Mother and son charged with hiding father’s corpse

Connie and Austin Herbst

BARRON COUNTY, Wisc.—Connie Lou Herbst, 62, of New Prague, Minnesota, and her son, Austin James Herbst, 26, of Elko New Market, Minnesota, have been officially charged in connection with the death of Gary Herbst (also of Elko New Market), who was reported missing in 2014. Mr. Herbst’s remains were discovered in Wisconsin, south the City of Barron in 2017, and later identified in 2020. Skull remains revealed a gunshot wound to the head. The mother and son were each charged with one count of hiding a corpse (party to a crime). They remain in custody in Minnesota awaiting extradition.

Alleged drunk driver collides with horse and buggy, injuring five

WASHBURN COUNTY, Wisc.—Five Amish children are at home recovering this week after an alleged drunk driver struck their horse and buggy on the way home from school December 7th. The  incident occurred on County Road M near Long Lake.

Photo from the scene of a buggy vs. pickup crash near Long Lake. Photo: Washburn County Sheriff’s Department

According to the Washburn County Sheriff’s Department, the buggy was northbound on County Road M when it was rear ended by a pickup driven by 67-year-old Robert Dulian of Sarona. The crash injured all five children, two of whom required hospitalization. The Sheriff’s Department adds that the horse had to be put down at the scene. Dulian was subsequently charged with four felony counts of injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. A GoFundMe account created for the family has since raised over $20,000.

Wisconsin DNR Announces Wolf Season for 2021

Wisc. DNR—The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announces that an official state wolf season will begin Nov. 6, 2021. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to delist gray wolves from the federal list of endangered species on Jan. 4, 2021, returning management authority to the lower 48 states and tribes. Under Wisconsin law, when the wolf is delisted, the state’s annual hunting and trapping seasons shall resume.

The DNR also announced plans to create a new Wolf Management Plan Committee, a group comprised of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, tribal interests and conservation perspectives representing diverse interests.  Following delisting – and until the official season goes into effect – residents should be aware that it remains unlawful to shoot a wolf unless there is an immediate threat to human safety. However, if on private land, wolves that are in the act of killing, wounding or biting a domestic animal can be killed.

‘Book Across the Bay’ canceled due to pandemic

WASHBURN, Wisc.—The Ashland area’s popular “Book Across the Bay” event is the latest in a long string of area happenings cancelled over coronavirus concerns. Event organizers made the announcement on December 14th. The annual event takes skiers, snowshoers and hikers on a 10k candlelit trek across Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay between Ashland and Washburn. Described as the Midwest’s most unique winter event, Book Across the Bay began 24 years ago as a fundraiser for the Washburn Public Library, and has grown to attract roughly 4000 participants to the area each February.

Rhinelander taxi contract draws criticism

RHINELANDER, Wisc.—Federal funding restrictions have been blamed for a newly renewed city-wide public transportation contract that was awarded to Viroqua-based Running, Inc., instead of the locally owned existing provider, Rapid Cab Company. The Northwoods Star Journal reports that Rapid Cab owner, Gary Bruso, reported delivering more than 1,000 petitions to city hall in effort to overturn the decision, adding in his statement to the city council, “It’s obvious that Rapid Cab is being railroaded out of the city.” Rapid Cab and Running, Inc. were the only two proposals received by the city. “All this comes at a time when every other community, including our own chamber of commerce is pleading with people to buy local,” Bruso added. The Northwoods Star Journal also reports that Zach Vruwink, assistant to the Rhinelander mayor, updated the media to explain that the proposals were evaluated “in accordance with the Source Selection Guide” and the contract was awarded based on the highest combined score in the areas of “professional competence, experience, capacity and proposals.”

Clayton Fire Chief dies of complications from COVID-19

Clayton Fire Chief, Don Kittleson

CLAYTON, Wisc.—Clayton Fire Chief, Don Kittleson, has succumbed to his months-long battle with complications of COVID-19. A post on the local fire department’s facebook page reads, “We lost a hero tonight. You have touched so many. Family, friends, community and your fire department brothers and sisters morn a great man. Love you CHIEF DON- you will never be forgotten. We will take it from here brother.” The small village in Barron County and its surrounding communities had rallied around the Kittleson family in recent months, displaying banners and signs in support of his recovery. Kittleson passed away in the hospital on December 17th.



Posted by North in Focus

"Stories from an undiscovered Wisconsin"

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