U.P. man arrested after online sex sting in Minocqua
Story By Lane Kimble
MINOCQUA - A Michigan man hoped the internet would help him have sex with an underage girl. Instead, he ended up in a jail cell.
Police caught him thanks to a statewide effort that nabbed 16 other online predators during a three-day stretch.
Minocqua Police helped arrest this man, 24-year-old Benjamin Lahti last Tuesday. Lahti lives in Ironwood, Michigan and had posted an ad asking for sex on Craigslist.
Someone who he thought was a 15-year-old girl responded. He sent her naked pictures of himself and wanted to meet her for sex in Mincoqua.
But his contact was actually an undercover officer working with the Door County Sheriff's Office.
Members of the joint, statewide Internet Crimes against Children operation applauded the efforts today in Green Bay.
"We want to make sure the public is made away of what's going on in their community," Brown County Sheriff John Gossage said. "And that this will not be tolerated in the state of Wisconsin, on a county level, on a city level. It's going to be stopped."
Lahti faces felony counts for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and for exposing a child to harmful material. He faces more than 43 years in prison if found guilty.
RHINELANDER - It can be difficult to get around the Northwoods, especially in the snow. For people with physical disabilities, it can seem almost impossible. A new piece of technology changed Bob Simon's life. Now he's hoping to help others with physical disabilities enjoy the outdoors.
"I used to love to hunt and fish," he said.
But when Simon, who is from Rhinelander, lost his legs during a work accident in 2008, he didn't know if he'd be able to enjoy the outdoors again.
HAZELHURST - Tourists make a big economic impact in the Northwood, but they don't stay forever. Monday, locals thanked them for coming to the Northwoods this summer.
People stood outside of Whitman's Bar and Grill just off of Highway 51 in Hazelhurst to wave goodbye. The bar has been doing this for 44 years.
One of the owners says this isn't just a party for the tourists, but for locals as well.
"It's also a goodbye summer party for a lot of the locals. Most of the people that come, I know," said Whitman's Bar and Grill co-owner, Mary Whitman. "They may be tourists that come up for a week or weekends, but it's a party. We give away free street corn, free sloppy joes and it's just a thank you.
Two photographic exhibits to open next week at ArtStart
RHINELANDER - The artists paired together in ArtStart's next exhibition couldn't have much different backgrounds.
Next Friday, the Rhinelander gallery will open with two very diverse displays.
"We have two photographic exhibitions opening. One is a solo artist, so the whole gallery will be their work, and the other is an artist who worked with teens as a kind of therapy program, photography and art as therapy," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs.
RHINELANDER - More than 50,000 people in Wisconsin apply for unemployment benefits every week.
Now, the state Department of Workforce Development wants to know how it can improve the unemployment insurance system.
"Our Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council really likes to get out there and hear firsthand from those who deal with that system directly. We're looking for their suggestions and their ideas on what we might do to make the system even better," said Dave Anderson, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development.
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