UPDATE: Names of Price County plane crash victims releasedSubmitted: 07/01/2017
Story By Newswatch 12 News Team

UPDATE: Names of Price County plane crash victims released
CATAWBA - Monday 7/3-- The Price County Sheriff's Office released the names of the six people who died in the plane crash Saturday morning.

They were 70-year-old Kevin James King of Bensenville, IL, 63-year-old Jame Francis of Norco, CA, 21-year-old Kyle Demauro of Bensenville, IL, 56-year-old Thomas Demauro of Bensenville, IL, 69-year-old Charles Tomlitz of Addison, IL, and 45-year-old George Tomlitz of Broofield, IL.

The Price County Sheriff's Office also finished its on-site investigation. Investigators will take the wreckage to a facility in Minneapolis for further inspection. The NTSB will release a preliminary report in about 10 days. The full investigation, which will include the determined cause of the crash, will likely be released in a year or more.

Sunday 7/2-- A plane crash in Price County early Saturday morning killed all six people on board, investigators say. 

"This is a mass casualty situation, six individuals," said Price County Sheriff Brian Schmidt. He also called it a "tragedy."

Schmidt released the names of the victims Monday morning. They were 70-year-old Kevin James King of Bensenville, IL, 63-year-old Jame Francis of Norco, CA, 21-year-old Kyle Demauro of Bensenville, IL, 56-year-old Thomas Demauro of Bensenville, IL, 69-year-old Charles Tomlitz of Addison, IL, and 45-year-old George Tomlitz of Broofield, IL. 

According to investigators, the 1979 Cessna 421 C plane departed from the Waukegan airport, outside Chicago, around midnight Saturday, headed for Winnipeg, Canada--about a five-hour trip. Investigators say the people on board were going on a fishing trip.

Sometime during the flight, the pilot discussed "local weather phenomena" with air traffic controllers, investigators say. Shortly after, at 1:53 a.m, the plane dropped off the radar.

Authorities got a call around 3:21 a.m.

We don't know how far the plane went after dropping off radar. The National Transportation Safety Board investigator says the pilot was up-to-date on license and certifications.

"So the pilot was qualified to fly this flight," said Alex Lemishko of the NTSB.

He said the plane can hold up to eight people depending on the distribution, and it was capbale of flying a five hour flight.

We don't know if the pilot was renting the plane, but according to online FAA records, the plane is owned by a Sky King Flying Service, Inc, based in Delaware.

Investigators with the NTSB and the FAA will be out at the scene until possibly Monday, investigating on-site, and then they will take the plane to a facility in Minneapolis for more inspection. Investigators will release a preliminary report in a few weeks, and the full investigation could take up to several months.

"I can't speculate at this time what may or may not have happened because we're still in the fact-finding stage," Lemishko said.

If you find any plane debris, please call police so they can get the parts to investigators.

Saturday 7/1 -- The Price County Sheriff's Office reported a plane crashed near Catawba this morning.

Price County Sheriff Office confirms there were no survivors on the crash.

They could not confirm how many people were on the plane or their identities.

The department did release that the plane, a Cessna 421, took off from the Chicago area and was en route to Canada for a fishing trip.

It happened near Highway 111, which runs north and south between highways 8 and 13.

Price County Sheriff Brian Schmidt s got a call at 3:21 a.m. Saturday from the Air Marine Operation Center.

"This is kind of an unusual situation," said Schmidt. 

To help find the plane the sheriff's office called Zack, Don and Justin Arvold to help with their private helicopter.

"We were there to find the crash and help as much as we can," said Zack.

Schmidt said the main passenger compartment of the plane was found on the west side of Highway 111 in the woods. Other parts of the plane were found separately on the highway. 
"With parts of the plane on the road we weren't sure what was taking place," said Schmidt.

For people who aren't used to seeing these scenes, today was especially challenging. 

"It's not an easy thing to swallow it's hard, it's tough, there's no really words for it," said Zack. 

The Price County Sheriff's Office, Prentice, Phillips, Kennan, Catawba and about six other departments were at the scene. 

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board along with the Price County Sheriff's Office and Coroner's office will continue the investigation.

