 percent of all COVID-19 tests done that day came back positive.

That puts Wisconsin in the top nine states in the U.S. with the highest case rate in the country.

During a news conference Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers encouraged everyone to take this virus seriously.



The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released a report Tuesday detailing the findings of PFAS in the liver of deer harvested and analyzed from the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette, Wisconsin. 

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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  • C.W. Caywood Memorial Shooting Range Closed Temporarily Due to Safety Concerns


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.


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.


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.