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.


The Minocqua J1 School District is the latest school to temporarily switch to remote learning.

In a letter to families of students, the district said the decision was made because of the increase in COVID-19 cases, related close contacts, and a shortage of available substitute teachers. The district doesn’t have enough the capacity to safely or effectively provide in-person instruction.

School District of Rhinelander Facebook

The Rhinelander Dome is the in final phases of construction.

The dome was inflated over the weekend. It’s taken years of planning and fundraising and months of construction to get to this moment.

Wisconsin National Guard

Local County Health Departments are coordinating with the Wisconsin National Guard to increase COVID-19 testing throughout our region. 

Several counties are now offering weekly coronavirus testing sites. The testing is meant for people who are symptomatic or close contacts of people who have tested positive. 

Oneida County


The Oneida County Health Department said there is a shortage of influenza vaccines this year. 

Due to the shortage, it's canceling its drive-thru flu clinic scheduled for Tuesday. All future flu clinics have been postponed unitl further notice. 

There are a limited number of flu vaccines for children still available. You can take your child to the Oneida County Health Department in Rhinelander, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointments are neccessary, but it's a good idea to call ahead and make sure vaccines are still available, 715-369-6111.

Black Forest Pub & Grille Facebook Page

The order limiting bars, restaurants, and other indoor places to 25 percent of capacity is back in place. It's the latest in a long line of coronavirus-related restrictions to be challenged in courts. 

Black Forest Pub and Grille in Three Lakes has made a lot of changes this summer some based on orders, others of its own volition. 

“Limited seating, we followed 50% capacity guidelines. We pulled bar chairs away from our bar area,” said owner and manager Health Biro. “Our staff were wearing masks at all times.”


The Lincoln County Health Department will offer free weekly COVID-19 testing.

It’s collaborating with the Wisconsin National Guard, Merrill Area Public Schools, and the Merrill Fire Department. 

People will be able to get tested every Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Starting this week, the drive-thru testing site will be at the MAPS building at 2004 East 10th Street in Merrill. 

The testing is meant for people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been identified as close contacts.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Every five years the U.S. Forest Service conducts visitor use surveys.

It looks for things like where you’re visiting, how many people are with you, how long is your visit, and how many sites you plan to visit.

Tim Vetter is the Recreation, Wilderness and Lands Program Manager on the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest. He says the information collected helps shape the future of the forest.


Price County is reporting its first death due to COVID-19. The Price County Health Department said the person was an elderly resident.

“We are saddened by the loss of one our community members,” said Michelle Edwards, Health Officer. “We extend our sympathies to their loved ones and all impacted.”

State COVID -19 Update

The latest death comes as Wisconsin breaks its record of daily COVID-19 cases for the third time this week.

The Department of Health Services is reporting 3,861 new COVID-19 cases Friday.

Wisconsin DHS

The Department of Health Services is upgrading its Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

This is the system the state uses to collect and share data related to COVID-19.

The upgrade will improve tools for contact tracing, automate data entry, enhance security features, and strengthen the system to accommodate the increase in cases.

It will be upgraded this weekend starting Friday night.

During the upgrade, data on the DHS website will not be updated.

Wisconsin National Guard

The Marathon County Health Department will be offering free COVID-19 testing weekly.

It will be on Tuesdays with the help of the Wisconsin National Guard. The event will a be a drive-thru, nasal swab testing.

People can get registered online ahead of time. It’s being held at the Marathon County Emergency Management Office, 1308 West Street, Wausau.

The health department said the testing is open to people who are symptomatic or close contacts of a positive test.

Adobe Stock

More than 50 cities or towns in 33 Wisconsin Counties are still in critical need of poll workers.

Between those places, about 180 people are needed.

There is a list of places by county that still have a need of poll workers on the My Vote Wisconsin website.

Wisconsin’s Chief Election Official Megan Wolfe said that list and those numbers will fluctuate between now election day.

White House Coronavirus Task Force

Wisconsin once again set a record for daily COVID-19 cases. 3,747 people tested positive since Wednesday.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm. She painted a grim picture of the COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin.  

“In some regions of our state ICU beds are 90% or more full. And those numbers while stark, don’t factor in staffing shortages which we are seeing in every region of the state,” said Palm.

More than 1,000 people are now hospitalized because of COVID-19. The seven-day average is 2,927.

Elcho School District

The Elcho School District is asking voters to approve a referendum that gives the district an additional one million dollars each year for the next four years over normal funding.

Right now, homeowners within the district pay extra $37 per every $100,000 of a home’s value.

That referendum is set to expire.

The new referendum would cost an extra $46 per every $100,000 of a home’s value.

Elcho Superintendent Bill Fischer said that’s still less than what people were paying three years ago.

School District of Crandon Facebook

The School District of Crandon plans to return to in-person classes next week.

On October 5, the district switched from in-person to remote learning. The decision was made after COVID-19 cases were reported in the elementary, middle, and high schools. There were also two linked cases of COVID-19 within the district.

At that time, the district planned to go remote for two weeks before having students return to school.

Nicolet College

For many people, the COVID-19 Pandemic has meant the partial or complete loss of income.

Some of those people may take this as an opportunity to further their education. Nicolet College is helping them pay for some of their college credits.

Starting with Spring Term 2021, new students enrolled at Nicolet College can get three of their college credits for free.

Nicolet College Dean of Enrollment Erika Warning-Meyer said the student has to prove they were financially impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.