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.

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Better and faster broadband access, childcare support, and getting a fair share of state and federal resources. These are things people in the Northwoods have likely heard and recognize as needs in our communities.

Now, these and other recommendations are being laid out in a report to the Governor’s office.


The Pfizer vaccine is shown to be 95-percent effectiveness against COVID-19.

Like any medicine you take, there are possible side effects.

Your arm will likely be a bit sore at the injection site. You could feel fatigued, have muscles aches, headache, or even a slight fever.

National Foundation of Infectious Diseases President Patsy Stinchfield says that’s all to be expected.


A group of nearly 20 agencies from across the state have spent more than a year developing the PFAS Action Plan.

This plan will act as a roadmap for dealing with PFAS in Wisconsin.

For those unfamiliar, PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals. You find them in things like non-stick cookware and firefighting foam.


Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are made from what is called messenger RNA or mRNA.

To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. That protein then fights off the virus.

That’s not the case with theses COVID vaccines.

The mRNA vaccines teach the cells in our bodies how to a make a protein and that protein triggers an immune response in our bodies.

Dr. Paul Offit is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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A judge has dismissed two out of three charges against the former Rhinelander City Administrator.

Sarah Strand

Right now, we’re getting about eight and a half hours of daylight in the Northwoods. That’s about seven hours less than we we’re getting six months ago.

It’s also eight and half more hours of light than Svalbard sees right now.

Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago and where Sarah Strand has lived for the last six years.

“We’re about, approximately 2,500 living on Svalbard. Most of those are in Longyearbyen where I live. It’s the main town,” said Strand.

Strand and I met when we were both interns at Denali National Park in the summer of 2014.

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Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise.

The Alzheimer’s Association combed through CDC data since the beginning of the year.

Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths are up 13.9% in Wisconsin as compared to last year.

Across the US, that’s more than 34,000 deaths on top of the 122,000 dementia-related deaths we usually see.

“These numbers, as horrific and bad as they are, are only through October thus far. We’re expecting another unfortunate spike,” said Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter’s Director of Public Policy Michael Bruhn.


On an average day, Aspirus is treating 125 COVID-19 patients in their homes.

The healthcare system is using different technologies to help keep hospital beds free.

Aspirus Senior Vice President Jesse Tischer said Friday they’ve now treated well-over 1,000 patients from home.

He said this is just one way Aspirus has been able to treat more people along with antibodies therapies.
Like many people, Tischer is happy about the news of a vaccine, but warns we still have a long road ahead of us and importance of following COVID safety guidelines.


Lee Swank loves everything about winter.

“The main enjoyment cross country skiing, but I certainly enjoy everything else about winter the beauty of the snow, particularly mixed in with the evergreens that we have up here,” he said.

And he does mean everything.

“I even like snow shoveling. When we lived in Chicago my wife and I’d fight over who’d get to shovel the walk,” said Swank.

Swank and his family move from Chicago to the Rhinelander area 41 years ago because of that love of snow and the recreation opportunities in the Northwoods.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in family members needing to step up as caregivers for their loved ones.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

People in the Wisconsin, and especially the Northwoods, want to see the state government continue to fund conservation and environmental projects in the state. That’s according to a recent public survey conducted by bi-partisan firms.

New Bridge Strategy and FM3 were hired by The Nature Conservancy to conduct the study.

The firms ask democrats and republicans around the state various question about the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.

The program was created in 1989 to support a wide variety of outdoor projects from trail building to water quality.


For a long time, a good or decent night sleep was hard to come by for local veteran Tim Bahr.

The Wisconsin Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force is getting to work.

The group was formed in July after legislation to create the task force failed. It held its first meeting Friday.