The Wisconsin State Patrol blocked all north and southbound lanes for several miles of Highway 111 for most of the day.

The roads were cleared just after 9 p.m.

The FAA, NTSB will continue the investigation along with the Price County Sheriff's Office.

Phillips Fly In Fly Out organizer Duane Grube said the plane crash was not related to the event in anyway.

A press conference may be held Sunday or Monday.

We will continue to update this story.

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MADISON - Faced with soaring coronavirus cases across Wisconsin, particularly on college campuses, Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday extended a statewide mask mandate until Nov. 21.

The order, which has been in effect since August, was scheduled to expire on Monday. Evers extended the order even as his authority to issue a previous mandate is being challenged by conservatives in court.

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Equine Assisted Therapy GroupSubmitted: 09/22/2020

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Scholl Community Impact Group in Winchester offers equine assisted therapy.

Director Lenelle Scholl, started Blazing A New Trail Autism Support Group in 2009 to increase children's physical and social skills. Student's from Rhinelander to Three Lakes travel to the facility to receive therapy and learn how to ride. According to Scholl, the connection between horse and human can build a really close bond.

"The movement of the horse stimulates connections that really no one can explain," says Scholl. The movement of the horse, and each horse is built differently like we are and we move differently and each horse makes a different connection with the students.

The program doesn't only accommodate students with disabilities but the program is bully friendly. Kids that have a difficulty communicating will walk out of here talking, kids that don't understand why bullying is not okay will build some sensitivity.

The program has about 30 volunteers and the care extended is unmatched. 

"We have about 30 volunteers from all walks of life. No one in our group gets paid. My instructors don't get paid, I don't get paid, nobody gets paid," says Scholl. We're there because we want to make a difference in these kids' lives.

Anyone who is interested in the program can sign up or if you simply want to learn how to ride, they're always available.

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RHINELANDER - Tuesday is "National Voter Registration Day" across the country.

For many young voters, this could be a milestone year--their first election able to vote.

Jared Arno just began his senior year at Rhinelander High School. Besides his studies, he's thinking about the upcoming election too.

"I am really excited to vote," he said.

For most "Gen Z" voters, this will be their first time casting a presidential ballot. And they'll likely be getting their information in different ways than older voters.

"I would see lots of tweets on Twitter about a lot of major candidates that I like to follow," said Arno. "So I based my decision off of that."

Important issues for younger voters are different too.

"I don't share a whole lot of the same opinions as a lot of other people," said Arno. "I'm personally more concerned about the environment, not so much social issues."

Annabel Ernst is also a senior at RHS.

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ANTIGO - The Wild Ones Northwoods Gateway Chapter created a butterfly garden in Antigo to help pollinators such as bees, birds, and butterflies. They created a space that can be enjoyed and used to teach people how they can help the environment with native plants and the sustainable landscaping movement.

The president of the Wild Ones Antigo Chapter, Christine Macklem, is an avid gardener that wanted to figure out how to make a butterfly garden for the community. She believes Wild Ones can help along with the Lumberjack Community Project Grant Program.

"The one mission we had in mind was to educate the public about native plants and pollinators and to build this butterfly garden," said Macklem.

Julie Rose, is a concerned environmentalist that hopes the garden will help sustain the native bees that are vital to our agriculture and human community. Including the birds that contribute to pollinating.

"There's been a steep decline in bird population, for the same reason as habitat degradation, pesticide use, and climate change," said Rose.

Ann Savagian studied biology with an emphasis in botany which brought her to Wild Ones.

"To encourage people to turn at least part of their property their landscape into a native habitat so that it supports plants that are needed by not just pollinators, but by the birds and the mammals and so on," said Savagian.

This garden is an educational tool for children in elementary school where they hope to teach children about the importance of bees and other pollinators.

"We want people to walk the path in Antigo. We want them to park their car and just come in and sit and meditate on the benches and learn about what we're doing right here," said Macklem. 

The garden was created in July 2020 and the chapter is open to new members. If you would like to learn more or donate you can visit their Facebook group Wild Ones Northwoods Gateway Chapter.

