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NEWS STORIES

GOP Leaders Prepare to Reform Image for Next Round of ElectionsSubmitted: 05/04/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


ROTHSCHILD - Wisconsin GOP leaders and a headliner from Washington rallied party members at today's convention.

Legislators say they're taking stock of the party, learning from a disappointing 2012 election cycle, and strategizing for upcoming mid-terms.

Governor Scott Walker echoed optimism heard from other speakers today. They said Wisconsin is the model the national GOP should follow.

"So I think going forward in 2014 the choice is pretty clear. We don't want to go back to the days of double digit tax increases, of billion dollar budget deficits and record job loss. Do you want to go back?" says Gov. Walker.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the party has the right leaders and the right message. But he says Wisconsin has a disconnect when it comes to getting that message to voters when it matters most.

"And we're winning just about everywhere, almost everything. Except we get into this presidential election cycle. And if we're being honest, we haven't won a decisive presidential race in 24 years. So what's going on? I want to talk to you about that," says Priebus.

Tomorrow night we'll have more from Priebus on his bold challenge to the GOP to soften its image.

I also sat down with 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. He told us how he thinks Republicans can connect with disenchanted voters.

That's tomorrow night on Newswatch 12 Weekend.



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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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MARATHON COUNTY - Warren Rydell doesn't mind the buzz or stingers.

"You don't need to be afraid of bees, you just have to love them for what they are," said Rydell.

Rydell has raised bees since the 1980s. Now with 35 colonies and thousands of bees in Marathon County, he's produced hundreds of pounds of honey just this year.

"We're having success with it," said Rydell, who's with the Marathon County Beekeepers Association. "A little at a time. You make mistakes, but it's getting better."

But here and across the country, bee populations have been on the decline for years. Bees are important pollinators for the environment, which is why the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will meet next week to devise a pollinator protection plan.

"Whether people know it or not, for every three tablespoons of food you eat, two of those table spoons are produced by bees, and without them, we're not going to be able to feed people," said Rydell.

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BIG FLATS - The Adams County Sheriff's Office believes a 62-year-old man set a mobile home on fire in Big Flats, north of Friendship, last Friday. The Sheriff's Office says that the body of the man's 92-year-old mother was likely still inside at the time, dead of an apparent gunshot wound.

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ANTIGO - Excitement and joy filled faces in Antigo Monday afternoon.

Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County broke ground on their 9th home, but it will take some hands-on work before the family can move in.

David and Theresa Ferrel have been renting for the last 10 years. This will be the first home they will own.

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EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County might get a larger courthouse.

The Vilas County Board Public Property Committee met on Monday to discuss possible plans.

The county thinks it needs another courtroom to accommodate its second circuit court judge. The county asked the state to fund the project last year.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A stretch of Highway 8 in Oneida County will get smoother after some resurfacing over the next few months. The project started Monday on a section of the road between Rhinelander and Tomahawk. It's been several years since that area of Highway 8 has been repaved.

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