RHINELANDER - Nearly one year ago in August 2019, Sean Holtslander was riding his motorcycle in Sugar Camp before he was struck by a truck driven by Jeffrey Liebscher. Instead of calling 911, Liebscher fled the scene.
Jeffrey Liebscher appeared in person at the Oneida County courthouse Thursday to receive his sentencing. Liebscher will serve three years in jail.
Sean's mom, Dororthy Holtslander spoke directly at Jeffrey Liebscher Thursday morning, saying he's never showed remorse for his actions.
She asked Judge Patrick O'Melia to send Liebscher to prison for 23 years, the same amount of years Sean was alive.
"Judge O'Melia, I plead with you for justice for Sean," said Dorothy Holtslander. "Jeffrey Liebscher does not deserve mercy, for he showed none. He is a man who lives without showing mercy to anyone."
Attorney Gary Cirilli painted his client Liebscher as an upstanding citizen who made a critical mistake the evening of Sean's death.
Liebscher's friend Nathan Shrock echoed Cirilli.
"Jeff Liebscher is a good man, a good friend," said Shrock.
And Liebscher himself pointed to his clean record before last August.
"I've always been a very active and productive member of our schools, our communities and our society," said Liebscher.
He added that he would help the Holtslander family in any way while they grieve.
"I am truly sorry for everything that has happened," said Liebscher.
Judge Patrick O'Melia gave a statement as well - calling out when Liebscher broke his bail earlier this year by refusing a breathalyzer test, and when, on the night Sean Holtslander's death, Liebscher tried to cover up his involvement.
"We have you fleeing, lying at every step of the way, hiding the vehicle, hiding yourself," said O'Melia.
Through a plea deal, Liebscher was charged with a single count of felony hit-and-run causing death. Judge O'Melia sentenced Liebscher to three years in prison and seven years of probation.
As Liebscher left the courtroom he could be seen giving a thumbs up to the people who showed up to support him.
MADISON - The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Wednesday appealed a federal court ruling that allows for absentee ballots to be counted up to six days after the Nov. 3 presidential election in the battleground state.
The appeal was expected after Monday's highly anticipated court ruling in favor of Democrats and their allies. The judge even put his ruling on hold for seven days in anticipation of a quick appeal.
CHICAGO - Chicago officials Tuesday told visitors from Wisconsin for the second time that they must remain in quarantine for two weeks if they visit the city.
The order set to take effect Friday comes as Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a "new public health emergency" because of a spike in coronavirus cases in that state and extended a statewide mask mandate there until Nov. 21.
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:
Allowed no contact with children under 18.
No leaving the state of Wisconsin.
No use of internet capable devices.
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.
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.
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.
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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