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NEWS STORIES

Walker leaves state often; may hint at presidential runSubmitted: 07/12/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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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MOLE LAKE - When you drive through Mole Lake, you'll notice a lot of solar panels.

It's part of a project tribal leaders have worked on for more than a year, and they hope it will save the community a lot in energy costs.

Tribal leaders applied and received a couple million dollars in grants from the U.S. Energy Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department. Then they started working with a Pewaukee-based company called SunVest Solar, Inc., and started installing the panels on homes and businesses in 
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According to SunVest Solar, this is the largest per capital solar array installation in the Midwest. Tribal Administrator Jeff Ackley, Jr., says 50 homes and 17 businesses have solar panels.

"Most of the state of Wisconsin has less than one percent of its generation coming from solar and now you have a community where almost 50 percent of the homes get their power from the sun," said Adam Gusse, head of operations at SunVest Solar, Inc.

"I thought it would put us on the map," Ackley said.

Project leaders think the panels can produce up to 85 percent of power in homes and between 20 and 60 percent for businesses.

"It will be significant savings all around for the community," Ackley said. "From rough crunchings of numbers we're looking at probably saving between $60,000 and $80,000 per year on energy usage."

The first batch of panels turned on in November, and some people say they've already seen the savings.

"Some are seeing up to $100 in savings just after that first month," Gusse said. "So they'll see much more per month savings as they go on."

Gusse said the panels don't produce as much power in the winter as they will in the summer, but residents still save money.

Tribal leaders can apply for more grants to put panels on more homes. 

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