Walker leaves state often; may hint at presidential runSubmitted: 07/12/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Walker leaves state often; may hint at presidential run
NATIONWIDE - Republicans across the country want to hear from governor.

Scott Walker has spoken to mostly Republican audiences in at least 12 different states in the past five months alone.

Earlier this week, Walker headlined a major fundraiser for the Indiana Republican Party.

On that same day, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was meeting small business owners in Rhinelander.

We asked her why the Indiana fundraiser trumped his time at home in Wisconsin.

"The Governor is a very in-demand speaker because the Wisconsin idea is one that has captured the imagination of this entire country. We have done really wonderful things in Wisconsin," Kleefisch said.

Here are some of the places Walker has appeared since March: Virginia Beach, VA; National Harbor, MD; Washington, DC; Dallas, TX; Coral Gables, FL; Fayetteville, AR; Carson City, NV; Indianapolis, IN; Stamford, CT; New York City; Des Moines, IA; and Beverly Hills, CA.

That's according to sources including the Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Capital Times, TheRun2016, and Wisconsin Reporter.

It might look a little like a presidential candidate's travel schedule.

Presidential ambition is likely driving Walker's schedule, at least in part.

David Catanese created TheRun2016, a website that tracks presidential maneuvering.

He's a former NBC and Politico contributor.

"This is a guy who wants to get to know Republican party activists in every state, all over the country, to get familiar with them, to start forging relationships, that is looking toward a 2016 presidential run," Catanese told us.

TheRun2016 reports Walker will headline a golf outing next Tuesday in Newport Beach, California.

It's hosted by the Republican Governor's Association.

Catanese puts Walker's chances of running for president above 50 percent.

See the link below for more on 2016 presidential projections.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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CRANDON - UPDATE (3/23/18): The Forest County Medical Examiner released the name of the inmate who died in the Forest County Jail earlier this week. 

The Forest County Sheriff's Officer said a man committed suicide Wednesday morning. 

An autopsy showed 44-year-old William Zastawniak died by hanging. 

He was facing three child sexual assault charges. 

The medical examiner is still waiting on toxicology results. 

The death is still under investigation.

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MADISON - The Conservation Congress plans to ask attendees at its spring hearings whether lawmakers should charge people to use state land and eliminate group hunting.

The congress asks hearing attendees every year for their positions on current outdoors issues. The answers are advisory only.

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WISCONSIN - Sarah D'Acquisto often visits sites like "backpage" and "skipthegames." D'Acquisto is a Wausau police officer working in the Community Resource Unit. Her team focusses on drug and human trafficking, prostitution, and she often works undercover. 
"There's never been a night that we haven't arrested somebody whether it's a 'John' or a person seeking the sex act or a female that's coming in to provide that for one of our undercovers," said D'Acquisto, who's starting her third year with the unit. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Kids face bullying in schools all the time.

That's one reason why the Eagle River elementary school holds its annual Great Kindness Challenge Week.

It's part of a nationwide challenge involving nearly 10,000 schools.

This year's kindness week in Eagle River wrapped up Friday with a musical assembly with Dave Dall.

Throughout the week, students were challenged to do random acts of kindness.

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ANTIGO - "It did come as a shock at first, but it's something that you realize it's not the end of the world," said Tracie Quade. 

Quade's 18-month old son, Benny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born.

"It's actually a really, really awesome thing. People with Down syndrome are wonderful loving people and they are just as capable of doing as much as anybody else," said Quade.

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