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UNITED STATES - The death toll in the U.S. from the coronavirus has topped 200,000, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world's richest nation.

That's according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University, based on figures from state health authorities. The real number of dead is thought be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths, especially early on, were probably ascribed to other causes.

The number of dead in the U.S. is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days. It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama.

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WAUSAU - The 34-year-old man accused of attempting to meet young girls online for sex was formally charged Tuesday in Marathon County Circuit Court with trafficking of a child, after being arrested on September 21. Osterman was arrested in Oneida County and transferred to Marathon County Jail.

On September 21, the arrest is a result of a two year investigation conducted by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force.

Marathon County Judge Suzanne O'Neil set a $50,000 cash bond for Osterman, during court there were some disagreements on whether to issue a signature bond or a cash bond. Runde said Osterman faces a charge in Arizona of "public sexual indecency". Runde said the risk of flight for Osterman is very high, so a cash bond is appropriate instead of a signature.

Assistant District Attorney Davis Runde said the state requested a higher amount cash bond due to the strength of the case.

"His actions have at least crossed state lines into Illinois and on the eve of his arrest the defendant traveled back from Minnesota," said Runde. "At approximately 3 O'clock in the morning there have been well over 100 cyber tips relayed to the investigative team in which the defendant attempts to obtain a child for the purpose of having sex."

These agencies received Cyber Tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding messages that were being intercepted on the internet from a person looking to have sexual contact with a child. During the investigation, Osterman attempted to obtain a child for the purpose of having sex with that child. 

Four search warrants were served in Oneida County on September 21, 2020 as part of the investigation. 

According to the criminal complaint, dating back to January 2018, investigators believe Osterman used an alias and attempted to meet a young girl for sex using the social networking service, MeetMe. Per the criminal complaint public wi-fi had been used, the identity of the user could not be determined.

According to the complaint, at the time, the user had suggested meeting an underage girl, but later stated it was a joke, when the recipient said they'd call the police.

Osterman's criminal complaints shows similar request at various times over the two year period until June 2020. Osterman owns internet service provider Northwoods Connect, which serves Wisconsin's Northwoods. According to the complaint, Osterman told investigators anyone of his 400 customers could be the suspect, but there was no way to track one specific customer to the IP address when the detective attempted to track the source of the messages.

According to the complaint, in February 2020, Osterman's vehicle was seen near one of the several W-Fi locations that he often used. Per the complaint a Rhinelander police officer asked Osterman what he was doing there for several hours, Osterman replied he was the owner of Northwoods Connect and was testing the internet speed of his competitors.

Per the complaint, investigators later installed a GPS device on his vehicle in April and say they matched his location to the source of the messages.

According to the complaint, in May Osterman is accused of attempting to meet a 9-year-old at a motel in Tomahawk, per the complaint Osterman never showed up and the meet up turned out to be fake.

On June 8th, multiple agencies, including the state Department of Criminal Investigations, set up an operation to meet up with Osterman. The GPS locator put his car at the park in Marathon County where he was supposed to meet up with the under-cover agent who told Osterman she could get him a 9-year-old girl.

The complaint says Osterman walked around the park but never met up with the agent, even while they continued to exchange messages.

Osterman's arrest was a collaborate effort between the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force. The Tomahawk Police Department, the Rhinelander Police Department, the Wausau Police Department and the Marathon County Sheriff's Office also assisted with the investigation.

His cash bond is set at $50,000. If he posts bond:
  1. Allowed no contact with children under 18.
  2. No leaving the state of Wisconsin. 
  3. No use of internet capable devices.
  4. Turn in his passport to the Marathon Co. Sheriffs Office.
Osterman will appear in court again on Indigency hearing on September 28 and again on September 30 for a preliminary hearing.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials are asking Gov. Tony Evers to renew the agency's contentious land stewardship program for another decade and substantially increase its borrowing authority.

The DNR uses stewardship funding to purchase land for the state and help conservation organizations purchase land. Republicans have criticized the program for running up too much debt and taking too much property off tax rolls. Debt payments stood at nearly $83 million last year. Still, GOP legislators agreed to extend the program through mid-2022 and authorized it to borrow up to $33 million annually.

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