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.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

As Daniel Berryman casts his line off a boat in Catfish Lake in Eagle River, he talks about why this weekend is so important to him.

“I had two friends that were part of this organization and I was like ‘Man look at all these fishing and hunting events you guys do, that’s so cool.’ They got me involved and then when I got here. I realized it’s not really about the hunting and the fishing. It is that’s the benefit. It’s nice to catch a big fish, but we really enjoying meeting the local community and each other,” said Berryman.

PIXABAY.COM

It’s been more than 20 years since the current DNR walleye management plan in Wisconsin was created.

A lot has changed since then including the current state of the walleye population.

“When we think about northern Wisconsin, there’s some very specific issues that walleye are facing that just didn’t exist in the 90s that we need to take into account with our plan. That includes lower rates of natural reproduction and more reliance on stocking,” said Max Wolter. Wolter is a fisheries biologist with the DNR and he’s the co-leader of the Wisconsin DNR walleye management team.

Park Falls Police Department

A Park Falls police officer died this weekend. The department said Officer Mark Richter, 51, died from a sudden and unforeseen medical event in his home Sunday.

He was a 25-year veteran of the Parks Falls Police department. Richter also served two years as a deputy with the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office.

During his time with Park Falls Police, he served 20 of those years as the DARE officer.

The department asks for thoughts and prayers for everyone who is grieving. It said he’ll be sorely missed.

ArtStart

ArtStart in Rhinelander is known for showing the works of amazing artists in its two galleries inside.

Now it wants to show off some of that art outside and make it functional.

“We want it to be something that is interactive and conducive to an outdoor gathering space and potentially an outdoor classroom for our kids art classes to move outdoors and some of the events and programs that we have to take place outdoors and have kind of an artistic beautification element and also interactivity built in,” said Childs.

SOKAOGON CHIPPEWA COMMUNITY MOLE LAKE BAND OF LAKE SUPERIOR CHIPPEWA INDIANS

A Tribal Elder from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community has died from COVID-19.

SCC said this is the first COVID-19 death in the community. The person lived in Mole Lake.

The SCC Health Clinic said it continues to work in conjunction with the SCC Incident Command System to protect the community by any means necessary.

It’s asking anyone who experiences any COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. You can call the SCC Health Clinic to schedule a test, 715-478-5180.

This is the 5th COVID-19 death in Forest County.

In the last two weeks, three cases that could affect the November election have been before a judge.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected a request by the Green Party Presidential Candidate to be added to the state’s November ballot.

While it was making its decision, the court ordered a halt to sending out ballots. The decision was made and the ballots were able to go out on September 17th as originally planned.

In a different case, a federal judge has said he won’t rule before the election.

Wisconsin DHS

“New and Dangerous Phase.” 

That’s how state health officials are describing the current COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin.

A month ago, Wisconsin was averaging about 660 new cases a day. Now, it’s 1,900 cases a day.

There’s been more than 2,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Governor Tony Evers pointed to the start of the school year for a near exponential growth in new cases.

Right now, the 18 to 24-year-old age group is seeing the largest increase in COVID-19 cases.

COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG

In a normal summer, there is some type of festival or event just about every weekend in the Northwoods.

Streets are blocked off. Music fills the town. Rows of open tents line the streets and sidewalks. You can find everything from handmade soaps to photographs of Wisconsin landscapes to intricately designed wood carvings.

Of course, this summer has been anything but normal and those events were largely canceled.

DEAN S. ACHESON PHOTO

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final aviation accident report for the Ascension Spirit Air Helicopter crash in Hazelhurst more than two years ago.

Three people died in the crash.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash to be the pilot’s fatigue.

On April 26, 2018, the Ascension Spirt Air medical helicopter was returning to its base in Woodruff after dropping off a patient in Madison around 9:00 that night.

PIXABAY.COM

A limited number of marijuana businesses will be able to open up shop in Ironwood.

The city recently passed an ordinance outlining what the marijuana industry could look like in the city.

Michigan legalized recreational cannabis in November 2018.

In the nearly two years since then, the City of Ironwood has been working on a marijuana business ordinance.

Oneida County Sheriff's Office

A Rhinelander man charged with trafficking of a child appeared in Marathon County Court Tuesday.

Paul Osterman, 34, was arrested Monday after a two-year investigation.

Court documents show a history of messages on the “Meet Me” app of a man using a variety of names. There 11 different incidents where the man tells the person he’s messaging he can pay a lot of money if they can get him a “much younger girl.”

U.S. Census Bureau

It takes a whole three minutes to fill out the 2020 census.

If you’ve also been putting it off, for whatever reason, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has a message for you.

Wisconsin DNR

Driving west out of Merrill on Highway 64 you’ll notice large breaks in the forest give way to farmlands.

Every couple of miles you come across big barns with tall silos. Cows and horses graze in large pens right along the highway.

One of those farms belongs to Ryan Klussendorf.

“I was born and raised on a dairy farm," said Klussendorf. 

Wikimedia Commons Royalbroil

Rural America isn’t dying. That’s the message sociologist Ben Winchester is sharing with Vilas County this week.

Winchester has been studying rural America through the University of Minnesota Extension. He’s found that small towns aren’t dying, they’re changing.

Winchester has done some of his research in Vilas County. Vilas County Economic Development Corporation board chairman Jim Tuckwell said that’s one of the reason they invited him to speak this week.

Great Headwaters Trails

The Conover-Phelps section of the Great Headwaters Trails is in the home stretch.

The goal is a 10.7 mile paved bike trail connecting the towns of Conover and Phelps in Vilas County.

The Great Headwaters Trails is 1.9 miles away from reaching that goal.

“Biking of course has become on even bigger thing this year and just being outside. The trail certainly allows people to continue to do those things,” said GHT Executive Director Jeff Currie.

To build the final stretch of the trail, the GHT is looking to raise a total of $200,000.

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