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.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The Forest History Association of Wisconsin has been around since 1975.

The group focuses on the importance of forest’s in Wisconsin’s past and present.

In the last few years the group has changed its focus.

John Grosman is a retired forester. He’s been with the association since it started in 1975 and is currently the board president.

The association’s mission is to inform, educate, archive, and publish the legacy of Wisconsin’s forest history.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

The annual Crandon World Championship Off-Road Races started Friday.

The three-day racing event is expected to draw thousands of people to Forest County.

This will be Dawn Kloss’ 19th year attending the races at Crandon International Raceway.

“We love the comradery. We love seeing new people and then seeing the people we see every year,” said Kloss.

She’s traveling from Chippewa Falls with her family and friends. They have eight camping spots reserved for the big weekend.


Oneida County reported its first COVID-19 related death Friday.

The Oneida County Health Department said the person was in their 80’s and had an underlying health condition.

“We are saddened by the loss of one of our community members,” said Linda Conlon, Oneida County HealthDepartment Director and Health Officer. “We extend our sympathies to their loved ones and all impacted.” 

220 people in Oneida County have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.

  • U.S. Unemployment drops to 8.4%
  • Average weekly COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin down from late July
  • Crandon World Championship Off-Road Races start Friday
  • Deer-related crashes down in Vilas County

  • Joe Biden visits Kenosha to speak with Jacob Blakes family and local law enforcement
  • Lincoln County reporting possible COVID-19 exposure at Merrill grocery store
  • Forest County Potawatomi Farm works towards self-sustaining goal
  • Attempt to restore wild rice on Spur Lake

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

The Forest County Potawatomi wants to have a fully self-sustaining farm to provide produce and meat to its tribal members and the general public.

It’s well on its way to getting to that goal.

The Potawatomi Farm took over the old red deer farm on county road h south of Blackwell in 2017.

“The tribe wanted to go a different way and be more self-sustaining,” said assistant farm manager Joe Shepard.

The farm grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Farm workers also raise chickens, cows, pigs, and 



The Sokaogon Cenex Convenience Store and Smoke Shop in Mole Lake will be closed to the general public starting Wednesday, September 2. The closure will be in place through October 11.

The Sokaogon Chippewa Community said the C-store will still be open to Mole Lake Community members.

A public information officer with the community told WXPR the temporary closure was due to COVID-19 concerns and the upcoming races at the Crandon International Raceway.

  • Joe Biden to visit Wisconsin Thursday
  • 30 days since mask mandate went into effect in Wisconsin
  • Health experts offer recommendations for getting kids to wear masks
  • Researchers look at effectiveness of removing badger dams to improve trout streams


The Learning in Retirement program at Nicolet College is going virtual this year.

LIR will be offering 21 different presentations this fall. The topics range from nature to genealogy to art.

Some classes will last just a couple of hours while other will meet throughout the fall.

Learning in retirement coordinator Brenda Peltier said one of the biggest challenges is making sure members are comfortable with the technology needed for the classes.

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Students across Wisconsin are headed back to school Tuesday morning.

For some, it will mean staying in their homes and logging onto a laptop to complete their coursework.

For many, it still means catching the bus and heading to school.

Schools everywhere are having to make changes to keep students and staff safe the school year starts in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the first changes you notice at Northland Pines High School is right on the front door.

Photo by Katie Thoresen/WXPR

As with just about everything in the world, wildlife rehabilitators have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the near start of the pandemic, Wild Instincts has made changes to protect animals and staff from the virus.

“We’re masking up, gloving up while we’re feeding them and doing any kind of care,” said Director of Rehabilitation, Mark Naniot.

With all the safety precautions Wild Instincts has put into place, Naniot was surprised by the recent sudden announcement about new wildlife intake and release restrictions.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This week, Oneida County hit the 200 mark for total number of COVID-19 cases.

There have been 203 people from Oneida County that have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

180 of those people have recovered from the virus. 18 are currently self-isolating. Five are currently hospitalized.

It’s not just the total number health officials are concerned about, it’s the recent uptick of cases.

The number of cases have more than doubled in the last month. On July 28, Oneida County had a total number of 75 cases.

Iron County Forestry & Parks

For the first time in four years, there are no constructions projects at Saxon Harbor in Iron County.

The harbor and the surrounding area has been under construction since a severe storm in 2016 wiped out the slips, the campground and the many of the roads in the region.

Iron County Forest Administrator Eric Peterson is happy not hear construction at Saxon Harbor anymore.

“It’s nice to see people down there steady again rather than just construction,” said Peterson.

The 2016 storm dumped more than nine inches of rain in Saxon.

  • Flu season could put strain on health care system during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Minocqua Plan Commission rejects hotel plans just north of the island
  • Lumber shortage impacting construction companies
  • Northland Pines school board approves fall sports
  • WPS gives grants to help local first responders


Health officials are concerned about the upcoming flu season.

Right now- health officials are not sure what having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time will do a person’s body.

Rebecca Lohagen is the Oneida County public health nurse and preparedness coordinator.

She says the best way to avoid complications is the get a flu vaccine.