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NEWS STORIES

Case Against Alleged Computer Sex Predator Will Move ForwardSubmitted: 05/20/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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RHINELANDER - In March, Benjamin Lahti posted on Craigslist he wanted sex.

A girl claiming to be 15 years old responded to the 24-year-old Ironwood man.

They planned to meet in Minocqua.

That's when Lahti was arrested as part of a statewide internet sex predator sting.

"I asked if he knew why I wanted to talk to him. He stated because of the 15-year-old girl he was supposed to meet," testified Minocqua Police Sgt. Jason Benbenek.

Lahti was actually messaging an undercover sheriff's deputy.

On Monday court, Lahti's defense lawyer tried to say he may not have known the girl was underage.

Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom threw out that claim.

He also wondered what might have happened in a different situation.

"Instead of Officer Benbenek being there, there was a vehicle with a female, physically mature, 15 years old - who knows what would have happened, under those circumstances?" said Bloom.

Judge Bloom found enough evidence to move forward with a felony sex crime charge.

Lahti will return to court on June 10th.

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Wisconsin faces $2.2 billion budget shortfall Submitted: 11/21/2014

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker's administration says Wisconsin faces a $2.2 billion budget shortfall by mid-2017, a problem that will have to be tackled by the Republican-controlled Legislature next year as Walker is building his resume for a potential presidential run.

The estimate released Thursday by the state Department of Administration is required under the law. It takes into account spending requests made by state agencies for the next two years.

The figures will be further refined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

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Downtown Rhinelander debuts Holiday Open House SaturdaySubmitted: 11/21/2014

RHINELANDER - The opening of the gun deer season often leaves wives and girlfriends at home on their own.

Downtown Rhinelander hopes it can attract many of those women, and maybe even some men, to get started on holiday shopping.

The first-ever Holiday Open House on Saturday will feature sales, special events, and demonstrations at several businesses.

Its timing falls perfectly with the hunting season.

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Wisconsin Chippewa band joins effort to return reservation land to tribal ownershipSubmitted: 11/21/2014

ODANAH - An American Indian band in northern Wisconsin will join an effort to get land on reservations returned to tribal ownership.

The U.S. Interior Department says the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe will join the program.

It's among 21 Indian communities in 12 states that will become part of the land buyback program by 2017.

That brings the number of locations in the program to 42.

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Kenosha man charged in 11-month-old daughter's killingSubmitted: 11/20/2014

KENOSHA - A 34-year-old Kenosha man is charged with killing his 11-month-old daughter.

Russell Rose Jr. was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide, aggravated battery, strangulation, arson and recklessly endangering safety. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Police say Rose was arrested Tuesday. Officers found the girl when they responded to a call in which a woman was screaming that someone had killed her baby. Police say the girl was severely bruised and her face was disfigured.

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Drs. Foster and Smith founder thinks company will stay in Rhinelander after being sold to PetcoSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - The national pet supply company Petco will buy one of the Northwoods' largest employers.

About 530 people work at Drs. Foster and Smith in Rhinelander.

Drs. Foster and Smith sells pet supplies online.

One of the company's founders doesn't think the company will move.

"I have no reason to believe they're [going to] leave Rhinelander," says Drs. Foster and Smith founder Race Foster. "Marty Smith and I actually talked to many prospective buyers. The one condition we put was it cannot leave Rhinelander at least in the foreseeable future."

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Demmer Library celebrates a milestoneSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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THREE LAKES - Young kids in Three Lakes didn't get to go to kindergarten back in the 1960s. It wasn't offered. So, some community leaders wanted to find a way to prepare children for school.

They created Story Hour at the Demmer Library in 1964 to help. Parents and community members saw it as a way to help children learn to socialize and work in a classroom setting.

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Hundreds of Christmas presents donated through Operation Christmas ChildSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Hundreds of kids in third world countries will get to open a Christmas gift this year. It's all thanks to people who donate a shoebox filled with supplies for kids.

The boxes are part of a world-wide organization called Operation Christmas Child.

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